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No FID Card and the Danger of Reporting a Stolen Firearm

This is not an uncommon story. Someone from out of state comes to Massachusetts. They bring with them a firearm lawfully purchased and possessed in another state. They don’t know the gun laws in Massachusetts. Their home gets broken into and the gun gets stolen. They do what any law abiding citizen would do. They report the firearm stolen at the nearest police station. And guess what happens next? They are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possibly improper storage of a firearm. Someone shrewder might call a lawyer first and ask what to do “if I have no FID card and my gun gets stolen”? Continue reading →

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Withdrawing Guilty Pleas and Vacating Convictions

Nearly thirty years ago, when I first started practicing law it was rare to have a client ask me to help him withdraw a guilty plea. Case law in that area had not been well developed. Access to criminal convictions was limited. Deportation, denial of naturalization or exclusion from admission to this country was not what it is now. That has all changed dramatically in the past decade. Criminal history databases are much more sophisticated. Employers and the government can more easily find out that someone has a record. So now, many times each month I get inquiries from people in need of withdrawing guilty pleas and vacating convictions. Continue reading →

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No One Read Me My Rights

I get this question every day. “If no one read me my rights will my case be dismissed?”. The answer depends on what you said, when you it and perhaps most importantly what the cops say you said. The rights referred to here are your Miranda rights. Everybody knows what these rights are however very few people outside of the criminal law profession know how they are applied. Hopefully this article will shed some light on the meaning of these rights and the actual application of these rights. Continue reading →

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Furnishing Alcohol To Minors

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 138 Section 34 makes it a crime for anyone to knowingly furnish alcohol to someone under the age of twenty-one. This law is strictly enforced. Typically we see an increase in these charges around this time of year. Graduation parties and gatherings after prom tend to grab the attention of law enforcement. Neighbors complaining about noise, traffic congestion and large assemblies of young people trigger a visit from a local patrol officer. Their response is predictable. Enter the property where the party is being hosted. Question its patrons about their age, take a look into windows and doorways and contact the adult host. Once the officers learn that alcohol is being consumed by minors names are taken, the party is broken up and criminal applications and summonses issue. Furnishing alcohol to minors in Massachusetts is now considered a serious crime and if you are charged with it you need to hire a lawyer.  Continue reading →

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Massachusetts Criminal Accord and Satisfaction

Massachusetts has a statute that in some instances essentially permits a person accused of certain crimes to pay the victim in exchange for getting the charges dismissed. The statute, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 276 Section 55 states that a person charged with an assault and battery or a misdemeanor that could also be the basis for a civil lawsuit can pay the victim in exchange for having the charges dismissed. Of course, this type of resolution, known as a Massachusetts criminal accord and satisfaction needs to be in writing and approved by a judge. Continue reading →

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Probation Violation Hearing

Probation surrender hearings are proceedings that are initiated after someone violates a condition of probation. Once the probation officer learns of the violation he or she issues a notice of surrender. That document orders the defendant to come into court to defend the allegation that a violation occurred. Probation violations are very common. People who receive surrender notices call my office, often in a panic and ask what is going to happen at the probation surrender hearing. The answer to that is always case specific however some thoughts on the subject are laid out below. Continue reading →

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The Alibi Defense And How It Works

One of the best defenses to a criminal accusation is the alibi defense. This defense tells a jury or judge that you didn’t commit the crime with which you were for one very compelling reason…because you weren’t there. I have had countless clients come into my office and tell me that they have an alibi that they want me to advance it on their behalf. That request always triggers a very serious discussion about the alibi defense and how it works. And believe it or not, more times than not the client decides that perhaps the alibi is not his best defense. Continue reading →

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If I Get A Summons Or A Subpoena Do I Have To Go To Court

Aside from lawyers not many people want to go to court. The thought of being called as a witness can be intimidating. The majority of people simply don’t want to get involved in criminal legal matters. Very few people want to testify against someone. No one wants to take time out of his or her day to wait around a courthouse, possibly for hours, only to be inserted into other people’s problems. As such, it is not surprising that I get asked the question: “if I get a summons or a subpoena do I have to go to court?”. This post examines answers to that question in Massachusetts. Continue reading →

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Bail for Rape Cases

One of the questions I am asked by people who expect to be charged with a crime is the amount of bail they will have to post once the case gets filed. The answer varies from case to case and from person to person. The answer to this question also depends on the judge hearing the bail argument, the district attorney prosecuting the case and the county where the case will be prosecuted. There are no formulas for setting bail in Massachusetts. I was recently retained on two very different rape cases and the amount of bail set pleasantly surprised both of these clients. Each asked me “is there a standard bail for rape cases in Massachusetts”. This post explores this issue. Continue reading →

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There are times when I am sitting in court waiting for a case to get called and wondering where my client is. Some of these folks are just late people. Others get lost on their way to court. Some think that court starts at 9:30 or 10:00. Then there are people who have personal matters such as child care conflicts. And others simply get the court date wrong or forget to show up.  If my client lets me know that he or she will be late I can usually get a second call and avoid the entry of a default. Some judges will even give me a new date if my client had a legitimate problem that prevented attendance in court. However, absent a good excuse prosecutors will request and judges will enter a default. This can result in the issuance of a bench warrant or a default warrant. This prompts a question that I get several times each month, that being “what should I do if I missed my court date?”.

Massachusetts Default Warrant Removal Law Firm

Massachusetts Default Warrant Removal Law Firm

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