Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Things to Know about Sex Offender Registration in Massachusetts

Law enforcement in Somerset helped the Massachusetts State Police as well as the United States Marshals with the arrest of a man on a warrant issued by the state of Illinois over not adhering to sex offender registration laws.

The man was arrested near a Somerset location where he was living with a relative. The man has a violent criminal history. Data provided by the Illinois Sex Offender Registry reveals that the man was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault with a firearm against a victim under 18 years old. 

Various sex offender laws in Massachusetts exist, and it is critical that anyone who is convicted of a qualifying sex offense in the state both understand and follow these regulations. This article reviews some of the most important aspects of sex offender registration law.

Required Registration

A person in Massachusetts convicted of a sex crimes is required to register as a sex offender with the Sex Offender Registry Board. To inform the public and keep others safe, the board collects a list of all sex offenders registered in Massachusetts and classifies these individuals based on the severity of the offense. The board requires people convicted of sex crimes in the state to provide not their names but also their date of birth, place of birth, sex, race, weight, social security number, home address, work address, and a description of the offense. 

The Classification Level

In Massachusetts, sex offenders are divided into three separate categories. Classification involves two separate steps. First, the board provides a recommendation about the registration duty as well as classification. The person charged with the offense is then permitted to submit evidence on his or her own behalf. Following a preliminary hearing, a board sends a recommendation. If a person accepts the recommendation, it becomes final. If a person rejects the recommendation, a person has a right to a hearing. The following three classifications exist:

  • One. The most extreme classification, this category means that the board decides the risk of recurrence is low and a minimum danger exists. 

  • Two. This category involves a moderate recurrence risk and a potential threat presented to the public’s safety. A person classified as level two must re-register annually at the local law enforcement station. Information about level two offenders can be accessed at the local police department. 

  • Three. If the board decides that a person’s risk of recurrence is high and a substantial degree of dangerousness is presented to the public, a person is classified as a level three offender. Level three registration details are available through both the local police department and the sex offender registry. Police departments share these details to the surrounding community.

Registration Length

The required registration length varies from as little as 20 years and as much as life and depends on the sexual offense involved. Sex offender regulations require a person to register for 20 years if that individual is convicted of one offense or if the act was committed as a juvenile. If the act involved a child, is violent, or the person convicted had any previous charges, the person must register for life. 

Obtain the Assistance of a Knowledgeable Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex offense in Massachusetts, you can end up facing serious penalties. One of the best steps that you can take in such a situation is to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Things to Know About False Charges of Assault and Battery

A disagreement involving masking at a Massachusetts Dunkin’ resulted in coffee being thrown as well as an arrest and assault and battery charges. The Brookline Police Department claims that they responded to a call at a Dunkin’ west of downtown Boston. 

The suspect as well as the victim got into a disagreement in regards to the victim not wearing a mask inside the store. The victim then placed his shirt over his face to deescalate the situation. The suspect became hostile toward store workers and other customers.

While inside the store, the suspect threw coffee in the direction of the victim. The coffee struck the victim on the back of his legs. 

The suspect was then arrested following a chase and arraigned on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon as well as one charge of disorderly conduct.

If you are facing a charge of assault and battery in Massachusetts and did not commit the offense or have a valid defense, you should know some important details. 

Assert Your Right to Remain Silent

You are not obligated to share any details excluding your personal information with law enforcement. You also are under no obligation to share your version of an event. By asserting your Fifth Amendment right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent, you often can avoid giving the opposing legal side the details that they can use to distort the facts of your case and make you look guilty. 

Collect Evidence

You can actively start taking steps to preserve the outcome of your case early on. If you are falsely charged with assault or battery, you should do your best to collect physical evidence to establish your innocence. You should also collect contact information for any witnesses who saw the event occur. 

Remember You Have Other Rights, Too

Despite how anyone makes you feel about the event that led to these charges, you retain certain rights. If you have been falsely charged with assault or battery, your rights still include the right to an attorney, the right to a trial that is fair and speedy, and the right to utilize evidence to defend yourself from these charges.

Work With the Courts

Even though being falsely accused of assault and battery can be frightening, you should do everything possible when proceeding through the legal system. Some steps that you should remember to take if you are falsely charged with assault and battery include:

  • Cooperate with law enforcement at the time you are arrested. Remember that fighting arrest will make you appear aggressive. 

  • Assert the right to remain silent.

  • Obtain a defense lawyer as quickly as is feasibly possible following the charge. 

  • Refrain from interaction with the individual who claims to be the victim.

  • Avoid posting any details about the incident online 

Speak with a Compassionate Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Violent offenses in Massachusetts carry serious penalties. One of the best things you can do to respond to these charges is to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

How to Respond if Massachusetts Police Stop Your Vehicle

Massachusetts law enforcement recently performed an arrest after a vehicle was stopped. A man was arrested by state police who were patrolling State Street. Law enforcement claims that they saw a Ford Taurus pass without lights on. Due to the absence of lights, the license plate at times was unreadable. As a result, law enforcement decided to perform a stop. 

After being stopped, law enforcement performed an electronic search of the vehicle’s registration. After this search was complete, law enforcement came closer to the Taurus where the operator was seen grabbing for something in the center console of the vehicle. 

Law enforcement states that the driver was recognized as the vehicle’s registered owner and had a record of various violations involving firearms as well as battery. This as well as reaching into the center console led to law enforcement removing the man from the car to make sure that no weapons were either on his body or in immediate reach. 

Law enforcement then performed a search of the man’s person which led to locating five bundles of heroin that contained 10 packets each. Law enforcement also found a bundle with five packets as well as a small bag containing crack cocaine. 

The man was then arrested and an examination of the vehicle he was driving was performed. In the vehicle, law enforcement discovered nine other bags containing pills labeled as Xanax, a container with various Massachusetts driver's licenses, bank cards, and a knife. The man now faces various drug charges.

If Massachusetts law enforcement pulls you over, the way that you respond and how you act can have a substantial impact on how the case proceeds. 

When You Notice the Police Vehicle Behind You

If a police vehicle is behind you and the officer indicates in any way that you should pull over, you should make sure to do so. Pulling over for the police does not represent an admission of guilt, but simply means that you are attentive and responsive to your surroundings. It shows you are willing to cooperate. 

How to Respond Immediately After Your Stop

Once you have pulled over to a safe location, you should shut off your vehicle’s engine. You should then roll down the vehicle’s window. You should refrain from smoking, chewing gum, eating, or drinking. Some people even place their hands on the steering wheel. If it is dark, you might turn on the vehicle’s interior light. All these actions help to lessen any fears the involved officer might have.

Be Prepared to Get Out of Your Vehicle

The 1977 United States Supreme Court case of Pennsylvania v. Mimms states that a law enforcement officer who stops a driver can insist that the driver, as well as any passengers, get out of the vehicle. You should ask the involved law enforcement officer if you should get out of your vehicle and do so if requested. You should also understand that law enforcement will likely view any refusal to follow orders as a potential threat or flight risk.

Contact a Massachusetts Drug Crime Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts, you can end up facing some serious penalties. One of the best ways to respond in such a situation is to promptly obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

How to Respond if Massachusetts Police Stop Your Vehicle

Massachusetts law enforcement recently performed an arrest after a vehicle was stopped. A man was arrested by state police who were patrolling State Street. Law enforcement claims that they saw a Ford Taurus pass without lights on. Due to the absence of lights, the license plate at times was unreadable. As a result, law enforcement decided to perform a stop. 

After being stopped, law enforcement performed an electronic search of the vehicle’s registration. After this search was complete, law enforcement came closer to the Taurus where the operator was seen grabbing for something in the center console of the vehicle. 

Law enforcement states that the driver was recognized as the vehicle’s registered owner and had a record of various violations involving firearms as well as battery. This as well as reaching into the center console led to law enforcement removing the man from the car to make sure that no weapons were either on his body or in immediate reach. 

Law enforcement then performed a search of the man’s person which led to locating five bundles of heroin that contained 10 packets each. Law enforcement also found a bundle with five packets as well as a small bag containing crack cocaine. 

The man was then arrested and an examination of the vehicle he was driving was performed. In the vehicle, law enforcement discovered nine other bags containing pills labeled as Xanax, a container with various Massachusetts driver's licenses, bank cards, and a knife. The man now faces various drug charges.

If Massachusetts law enforcement pulls you over, the way that you respond and how you act can have a substantial impact on how the case proceeds. 

When You Notice the Police Vehicle Behind You

If a police vehicle is behind you and the officer indicates in any way that you should pull over, you should make sure to do so. Pulling over for the police does not represent an admission of guilt, but simply means that you are attentive and responsive to your surroundings. It shows you are willing to cooperate. 

How to Respond Immediately After Your Stop

Once you have pulled over to a safe location, you should shut off your vehicle’s engine. You should then roll down the vehicle’s window. You should refrain from smoking, chewing gum, eating, or drinking. Some people even place their hands on the steering wheel. If it is dark, you might turn on the vehicle’s interior light. All these actions help to lessen any fears the involved officer might have.

Be Prepared to Get Out of Your Vehicle

The 1977 United States Supreme Court case of Pennsylvania v. Mimms states that a law enforcement officer who stops a driver can insist that the driver, as well as any passengers, get out of the vehicle. You should ask the involved law enforcement officer if you should get out of your vehicle and do so if requested. You should also understand that law enforcement will likely view any refusal to follow orders as a potential threat or flight risk.

Contact a Massachusetts Drug Crime Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts, you can end up facing some serious penalties. One of the best ways to respond in such a situation is to promptly obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

What Defenses Exist to Drug Trafficking Charges?

Charges were brought against 21 individuals in December of 2021 relating to a drug trafficking operation that included fentanyl, cocaine, and several illegal substances. The drugs were transported between Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Puerto Rico.  

Law enforcement believes the ring was led by a 31-year-old man, who is now accused of trading drugs wholesale as well as employing storage houses and couriers to store as well as distribute drugs. Law enforcement claims that the man received fentanyl from local individuals, but obtained cocaine from Puerto Rico. 

During the search, law enforcement states that almost 8 kilograms of cocaine were obtained from packages sent to the people now facing drug charges. Altogether, almost 11 kilograms of cocaine as well as almost 700 grams of fentanyl and more than $200,000 in proceeds from the drug trade was collected during the investigation. 

In May 2020, law enforcement began looking into the drug ring. Since December 2020, police have collected evidence of communication between members of the ring and their associates. These communications are claimed to show that the defendants distributed fentanyl and cocaine in Lawrence and the surrounding area. 

Like other criminal offenses, methods exist to defend yourself against drug trafficking charges. Like many other offenses, the exact defense that a person can raise depends on various facts present in your case. This article, however, reviews some of the most common defenses that people raise in response to charges of drug trafficking. 

I Was Unaware of Illegal Drugs

Many people traffic illegal drugs without even being aware that they are doing so. For example, a person operating a vehicle might be pulled over and discover that unbeknownst to the operator, the vehicle contains illegal drugs. Not being aware that a person was transporting drugs can be a powerful defense strategy to respond to trafficking charges. 

The Trafficking Was the Product of Threats

Sometimes, people are forced to traffick drugs as the result of threats. These threats can constitute direct threats of violence if a person declines to traffick drugs or threats to hurt or harm someone a person loves if the individual does not traffick drugs. Because the subject is engaging in the illegal activity only to protect themselves or their loved ones, this defense strategy can be used to defeat drug trafficking charges. 

Law Enforcement Lacked Adequate Search Paperwork 

Even if a person is engaged in drug trafficking, the law requires that authorities proceed through the appropriate steps before making a search or arrest. If law enforcement lacks a search warrant, a charge can later be tossed out. Even if drugs are obtained during a search, failure by law enforcement to not obtain a warrant sometimes negates a case. 

Contact a Dedicated Massachusetts Drug Defense Lawyer

Conviction for a drug offense in Massachusetts carries with it some serious penalties. If you or a loved one is charged with a drug offense in Massachusetts, one of the best things that you can do is obtain the assistance of a defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

How Past Firearm Charges Can Impact Current Cases

A father in Massachusetts is currently being held on bail after he took a firearm to a Worcester high school to confront a boy who he was told struck his daughter. The man was found by law enforcement searching the hallways armed with a black pistol.  

The man’s lawyer states that the case represents the statements of a 14-year-old boy held against the man’s word. When questioned about his activity, the man denies that he had a firearm. The man’s daughter also denied that he had a firearm. The man’s attorney has also suggested that the boy is mistaken. 

The man’s mother stated that the man does not have a gun. Instead, the woman states, the man was holding a cell phone. The woman also stated that the man was only speaking to the boy to tell him not to touch his daughter.

Records reveal that the man has a criminal record that is 25 years old and includes offenses related to firearms and jail time. The man does not have a license to carry a firearm. The man is being held without bail pending a hearing. 

If you have a previous criminal record, it can create various challenges in your current life. Previous firearm convictions can result in prosecution charging you more harshly and sometimes refusing to plea deals for later offenses. One of the most common things that law enforcement does when researching a case is to examine the subject’s previous criminal history. If you are charged with a crime and law enforcement then discovers you have a previous criminal history, you can expect to face even more challenges in your case. 

Previous Criminal Charges Can Increase Penalties

If you are currently charged with a criminal offense, having a criminal history can lead to even more serious penalties. Judges have substantial discretion when deciding whether a person should be sent to jail. If you are charged with a felony in Massachusetts, sentencing guidelines will be utilized to determine the range of sentences.  

Criminal History and Juries

In most cases, a person’s criminal history cannot be discussed in front of a jury. The prosecution is not permitted to discuss any previous criminal convictions in front of a jury in most circumstances. This is viewed as prejudicial. If a person offers testimony demonstrating that he or she is a peaceful person, however, evidence of a previous criminal conviction can be used to challenge the concept that the person is peaceful. 

Law Enforcement and Expunged Convictions

Expungement refers to a legal process utilized to remove a conviction from a person’s criminal history. The expungement process requires a person to petition a court to convince a judge that the conviction should be removed from their record. After a conviction is expunged, it no longer exists in the public record. Law enforcement as well as prosecutors, however, will always be able to view any record of arrest or previous conviction. 

Speak With a Firearm Defense Attorney

If you or your loved ones have been charged with a firearm-related offense, do not hesitate to contact an experienced defense lawyer. Schedule a free case evaluation with Attorney Edward R Molari today.

New Massachusetts Sex Crime Laws Could Create Challenges

Massachusetts in comparison to other states has less legislation designed to guard children against the dangers of sexual abuse. This can change, however, if pending measures pass. One pending bill would heighten the scrutiny of individuals looking for jobs in schools as well as prohibit schools from entering into a confidentiality agreement if a worker is involved in sexual misconduct with a minor. Another pending measure would block abusers from raising the age of consent as a defense if the abusers have a sexual interaction with a student. This legislation would state that protection should not apply if the adult charged is in a position of authority at the school.  

Experts report that if these measures are passed, Massachusetts could become a leading state in regards to measures protecting children. One executive director of an organization designed to protect children has stated that if Massachusetts can pass screening bills and solve age of consent problems, the state will return to being a leader in protecting children from sexual abuse. 

The Role of Ex Post Facto Laws 

The phrase ‘Ex Post Facto’ is a Latin term that translates to “after the fact.” In the legal sense, ex post facto refers to laws that are unenforceable in regards to a particular person charged with an offense because the regulation makes a person’s non-criminal act into a criminal offense only after the person has completed the act. 

Ex post facto includes any regulation that attempts to do any of these listed elements: 

  • Makes a non-criminal act a criminal offense after the subject’s actions or conduct is complete. In these cases, a person cannot be held criminally liable for conduct that was legal at the time it was committed but which was subsequently outlawed.

  • Makes punishment associated with a crime more severe after the crime has been completed.

  • Makes regulations more challenging for a person to defend his or her case 

  • Restricts a defendant’s defense options that existed before the subject’s criminal action or conduct

How to Respond if You are Charged with a Sex Crime

One possible side effect of this new law in Massachusetts is that more people will be falsely accused of criminal offenses. If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, there are some important steps that you should immediately take. These steps include:

  • Remain silent. Remember, you have a right to do so under the Fifth Amendment. You are also not required to take any steps that would generate evidence that could be used against you. 

  • Gather any records connected to the period of the incident in question. This might include emails, videos, or text messages.

  • Decline any voluntary searches by law enforcement. Similarly, do not turn over written records unless ordered. 

  • Do not engage in contact with the victim of the alleged incident or anyone who claims to have seen the incident occur. 

Contact a Seasoned Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

In addition to significant penalties, the conviction of sex crimes in Massachusetts also results in lasting social stigma. One of the best ways to respond to these charges is to obtain the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Three Potential Strategies for Defending Against Assault Charges

A man in Medford was arrested in November after a woman was attacked and sexually assault in Middlesex Fells Reservation. The man was subsequently charged with armed assault to murder, assault, and battery with a dangerous weapon leading to serious bodily harm, kidnapping, and several aggravated rape counts. The Middlesex County District Attorney’s later reported that the suspect did not know the woman.  

State law enforcement informed the public about the incident and stated that the woman was walking close to Leslie Road Trail close to South Border Road when she was assaulted. Law enforcement states that the offense occurred in Winchester, but it was later revealed that the incident took place in Medford. 

Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect hit the woman with a rock several times before he sexually assaulted her and then fled the scene. The Massachusetts State Police as well as the Winchester Police collected evidence from the scene that led to them identifying the attacker and locating him at his residence. The man was arrested without incident and was expected to be arraigned in Somerville District Court. The woman was treated for serious injuries at a nearby medical facility. 

The charge of assault is a serious offense that carries substantial penalties for people in Massachusetts who are convicted of the offense. People should understand that creating a defense to an assault charge depends on a careful review of the facts surrounding a case. As a result, not all defenses to assault are as good a fit or even available in each situation. Consider some of the following ways that people defend against assault charges. 

Self Defense 

A person in Massachusetts is permitted to defend themselves if that individual is faced with the threat of harm or violence. To raise self-defense as a strategy, a person must be able to demonstrate that the person was faced with harm that they feared and did not have a chance to retreat. Massachusetts law also requires a person to do everything reasonable to avoid using force. This means that a person must first attempt to retreat. 

Defending Others

Defending others is another technique used to overcome assault charges if a person steps in to protect another individual that they believe is facing imminent and real threats of harm. When defending others, a person facing assault charges must demonstrate that they feared for the individual they protected and that the person who was protected did not have the opportunity to get away from the source of harm. 

Defending Property 

In Massachusetts, a person can utilize reasonable (but not deadly) force to defend that person’s property against an individual who has no right to the property. In these situations, the person who exercises the force must be protecting their own property. 

Contact an Experienced Massachusetts Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one is facing an assault charge, you should consider immediately contacting an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney. Contact Attorney Edward R Molari today for assistance.

Four Facts You Should Know about Massachusetts BB Gun Regulations

A replica handgun was found on a teenager at a Boston school in November 2021. The teenager was carrying what appeared to be a pistol. The arrest occurred at Dearborn Stem Academy. The 14-year-old was arrested by school safety officers after they spotted him with a weapon placed in his waistband. The weapon that was found was not a gun, but instead was a BB gun that resembled a Glock pistol. The suspect was detained while law enforcement arrived at the scene. Officials determined that the teen was not enrolled in Dearborn Stern Academy or any other public school in the Boston area.  

The teen charged with the offense currently faces charges involving possession of a firearm on school property as well as trespassing. The man is due in Boston Municipal Court.  

A BB gun (or as it is sometimes referred to, a pellet or air gun) shoots a projectile through the use of compressed air. Massachusetts categorizes these weapons neither exactly the same as all firearms nor in the “dangerous weapon” category. Instead, the only restriction that Massachusetts places on pellet guns is an age-related one. This article reviews some of the important Massachusetts laws and ways the state addresses BB guns, which can come in handy if you are charged with an offense related to these guns. 

The Use of BB Guns in Public Areas

Adults (or people over the age of 18) are permitted to own BB guns in Massachusetts freely. This means that people are not subject to any licensing or registration requirements. Discharging a BB gun across or from a public area, however, is prohibited by the state, though. 

Age Restrictions in Massachusetts

Any person below the age of 18 in Massachusetts is prohibited from possessing a BB or pellet gun. People under the age of 18 who want to learn how to fire a pellet gun at a qualifying licensed firearm range must do so accompanied by either a parent or guardian. Minors in Massachusetts, however, are permitted to possess and use pellet guns if that individual has a hunting and sporting license as well as written permission from the chief of police in the area where that person resides. 

The Repercussions of Firing a BB Gun in Massachusetts

A person who fires a BB gun in Massachusetts can end up facing a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a $100 fine accompanied by confiscation of the weapon and even potential destruction of the firearm. 

Contact a Firearm Defense Attorney 

If you or a loved one is faced with a firearm offense in Massachusetts, you can end up facing serious penalties. One of the best steps that you can take in such a situation involves contacting an experienced firearm defense attorney who will remain committed to making sure that your case resolves in the best manner possible. Contact Attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Three Things You Should Know if You are Subject to a Search Warrant

A long-term investigation into a narcotics criminal operation resulted in law enforcement being led to Brockton where they removed heroin, cocaine, and Fentanyl. With the assistance of the Massachusetts narcotic investigation team, law enforcement disrupted a substantial organization involved with drug trafficking. 

Based on reports received by the Brockton police, law enforcement executed two search warrants in Boston that resulted in Brockton detectives arresting two drug dealers and pursuing warrants for several other individuals. Investigators seized approximately half a kilo of cocaine and around $30,000 in cash from the address. 

Two men were subsequently arrested in this seizure that led to the two individuals facing several charges, which include trafficking in over ten grams of fentanyl. If only convicted of trafficking, the men could end up facing approximately 20 years in prison.

Law enforcement seized 17 bags of Fentanyl as well as crack cocaine, two bags of heroin, and around two thousand in cash associated with the two suspects who were arrested. Law enforcement also charged the men with two counts of distributing a Class A drug. The men were also charged with possession to distribute a drug classified as Class B and conspiracy to violate the drug law. Additional arrests in the case might also be pending. 

What is Required for a Valid Search Warrant?

For a search warrant to be valid in Massachusetts, probable cause must be established as determined personally by a judge. This warrant must be issued following examination of a complaint as well as any witnesses that the judge can produce. Additionally, the warrant must describe the location to be searched as well as the persons and things that will be seized. 

Probable cause includes any facts and circumstances that would result in a reasonably prudent person believing that an offense has occurred and that objects being sought after are in the place intended to be searched. 

You Cannot Inspect a Search Warrant

If you are served with a search warrant, you cannot pretend that the warrant does not exist. A valid search warrant gives law enforcement the authority to enter private premises and collect evidence in accordance with the warrant’s terms. You cannot deny access or refuse to provide “consent” to a search by law enforcement. 

You Might be Able to Challenge the Search Warrant

Search warrants provide law enforcement with a broad investigative power, but this authority is not absolute. To be valid, a search warrant must be supported by probable cause. If a search warrant is issued without probable cause or the officer who executes the warrant surpasses the scope of their authority, this can serve as grounds for filing a motion to suppress. 

Contact a Massachusetts Drug Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug defense in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. Attorney Edward R Molari understands the serious nature of drugs and will fight for your case to be resolved in the best possible manner.

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