Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

I Was Pulled Over for Tinted Windows in Boston: Is That Even Legal?

If you have been driving in Boston for a few years, you are probably aware that police pull people over for minor violations. This might be nothing more than an inconvenience for some. But what happens if this traffic stop leads to something much worse? What happens if the police discover evidence of a much more serious crime? Suddenly, you are facing serious consequences for a traffic stop that probably should not have happened in the first place. But is this even legal? What does the Constitution say about these situations, and how can you defend yourself against criminal allegations? 

Three Arrests Made After Suspects Stopped Due to “Excessively Tinted Window”

On May 25, three individuals were arrested in downtown Boston. They had been pulled over for driving in a car with what police called “excessively tinted windows.” After the traffic stop, the vehicle and the suspects were searched – and an illegal firearm was allegedly found in their possession. 

According to United States and Massachusetts law, the reason for the initial traffic stop matters a great deal. For the traffic stop to be justified, there must be some kind of law being broken, something that is serious enough to put other people in danger. You might argue that a broken tail light affects traffic safety, especially at night. But even then, the argument is rather thin. When dealing with tinted windows, on the other hand, it is obvious that police are simply searching for an excuse to pull people over and search them. 

Can Police Legally Pull Me Over for Tinted Windows?

First of all, it is worth mentioning that tinted windows are legal in Massachusetts. The law states that as long as these windows allow 35% of light to pass through the glass, they are fully acceptable. The fine for this violation is $250 – making it a minor offense that is far less dangerous than driving drunk or even having a broken tail light. 

Furthermore, one has to wonder how a police officer can detect whether a window allows more than 35% of the light to pass through. They are simply relying on their best judgment, and it is obviously impossible for a human being to detect the difference between a 34% tint and a 36% tint with their naked eye. In addition, you should know that a traffic stop does not automatically give police permission to search you or your vehicle. Ask for a search warrant before consenting to any searches. 

Where Can I Find a Criminal Defense Attorney in Boston?

If you have been searching the Boston area for a qualified criminal defense attorney, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. We know that many of these traffic stops are completely unconstitutional, and we can push to have your charges dropped due to these obvious constitutional violations. Settling for a public defender may leave you with a lawyer who is not prepared to fight for your rights. Contact us today to immediately get started with an effective action plan. 

The Use of Digital Evidence in a Massachusetts Assault and Battery Case

With the rise of the digital world, digital evidence has become incredibly important in criminal law. In fact, most criminal trials today involve at least some digital evidence. If you have been charged with assault and battery related to a domestic dispute, you should know that the prosecution will almost certainly search for digital evidence they can use against you. But how might this digital evidence affect your case? Is digital evidence even admissible in court? How do you protect your data privacy? Let’s find out: 

What is Digital Evidence – and Why is it Important?

Examples of digital evidence include:

  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Social media posts
  • Photos/videos saved on your phone
  • Downloaded files
  • Internet surfing history

These are just a few examples, and there are almost limitless types of digital evidence thanks to the wide-ranged nature of the internet. 

But why might digital evidence be important in your assault and battery case? In many cases of domestic violence, it’s a “he said, she said” type of situation. If there were no witnesses of the alleged violence, the prosecution might try to use digital evidence to support their claims. 

For example, they might show that you threatened the victim with text messages. They might also show that you chatted with friends and talked about how much you wanted to physically hurt the victim. 

You might have visited questionable websites – perhaps researching how to get away with certain crimes or use certain weapons. Someone might have videotaped the entire incident on their smartphone with your knowledge. There are many possibilities. 

What are Your Privacy Rights in Massachusetts?

Privacy rights on social media are not strong in Massachusetts. The general consensus is that once you post something on social media, there is “no reasonable expectation of privacy.” But there are some exceptions to the rule. Back in 2022, the Massachusetts Supreme Court expanded privacy rights for social media users. 

This came after a defendant had posted a video of himself holding a gun on Snapchat. Of course, this only applies to posts and not text messages. The Massachusetts Supreme Court was clear on this subject in 2021, stating that there is absolutely no expectation of privacy when it comes to text messages. 

What You Can Do to Protect Your Privacy Rights

You can take steps to protect your privacy in a simple way: Refuse to hand over your smartphone unless police have a warrant. It is really that simple. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you are facing charges of assault and battery in Massachusetts, you should get in touch with a defense attorney as soon as possible. Choose Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law, and you can immediately get started with an effective action plan. We know that digital evidence can make or break your entire case. With our help, you can push back against digital evidence and invalidate it. We can also help you present digital evidence of your own that proves your innocence. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan. 

Department of Justice Cracks Down on Darknet Drug Smuggling

For those who do not know, the “darknet” is the part of the internet that cannot be reached with a search engine like Google or Bing. But unlike the “deep web,” it’s not enough to simply know the web address of the site you wish to reach and enter it manually. If you want to access the darknet (sometimes called the “dark web”), you need a special browser. While the deep web constitutes about 95% of the entire internet, the dark net makes up just 5% of the web. True to its name, this part of the internet is filled with all kinds of unsavory things, including human smuggling operations, hitmen for hire, and illegal drugs.  

But what happens if you use the darknet to carry out your drug operation? Is it really as “hidden” as it seems? A new operation by the Department of Justice is cracking down on these operations, and it is having considerable success. 

Department of Justice Announces “Record-Breaking” Darknet Operation

On May 2, 2023, the Department of Justice announced record-breaking seizures and arrests as part of an international operation against darknet drug trafficking. This is Operation SpecTor, and it has resulted in 288 arrests so far. The operation also led to the seizure of 117 firearms, over $53 million in cash, and 850 kilograms of drugs. 

Coordinated in the United States, Europe, and South America, the operation involved the FBI, Europol’s Cybercrime Centre (EC3), and a wide range of other organizations. Attorney General Garland stated:

“Our message to criminals on the dark web is this: You can try to hide in the furthest reaches of the internet, but the Justice Department will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes.”

The FBI also specifically mentioned several Mexican cartels, pointing out that they have become extremely active on the darknet for their drug smuggling operations. A number of high-profile arrests were made over the years, sending numerous defendants to prison for decades. 

Brazilian Drug Trafficker Arrested in Boston

On May 5, 2023, it was reported that a Brazilian drug trafficker had been arrested by Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Boston. A field officer described this individual as a “public safety threat,” and he may be sent back to Brazil. It is not clear whether this arrest was connected with the aforementioned Operation SpecTor, but it is clear that multiple enforcement agencies are cracking down on these operations. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you have been charged with drug smuggling on the darknet, it is imperative that you get in touch with an experienced defense attorney in Massachusetts at your earliest convenience. Although the Justice Department takes this situation very seriously, there are a number of defense strategies you can potentially employ to mitigate your legal consequences. Book your consultation today to get started. 

Video and Audio Recordings as Evidence in Massachusetts Domestic Violence Trials

Most Americans are unsure about the laws regarding video and audio evidence in trials. You may be vaguely aware that it is illegal to record someone without their consent in most states. But do these “wiretapping laws” apply in Massachusetts? What if you’re facing a trial related to domestic violence? Can your spouse or “alleged victim” use recordings and audio against you – even if you never consented to be recorded? The answer may surprise you: 

The Basics of Wiretapping Laws in Massachusetts

Massachusetts follows a “two-party consent” system when it comes to recording people’s conversations. This means that it is illegal to secretly record a conversation unless everyone involved is made aware of the fact that they’re being recorded. They must also consent to being recorded. Once a person is made aware that they are being recorded, it is their responsibility to leave the conversation if they do not consent. Massachusetts is actually one of the strictest states in the nation when it comes to wiretapping laws. 

So what does this mean for you as a defendant in a domestic violence case? If your spouse recorded you without your permission, this footage typically cannot be used against you in court. Whenever a law is broken in order to collect the evidence, the evidence becomes inadmissible. 

Changes May Be Coming

With all of that said, the state is considering making changes to its wiretapping laws specifically for domestic violence cases. A statewide debate was sparked after a woman was criminally charged for illegally recording her husband. The footage she recorded showed her husband attempting to suffocate her with a pillow, according to a report from 2022. This prompted many lawmakers to consider changes to the legislation. 

In March of 2023, it was reported that a new bill would allow domestic violence victims to secretly record their abusers without facing any consequences whatsoever. Although this law has not yet passed as of this writing, that day could soon arrive. In addition, a recent Supreme Court ruling has allowed the use of police body cameras in court against domestic violence defendants. 

Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you have been searching for a qualified defense attorney in Massachusetts, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. We know that it can be daunting to face accusations of assault and battery, domestic violence, and related crimes. This is especially true if your alleged victim is intent on using audio recordings and video footage against you in court. With our help, you can use a range of defense strategies to fight for your rights effectively. This may include having certain evidence thrown out of court. Book your consultation today to get started. 

Assaults on the Most Vulnerable: Are the Consequences Worse?

Everyone who is accused of a crime is considered equal in the eyes of the law. But what about the victims? Can you face more serious offenses for targeting one specific victim rather than another? The answer is complicated. There are certain laws that make penalties much worse for specifically targeting minorities. On the other hand, there may be "unwritten laws" that make it much more likely to suffer serious penalties when you attack a vulnerable member of society. Let's examine two recent cases in Massachusetts: 

Teens Face Charges for Assaulting Homeless Man

On April 10th, it was reported that a number of teens had been arrested for taunting and assaulting a homeless man. Onlookers witnessed the teens take the man's hat, taunt him, and shove him. They were apparently trying to start a fight. Witnesses called the police, and the teens attempted to flee when the authorities arrived. One of the teens was caught soon thereafter, while the other evaded the police for a considerable distance. 

He was eventually apprehended, but not before assaulting a police officer in an attempt to escape. The question of whether a 17-year-old should be tried as an adult has been a subject of considerable debate in Massachusetts, but it is clear that these teens will face the full brunt of the law – mainly because of the defenseless nature of their victim. 

Woman Faces Possible Hate Crime for Road Rage Incident

On April 6, it was reported that a woman in Massachusetts was facing potential hate crimes after a road rage incident in Marlboro. After nearly rear-ending the victim, the attacker became enraged, followed the victim, and assaulted her. She also reportedly yelled the words, "Go back to your country!" This can certainly be viewed as a hate crime under the current legal system. She is also facing aggravated assault cars because she used her car keys to assault the victim, knocking out a tooth in the process. The victim is said to be of Brazilian descent. 

Do Victims Matter?

Victims can affect your penalties in Massachusetts assault cases, even if it is not specifically written in the law. Putting aside the matter of hate crimes, jurors are human beings. And as human beings, they react differently when they hear about an old lady being assaulted compared to a young man. There is an underlying notion that this is a heinous crime, and your chances of positive results go down when the victim is especially vulnerable. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified Massachusetts Defense Attorney?

If you have been accused of assault or another violent crime in Massachusetts, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants with a wide range of crimes, including assault. We know how daunting this situation can be, especially if your offense is considered especially heinous because of the nature of the victim. With our help, you can strive for the best possible results and fight back in court with a solid defense strategy. Book your consultation today. 

Why You Need to Be Careful What You Say During Assaults

During a physical altercation, one would assume that you have already lost control of yourself. The obvious choice is to restrain yourself and resist the urge to commit violence. But once that layer of restraint is gone, it is difficult to get it back. You might find yourself screaming things you would never dare say to another human being. Why? Because violence can bring out the worst in us. But while it might be difficult to control your words during an assault in Massachusetts, you should think carefully about what you say to the victim. The truth is that it is much easier to be charged with a hate crime than you might think.  

Group of Young Men Facing Hate Crime Charges in Salem

On April 10th, it was reported that a group of young men were facing hate crimes after assaulting another group of unnamed individuals. The attack apparently involved a toy gun that fired a "gel-filled projectile." This projectile hit one of the individuals. So, why are they being charged with a hate crime? The group reportedly targeted these individuals specifically because of their sexual orientation. It is not clear whether they were targeted because of the clothes they were wearing or some other identifying feature. 

The assumption here is that the perpetrators were yelling slurs of some kind at the victims while they drove by and fired their toy guns. It does not take much imagination to think about what these slurs might have been. It is also worth noting that the article only states that the group was attacked based on their "perceived" sexual orientation and not their "actual" sexual orientation. 

This might have been simply a case of one group of young men taunting another group with the same old name-calling all of us have heard at high school. But because an assault was involved (even if it was just a toy gun), these defendants are now facing hate crimes. The Salem Police Chief stated: 

"The Salem Police Department takes any incident of bias-related crime seriously and will investigate and charge individuals accordingly when incidents occur."

How to Defend Yourself Against Hate Crimes

You have two real options when defending yourself against hate crimes. You can either show that you did not target the victim based on their "protected class," or you can show that the underlying crime (such as an assault) never happened. In the aforementioned example, both of these options might be somewhat difficult. The assault was witnessed, and one of the victims was physically struck by the gel-filled projectile. These days, even toy guns are treated in almost the same way as real firearms when it comes to assaults. The question is whether the group was genuinely targeted due to their sexual orientation. This comes down to the specific words that were yelled at the group during the attack. 

Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you have been searching for a qualified defense attorney in Massachusetts, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants in the Massachusetts area. We know that these situations can become much worse when you yell certain words during assaults. While this can make it more difficult to defend yourself, you can still push back effectively with the right defense strategy. Book your consultation today to get started. 

How NOT to React to a Domestic Violence Arrest in Massachusetts

If police appear at your home to arrest you for assault and battery, you do not really have a say in the matter. You must comply. Let them take you into custody and deal with the fallout later with the help of your criminal defense attorney. If you become combative or belligerent, it could seriously hurt your case. Even making the wrong statement can be highly detrimental, as a seemingly innocent phrase may be construed as a threat or an admission of guilt. Avoid these common mistakes, and you can move forward with your criminal defense with confidence.  

Suspect Attacks Newton Police Officers During Domestic Violence Arrest

If you want a textbook example of how not to react when facing a domestic violence arrest, look no further than a recent case in Newton. On March 6 of 2023, it was reported that a suspect had knocked one police officer out cold while resisting arrest for a domestic violence incident. The incident apparently involved a family member being punched in the face, and officers quickly arrived at the scene. It seems as though the suspect was not finished being violent, as he quickly started throwing more punches when officers attempted to arrest him. 

The suspect even made a grab for the officer's firearms while throwing punches. At this point, one officer was knocked unconscious while the other was finally able to subdue the suspect. But even when he was placed in handcuffs, the suspect somehow managed to assault the officer and remove their firearm from its holster. At the end of the day, both officers were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

The Newton Police Department released the following statement:

"This incident underscores the danger that police officers face every day. Officers respond to each call and put their lives on the line to protect victims and the community. Attacks upon police officers will not be tolerated and we look forward to justice for victims and our officers. Our officers are in our thoughts and we wish them a quick recovery."

This individual is now facing a wide range of charges, and he may even face attempted murder charges depending on how the officers' firearms were involved in this debacle. What this individual should have done is comply with the officers, exercise his right to remain silent, and speak with his attorney as soon as possible. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you have been searching the Massachusetts area for an experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants, including those who have faced charges of assault and battery. Book your consultation today to get started with a solid defense strategy. 

How to Make Drug Charges Worse in Massachusetts

There are many ways in which you can make your drug charges worse than they need to be. A few simple mistakes, and you could add many years onto your sentence. Unfortunately, many defendants end up making these mistakes – often by simply making the wrong statements in front of police officers or trying to cover up their crimes unnecessarily. You can avoid many of these common mistakes by getting in touch with a qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. But what are some examples of these common mistakes, and how can you approach this difficult situation in the best way possible? 

Bedford Man Tries to Get Family to Falsely Testify in Drug Case

On March 6, 2023, it was reported that a man from Bedford had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug charges, firearm charges, and witness tampering. He had been involved in a fentanyl trafficking operation across state lines, and he was also charged with five counts of firearm possession as a felon. That alone would have been bad enough. But this individual went one step too far in his attempts to escape criminal consequences. According to the authorities, he contacted friends and family and urged them to falsely testify on his behalf at his criminal trial.

Not only did this add years to his prison sentence, but it also destroyed his credibility in the eyes of the courts. If there is one surefire way to encourage a judge to proverbially "throw the book at you," it is by attempting to circumvent the justice system and cheat your way to victory. A much better solution is to simply work with a qualified defense attorney and employ an effective defense strategy. 

Destroying Evidence

Destroying evidence is another crime that can make drug charges much worse. You could be charged with spoliation, or destruction of evidence. You might also be charged with obstruction of justice. Both can result in additional penalties. This is especially true if the evidence is recovered anyway. For example, you might have flushed a bag of drugs down a toilet while your home was being searched. If the police find out you did this and recover the drugs anyway, you are only making your situation worse. There have been accounts of police officers literally smashing holes in toilet pipes and snatching flushed drugs before they can escape. The risk of destroying evidence is too great to consider a viable strategy. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you have been searching the Boston area for a qualified criminal defense attorney, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. From your first consultation, we can guide you toward the best possible outcome. Thanks to years of criminal defense experience, we know how to avoid many of the most common mistakes. Book your consultation today to get started and fight for your rights effectively.  

Alternative DUI Sentencing Programs in Massachusetts

Most criminal courts agree that people should be given a second chance. While DUIs are generally frowned upon by society, it is certainly not the worst crime that you can commit. Because of this, it may be possible to pursue alternative sentencing programs for some DUI charges. These alternative programs can save you from time behind bars, fines, and other penalties. But is this really a viable option for you? Let's find out: 

Do These Programs Actually Achieve Anything?

Yes. If they did not help make our roads safer, courts would have abandoned these programs a long time ago. And interestingly enough, these programs are getting better and better with each passing year. On March 7, 2023, Medscape reported that a "novel sobriety program" tested in Massachusetts had the potential to reduce mortality rates associated with drunk driving by 55%. This study was conducted specifically with individuals who had been arrested for DUIs in the past. This "24/7 Sobriety Program" shows real promise, and this is why courts are so supportive of individuals who genuinely want to address their behavior. 

What are My Options?

One potential option for first offenders is the "24D Disposition." This is only available to DUI offenders whose actions are not associated with deaths or serious injuries. 

Under this program, you may get probation for as many as two years. You will also be required to go through a mandatory alcohol education program, and you must pay for this out of your own pocket. You will lose your license for 45 days and need to pay a range of fees. And that is it – no time behind bars and no fines. Obviously, this is an excellent option to pursue if it is your first time committing a DUI – and your lawyer can help you strive for this outcome.

In most cases, this alternative program only applies to first-time offenders. However, there is a chance you could still pursue a 24D Alternative Disposition if you have committed a second DUI offense within a lifetime. However, your first offense must have occurred about 10 years prior to your second offense for the judge to even consider this possibility. Still, it is worth mentioning. Even if you do not qualify for this option, you may pursue a range of alternatives to jail time, including community service or suspended sentences. Speak with your lawyer about your specific options based on your circumstances. 

Where Can I Find a Criminal Defense Attorney in Massachusetts? 

If you have been searching for a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts, consider Edward R. Molary, Attorney at Law. We know how daunting it can be to face a DUI – especially if there is a possibility of incarceration. But with the right attorney at your side, you can approach this situation with confidence and efficiency. Book your consultation today to explore the potential for alternative sentencing programs. Reach out now and get started with an effective defense strategy.

Many States Now Charge Dealers with Murders if Their Customers Overdose – Massachusetts Could Be Next

Facing drug charges is one thing, but facing murder or manslaughter charges is another matter altogether. Drug dealers could one day face criminal consequences for the overdose deaths of their customers – although some lawmakers would say that the better word is “victims.” Are we close to creating these kinds of laws in Massachusetts? What might happen if you face these kinds of charges in the future? The most important thing to realize is that you need help from a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney if you face drug charges of any kind in Massachusetts.  

Senator Wants Drug Dealers to Face Murder Charges for Overdoses

On January 18th, it was reported that Senator Patrick O’Connor had proposed a bill that would make drug dealers criminally responsible for the overdose deaths of their customers. Speaking about the proposed bill, O’Connor said:

“I think every senator or representative has family or knows someone that has lost loved ones to this crisis. But at this time, with what we know is going on in our towns, we need to give our district attorneys some tools.”

Why You Cannot Be Charged with Murder or Manslaughter for Overdose Deaths

Fortunately, O’Connor’s bill had not been accepted – at least not yet. Will Massachusetts one day have similar laws to Florida or Illinois? Only time will tell. But for the time being, the matter has been settled in court. Back in 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a graduate student who had supplied a fellow student with drugs could not be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the resulting overdose death. It was determined that the individual needed to have acted in a “wanton or reckless” manner in order to be held criminally liable for the death. 

However, the Supreme Court did leave the door open to potential guilty verdicts. They explained that if the drug dealer had a clear reason to believe that the customer was going to overdose, he could potentially face criminal consequences. For example, he might have known that the student had a specific medical condition that made him more likely to overdose. Whatever the case may be, it is important to fight these charges in the best way possible, as involuntary manslaughter can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years – and that is on top of any drug offenses you might be facing. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants fight for their rights and avoid needlessly excessive penalties. Based on current and established Massachusetts law, there is no reason you should face murder or manslaughter charges for the overdose deaths of other people. However, you still need to defend yourself effectively and utilize a solid defense strategy. Book your consultation today, and we can help you do just that.