Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Helpful Tips for Responding to Drug Possession Charges

Boston law enforcement arrested a man in West Roxbury in March 2020. The arrest occurred after the man was found by law enforcement with amphetamine and methamphetamine in New Hampshire. The man was subsequently released so he could turn himself over to New Hampshire law enforcement. The man is reported to be a sergeant in Internal Affairs. The Boston Police Department reports that the sergeant has been on leave since earlier this year and that the department’s anti-corruption unit is investigating the incident. The suspect has been with the Boston Police Department since 2002.  

No two drug charges are identical. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, however, takes each of these offenses seriously. Consequently, it is critical to understand as much as possible about how to respond to these charges. This article reviews some helpful strategies that will likely improve your legal standing if you are charged with a drug-related offense.

Do Not Forget Your Constitutional Rights

Even though Massachusetts lawmakers take drug charges seriously, law enforcement must still observe your Constitutional rights when pursuing these charges. For example, the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Consequently, if you can show that law enforcement performed an unlawful search or seizure, you may very likely be able to get the drug charges dropped.

Be Aware of the Various Charges

While it is not necessary to commit all of Massachusetts’ drug laws to memory, you should realize that various charges can be brought against a person in the Commonwealth. Not only do different charges require the prosecution to establish different facts, but the severity of charges also ends up influencing what penalties you end up facing. Some of the most common drug charges initiated in Massachusetts include:

  • Possession occurs if a person is found with any type of illegal substances on his or her body. Penalties for this offense vary substantially based on the type and amount of drugs among other factors.

  • Possession with intent to sell or deliver is an elevation from possession and results in more serious penalties. These charges are made if law enforcement decides that the suspect planned on selling drugs.

  • Distribution involves delivering, selling, trafficking, or importing drugs. A conviction for this offense results in devastating penalties.

  • Drug manufacturing charges vary based on the type and amount of drugs being produced. These charges often carry significant penalties.

Recognize Entrapment

Law enforcement sometimes coerces individuals into purchasing or interacting with drugs so an arrest can be made. If you can establish that your actions were the direct result of law enforcement’s coercement or force, however, you will likely be able to argue entrapment. Note, though, law enforcement is known to lie and distort the facts to make arrests on drug charges. Lying by law enforcement alone does not amount to entrapment. 

Obtain the Assistance of a Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney

When people are charged with criminal offenses, they are often left uncertain about how to respond or what they can do to combat the charges. Schedule a free case evaluation with attorney Edward R Molari today. 

Issues to Consider When Facing Massachusetts Deadly Weapon Charges

A man was charged in March 2020 with allegedly stabbing two people inside the Bell in Hand Tavern in downtown Boston. Boston law enforcement promptly responded to the call at the historic bar and arrested the suspect, while Boston emergency medical workers transported both victims to a nearby medical facility with non-life-threatening injuries. 

When law enforcement arrived at the tavern they discovered that two men were stabbed and that staff security members were attempting to restrain the suspect on the main floor close to the bar. Law enforcement noticed the suspect violently struggling while two victims lay on the ground receiving care from other staff members. The suspect was later charged with two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, simple assault and battery, and resisting arrest and threats. 

If you are charged with a deadly weapon offense in Massachusetts, you can end up facing some severe consequences. Not only do people often receive jail time and penalties, but deadly weapon charges can also have other repercussions that can significantly disrupt a person’s life. The following reviews some critical points to understand about the nature of deadly weapon charges in Massachusetts.

Properly Inform Law Enforcement You Have a Weapon

To avoid an undesirable situation, there are some important details that you should remember in disclosing to law enforcement that you have a knife, gun, or another deadly weapon. After directly telling the police you have a weapon, law enforcement will respond in one of several ways. Often, law enforcement will remove the weapon for both your safety as well as the officer’s well-being. If the officer requests to remove the firearm, you should ask how you should hand over the weapon. If the officer gives you instructions about how to give up the weapon, you should repeat them back and narrate your actions as you proceed slowly. If the officer says anything that does not make sense, you should stop and ask for clarification. 

Massachusetts Deadly Weapon Laws Carry Harsh Penalties

Massachusetts law states that carrying a dangerous weapon on your person or vehicle is punishable by six months to two and a half years in jail. MGL c. 269 s. 10(b) states that a deadly weapon includes various types of knives as well as blowguns, metallic knuckles, and a wide range of other instruments that can be used to harm people. If a person has previously been convicted of carrying a firearm or other deadly weapon once or several times, this statute contains elevated penalties. It is a safe bet that if you can physically harm someone with the object you are holding, law enforcement and prosecution will likely find that it constitutes a deadly weapon.

Defenses to Deadly Weapon Charges

While convictions for deadly weapon offenses carry serious penalties, defenses exist to respond to these charges. Part of the reason so many defenses exist to these charges is that several elements must be established for a conviction to be made. Some of the most common defenses raised in response to deadly weapon charges include:

  • A person cannot be charged with a deadly weapon offense if that individual did not actually have a deadly weapon.

  • You might have only been using the deadly weapon to act in self-defense or to protect another.

  • You may not have acted intentionally or willfully. For example, you might have been coerced to act in a certain way by a kidnapper or someone else was exerting control over you.

  • Unfortunately, sometimes people are accused of crimes they did not actually commit. If you are the victim of mistaken identity and can draw such identification into question, you will likely be able to defend against a deadly weapon charge.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Massachusetts, one of the best steps that you can take afterward is to promptly contact a compassionate defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Recognizing Your Rights During Searches for Child Pornography

The Suffolk District Attorney’s Office reports that a Boston man faces child rape charges following allegations that he forced a minor to have sex for housing and drugs for several months. The man was arraigned in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on three counts of aggravated rape of a child under 16 and one count of distribution of obscene materials.  

The man was held on a $15,000 cash bail and ordered to stay under house arrest. The man’s bail was later revoked for a previous drug charged. Officers first responded to the man’s home following the report of the stabbing of a minor who had been missing for six months. After performing an investigation, law enforcement alleged that the man had forced the minor to have sex for things like housing, drugs, and money for several months. Child pornography was also played in front of the victim. 

A conviction connected to child pornography carries serious repercussions that can interrupt a persona’s professional and social life. Consequently, it is a good idea to know your legal rights if law enforcement ever performs a search of your computer, smartphone, or other electronic device.

What Police Can (and Cannot) Do Without a Search Warrant

Law enforcement will often begin by asking whether it has your permission to search your electronics for child pornography. If you allow law enforcement to search, police will not need to obtain a warrant before searching your electronics. As a result, it is almost always in your best interest to deny law enforcement the right to perform such a search.

If law enforcement, however, thinks that child pornography is on your electronic device and there is reason to believe you will immediately destroy the device, law enforcement can search the device without obtaining a warrant.

You Still Have Rights if the Police Have a Warrant

Warrants are documents signed by judges that give law enforcement the authority to either perform an arrest or search a property. If the police tell you that they have obtained a warrant to search your electronic device or devices, you have a right to request to see the warrant. Several elements should be included on the warrant like the specifics of what is to be searched and the judge’s signature. While the warrant addresses what the police are looking for, if the police stumble on other incriminating evidence while executing a warrant, then the police can keep this evidence, too.

While a warrant to search an electronic device means law enforcement can do certain things, there are still limits. For one, while you cannot actively obstruct the police’s search, you certainly do not have to help the police. You also do not have to answer any questions that the police ask you while performing such a search.

What Happens if the Police Cannot “Get in” to Your Electronics

Provided the police have a warrant to search the item, the police can take your electronic device somewhere else to perform a more detailed inspection. If the police think that evidence of a criminal offense is on the electronic device, they can keep this item as evidence. Sometimes law enforcement even tries to permanently keep electronics through the forfeiture process, but this can be challenged.

Do Not Hesitate to Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal charges should be taken seriously because they can result in lasting repercussions. One of the best things to do if you or a loved one is charged with a criminal offense is to promptly contact an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today for assistance. 

Three Ways to Challenge a Search Warrant

Law enforcement arrested three individuals after discovering both drugs and evidence of manufacturing at a residence. The Ware Police Department reports that three individuals were arrested after executing a search warrant for a residence located on Monson Turnpike Road with the assistance of the Monson and Warren Police Departments. The search warrant was obtained following an extensive investigation into drug activity in the area. 

During the search of the residence, an undisclosed amount of crack cocaine was located, as was suboxone and other drug paraphernalia. Other evidence that was seized was consistent with the manufacturing of crack cocaine. Various charges were made against the suspects including conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession of Class B drugs, and manufacturing a class B drug, One of the suspects was subsequently held without bail until his arraignment while the other two suspects were released on personal recognizance with their arraignment.

Unfortunately, law enforcement in Massachusetts can enter your home and seize evidence if they have a valid search warrant. Evidence seized under a search warrant can later be used in a criminal trial. It is often possible, however, to request a Franks hearing to keep evidence out of a trial. While the odds of a successful Franks hearing are low, you still might be able to protect your Constitutional rights if the police did not follow proper procedures. This article reviews some of the most common ways that people can challenge search warrants.

Lack of Probable Cause

One of the most common important questions to ask about search warrants is whether probable cause existed to permit such a search. Probable cause is found in not just a sentence or two in an affidavit but instead is assessed based on the “totality of the circumstances.” If it can be established that the judge lacked a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed, the defense challenge will fail.

Errors in Time

Timing is critical when considering a search warrant’s validity. Law enforcement must establish that the things they want to seize are likely to be on the premises at the time that a warrant is requested. One example of where time must be carefully considered is when an anonymous tip has spurred law enforcement into action. If a search warrant application’s affidavit fails to state when law enforcement received the tip or when the conduction in question occurred, a search warrant will likely be found invalid because it cannot be justified that the object of the search will be on the property at the time the judge signs the warrant.

Place Errors

Another common way to argue against search warrants is to claim that premises referenced in documentation supporting the search are not sufficient. The language of the Fourth Amendment demands that a search warrant be specific to the place being searched. If a search warrant fails to include statements defining where will be searched, it is not valid on its face. Instead, search warrants must provide the location of the property to be searched and distinguish this location from other areas.

Obtain the Assistance of a Compassionate Criminal Defense Attorney

A drug-related conviction carries various penalties and substantial stigma. As a result, if you are left facing one of these charges, it is a good idea to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Four Steps to Take if You are Under Investigation for Child Pornography

Massachusetts law enforcement reports that following a two-year investigation, a man in Sudbury was arrested in February on charges of child pornography. The 23-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, with one of the counts relating to a 2015 incident. 

Law enforcement began investigating the suspect in 2019 after receiving a tip from the Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes Against Children cybercrime unit. The tip was connected to an address on Bay Drive in Sudbury where the suspect lived. The investigation subsequently uncovered multiple images of very young minor victims. It remains uncertain both when the suspect will appear in court as well as whether he has legal representation.

Understand the Nature of Searches and Seizures

If you are involved in a child pornography investigation, law enforcement will often try to obtain a search warrant to seize potential evidence. Some of the most commonly seized evidence includes computers, smartphones, and other items on which digital information can be stored. To perform a legal search and seizure, law enforcement must have a valid search warrant which must be based on probable cause. If law enforcement lacks probable cause on which to base a search warrant, you have the right to refuse to give your permission for the search.

Enroll in a Treatment Program

It might be a good idea to enroll in a sex offender treatment program even before you have formally been charged with an offense. Even though participating in a treatment program does not impact your chances of acquittal, enrolling in this program will improve your chances of receiving a less severe sentence. Participating in a treatment program might also mean that a judge is more likely to grant a variance that deviates from sentencing guidelines.

Exercise Your Legal Rights

If you are being investigated for child pornography-related charges, you should not hesitate to immediately assert your legal rights. Additionally, if you are interrogated by law enforcement, you should inquire whether you are under arrest or free to leave. Avoid answering any question or providing information that law enforcement does not ask, and do not do so outside the presence of your lawyer.

If the police or any other government agency comes to your door, you should remember two important phrases: “I want my lawyer” and “you do not have permission to search.” Besides these two phrases, it is often a good idea to remain as silent as possible. Avoid engaging in small talk with law enforcement or trying to explain anything. Remember, in some circumstances, law enforcement might even lie to you to get you to admit details about an offense.

Contact a Sex Crime Defense Attorney

Being convicted of a sex crime can result in obstacles that interfere with a person’s professional and personal life. As a result, one of the best steps to 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.

Firearm Possession in Massachusetts

A few snowballs thrown at a Massachusetts police officer led to the discovery of a stolen AK-47 and the arrest of a 30-year-old man from East Boston. Law enforcement responded to Havre Street in East Boston for shots fired in February. After searching the area for ballistics evidence, the attention of law enforcement was drawn to a man standing on a fourth-floor balcony. 

Moments later, snowballs were thrown from the balcony at police officers. This action prompted law enforcement to go to the fourth floor and knock on the door of the apartment where the occupant had shut himself inside. Law enforcement claims that they then peacefully entered the apartment and observed an unsecured AK-47 and a 12-gauge shotgun, and then located a 9 mm Taurus handgun. 

The AK-47 was later determined to not be registered to the man, who had a valid firearm license. Instead, the AK-47 was reported stolen in Holbrook in 2016. After investigating the weapon, the man was also determined to have discharged his handgun without causing injury to police officers. The man was arraigned in East Boston District Court on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm as well as discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, assault, and improper storage of a firearm. 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires individuals to carry a license to carry to purchase, possess, and even carry a firearm. Many people, however, have uncertainties about what possession means. This means that if you have a firearm on your person or in your pocket, you are in possession of it. The law refers to this as actual possession. Many people, however, have questions about how possessions are viewed if there is a firearm in your vehicle or if someone in your house owns a gun. Fortunately, owning a gun is not the equivalent of possessing a gun in the eyes of the law. Consider the following important elements about firearm possession in Massachusetts.

Constructive Possession

Massachusetts law does not require you to actually physically possess a firearm to be found in possession of the weapon. Instead, the law also acknowledges “constructive possession” if a person has knowledge of an object, the ability to exercise control over the object, and the intent to exercise control over the object.

Car Cases Can Get Complicated

In situations in which a person is riding in a car with a firearm is involved, complex possession questions can arise. For example, in the 2018 case of Commonwealth v. Summers, a defendant was the only occupant in a backseat and was charged with possession of a firearm that was inside the backpack on the floor of the backseat of the car. The court, in this case, noted that because the defendant was the sole passenger and because the backpack was also in the back seat, the individual was in constructive possession of the firearm. 

In the 2013 case of Commonwealth v. Romero, however, a Massachusetts case considered firearm possession when the defendant was in his own vehicle and a passenger had a gun. The court found that the defendant in the case was not in constructive possession of the firearm. The defendant in this case owned the car and knew the firearm was in his vehicle. The defendant’s friend had offered to let the defendant hold the gun, though. Because the car’s owner did not show signs of intending to control the gun, he was determined to not be in constructive possession of the firearm.

Firearms in Car Trunks

A firearm in your trunk will likely be found to be in your possession. In the case of Commonwealth v. Jeune, the defendant was driving and had keys to open the trunk at the time he was stopped by police. Law enforcement found drugs in the man’s vehicle, but because the defendant had keys that opened the trunk, the court held that the defendant was in constructive possession of the gun.

Obtain the Services of a Compassionate Firearm Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with a firearm-related offense, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Three Things to Remember About Massachusetts Carjacking Charges

A man in Quincy currently faces charges after police say he stole the car of someone in Boston. Law enforcement responding to a radio call on Massachusetts Avenue around 1 in the morning spoke to a victim who stated that while he was on Dorchester Avenue, he was approached by a man who requested a ride to the Boston Medical Center area.  

As they neared the Boston Medical Center, the man became violent and struck the victim in the back of the head with a firearm. The victim then exited the vehicle and the suspect climbed over the driver’s seat and fled in the vehicle. 

An officer on patrol in the Hampden Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard area later spotted a car matching the description of the stolen vehicle. The suspect turned onto Hampden Street and fled toward George Street. After refusing to stop for police, the suspect was forced to stop after turning onto Wendover Street, which is a dead-end. The suspect was then taken into custody and it was determined that his firearm was a BB gun. The suspect was charged with carjacking, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, failure to stop for a police officer, operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license, and speeding.

One of the best things to do if you or a loved one is facing a carjacking charge is to understand some of the basics about the nature of this offense and how it is handled in Massachusetts. 

Penalties Associated With Carjacking

The crime of carjacking in Massachusetts is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for up to 15 years or in jail for up to two and a half years. A person convicted of carjacking can also end up facing a fine of up to $15,000. If a person is armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of the carjacking, the individual faces much more serious penalties including a maximum of 20 years in prison or jail time of up to two and a half years.

What the Offense Entails

In Massachusetts, carjacking is referred to as assault with the intent to steal a vehicle. Carjacking often occurs when a person confines or harms another person to steal a vehicle. Physical injury, however, is not a requirement for a carjacking charge. Instead, if a victim reasonably feared bodily harm, a carjacking charge can be made. It also does not matter if the person stealing the vehicle was successful in doing so. 

Defenses to Carjacking Charges

Carjacking as well as all other criminal charges must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, it is often possible to defend against the charge by establishing that the prosecution has not presented sufficient evidence.

Another common way to defend against a carjacking is arguing that the prosecution obtained evidence of the offense by violating your constitutional rights. These violations most commonly involve the 4th or 5th Amendment of the Constitution.

Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with carjacking in Massachusetts, one of the best steps that you can take is to promptly obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Facing Drug Trafficking Charges?

Police in Great Barrington recently arrested three individuals in connection to an ongoing narcotics investigation. The arrests arose in connection with two separate motor vehicle stops. In addition to the stops, police also executed a search warrant on a local hotel room and one of the individual’s vehicles. The amount of substance that is believed to qualify as fentanyl is considered to be “trafficking weight.”  

Law enforcement also seized a large amount of cash. One of the individuals who was arrested has since been charged with distribution of a class A drug as well as trafficking a controlled substance of more than 36 grams. The other two individuals who were arrested have been charged with possession of a class A substance. 

Massachusetts takes the offense of drug trafficking seriously. One of the best ways to navigate these charges is to understand some of the critical details about how these charges are made.

What Separates Simple Drug Possession From Drug Trafficking?

The prosecution in Massachusetts has the burden of establishing that a person was in possession of a certain drug and that the individual either sold or intended to sell the drug. The act of selling or intending to sell is what separates the offense of drug trafficking from simple possession. Some pieces of evidence that the prosecution commonly relies on to establish a person sold or intended to sell drugs are baggies, cash, ledges, and scales. 

Elements that Impact the Severity of Charges

Some of the elements that influence the severity of drug trafficking charges include:

  • Massachusetts law punishes some drugs more harshly than others. 

  • People are often charged with offenses in addition to drug trafficking charges. Some of the other offenses with which people are commonly charged include money laundering and drug manufacturing.

  • If a person has a previous criminal history, the consequences of drug trafficking charges increase in likely severity.

Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges

Drug trafficking charges result in serious penalties, but fortunately, there are several ways to respond to these charges. Some of the most common legal defenses that people raise in response to these charges include:

  • Attacking the credibility of a witness who provided details about the drug activity is often a powerful defense.

  • Establishing that evidence was only obtained as a result of the violation of constitutional rights is a common defense technique.

  • To satisfy the elements of a drug trafficking charge, the prosecution must show that the drugs in question were actually for sale and not for personal use. Sometimes, a defense can be created around the argument that the prosecution has not proven this element.

  • Sometimes, a defense can be raised that scientific evidence has revealed that the drugs were not actually an illegal substance.

Contact a Compassionate Criminal Defense Attorney

Following a drug-related criminal charge, one of the best steps that you can take is to promptly obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today and during a free case evaluation, he can discuss your available options to respond to these charges. 

Five Ways to Defend Against Charges of Possession of Child Pornography

A CyberTip received by the Massachusetts State Police led to the arrest of a level 2 sex offender who has been charged with possessing child sexual abuse imagery. The man has since been arraigned on both this charge as well as failure to register as a sex offender in connection with allegedly possessing multiple videos and images of children engaging in sexual acts. The man has been accused of living at a Westford home where he was not registered.  

Westford law enforcement began their investigation on December 3rd as a result of a Cybertip from the Internet Crimes Against Children Cyber Crime Unit. The tip claimed that child sex abuse imagery had been uploaded using a Kik Messenger account. The tip was issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and was connected to an IP address of a home located on Groton Road in Westford. After obtaining subpoenas, executing a search warrant, and conducting physical surveillance, an investigation revealed that the suspect had uploaded multiple images of “minor female victims” with his messenger account. 

Law enforcement ultimately identified the defendant at the residence and determined that he had been there for over a year despite being registered in Chelmsford. Consequently, the man was held on a $10,000 bail and instructed not to engage in any unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18. The man also must check in with probation weekly if he posts bail and has been advised not to use either the internet or social media with limited exceptions.

If you or a loved one is facing possession of child pornography charges, it is easy to end up feeling overwhelmed about what you can do to pursue compensation. You should know, however, that there are several common strategies to respond to these charges. 

Unintentional Possession

This defense involves establishing that a person did not mean to have child pornography in his or her possession or that the material did not belong to the person facing charges. For example, child pornography files might be located on a computer that a person shares with others.

Accidental Possession

Sometimes, hackers or other adverse parties might maliciously place child pornography on a person’s computer or in that individual’s possession. Establishing that you are the victim of such a malicious act can provide a valid defense.

Illegal Search and Seizure

Law enforcement commonly commits Fourth Amendment violations. In this situation, even if you were looking at child pornography, your attorney can argue that the evidence was obtained as a result of the violation of your constitutional rights. 


Entrapment occurs when the police induce a person to commit a criminal offense that a person would not have committed otherwise. For example, the police might induce a person to purchase content that was not clearly child pornography and then arrest the person.

The Material is Not Child Pornography

Under Massachusetts law, child pornography has a specific definition. This means that the material must either show children naked or engaged in sexually explicit situations. If the content actually depicts non-minors, then that material cannot be classified as child porn.  

Let a Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney Fight for You

Even if you are not convicted of the offense, sex crime charges in Massachusetts carry various repercussions including lasting stigma that can jeopardize a person’s career and social standing. To respond to these charges, one of the best things that you can do is obtain the assistance of a compassionate defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Defending Against Dissemination of Obscene Material Charges

The Plymouth district attorney’s office revealed that a Bridgewater State University professor was recently indicted on charges of rape and other sex crimes after several female students reported assault. The other offenses for which the professor was indicted include indecent assault and battery on an individual over the age of 14, engaging in sexual conduct for a fee, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, and three counts of disseminating obscene material. 

As previously discussed on this blog, Bridgewater State University police began investigating the incident after a female student claimed that the professor sent her inappropriate pictures in October. At the time of the previous post, the professor had been charged with rape, sex trafficking, and criminal harassment. The professor is scheduled to be arraigned in Brockton Superior Court on February 25, 2021.  

While this case is complex, it introduces one way in which dissemination of obscene material charges can arise in Massachusetts. The following reviews some critical details that everyone should understand about the charge.

What it Means to Disseminate Obscene Material

One of the best ways to understand what constitutes a charge of dissemination of obscene material is to understand what elements of the offense must be proven by the prosecution. To establish the offense for a conviction, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 

  • The matter is obscene

  • The party accused of the offense either disseminated the matter or possessed the matter with the intent to disseminate it

  • The party accused of the offense knew of the material’s obscene nature 

Penalties Associated With a Charge of Dissemination of Obscene Material

If a person is convicted of the dissemination of obscene material in Massachusetts, that individual faces several strict penalties. General Laws Chapter 272, Section 29 penalizes the crime with imprisonment of up to two and a half years in a house of corrections or a maximum of five years in state prison. Additionally, the legislature has mandated that prosecution for a charge of dissemination of obscene material is prohibited from being continued without a finding.  

What is Considered Obscene?

The crime of dissemination of obscene material applies to a variety of printed and visual material. Most often, the charge is initiated against books, films, magazines, and photographs. To be considered obscene, material must be all of the following requirements:

  • The material must appeal to the prurient interest of an average citizen of the county in which the offense occurred. Prurient interest refers to either a morbid or shameful interest in nudity, excretion, sex, or sexual matters that is repugnant to moral standards. As a result, erotic or sexual materials are not always obscene. 

  • The material must either describe or show sexual conduct in a way that is patently offensive to an average citizen of the county.

  • The material must lack any serious artistic, literary, political, or scientific merit. 

Speak With an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with disseminating obscene material, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of a skilled attorney. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.