Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Quick Facts About Malicious Destruction in Massachusetts

Two men in downtown Boston were recently caught and arrested for attempting to break into an ATM. The arrest occurred after Boston law enforcement received an ATM alarm call near Broad Street. On arrival, law enforcement began inspecting the ATM for damage. 

As law enforcement inspected the machine, they heard sounds behind it, so they shined flashlights through the ATM’s glass exterior and into the building’s vestibule. This revealed two men with crowbars who were attempting to break into the machine through its back. Consequently, the officers drew their guns, ordered the suspects to drop their tools, and commanded the suspects to get on the ground. 

After the two suspects complied, they were placed under arrest. The two men were later charged with breaking and entering as well as malicious destruction of property. Because malicious destruction of property can result in some serious penalties, the following reviews some of the important details you should understand about this offense in Massachusetts. Combined with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, these details can better prepare you for what lies ahead. 

What Constitutes Malicious Destruction?

Massachusetts defines malicious destruction as occurring whenever a person willfully either destroys or injures another person’s property. While vandalism is the most common type of malicious destruction, the offense can also include acts like setting someone else’s property on fire or breaking someone else’s window. As in the previous examples, this offense can also include destroying a bank’s ATMs.

There are Two Types of Malicious Destruction Charges

There are two types of malicious destruction charges in Massachusetts. These offenses are separated both based on the intent of the party involved as well as the amount of damages caused by the offense. If the offense involves greater than $250 in damages, a person can end up facing a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $3,000. If the offense is less than this amount, a person will end up facing a maximum of two and a half months in jail and approximately three times the cost of the damage in fines.

There are Several Available Defenses

Two defenses are commonly raised in response to malicious destruction charges. You will either establish that the items destroyed were actually less than $250 in value or that you did not have the required mental state at the time of the offense. 

To establish the requisite mental intent, you must establish that you did not consciously disregard someone else’s safety. You might also establish that you were not the person who actually destroyed the property or that you had permission to destroy the property from the property’s owner.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with malicious destruction of property, a skilled criminal defense attorney like Edward R. Molari will review your case and help you create a strong defense strategy. Contact attorney Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

A Quick Guide to Avoiding a Charge of Resisting Arrest

A juvenile in Roxbury is currently facing weapon charges after he was arrested with a loaded weapon. Law enforcement officers responding to an apartment building call saw the suspect moving among a group of teenagers, who were gathered in a hallway. While officers gathered the names of the teenagers in the group, the suspect attempted to conceal his weapon on the left side of his upper body. Later, law enforcement patted down the suspect and felt a firearm in the juvenile’s inner jacket pocket. 

After the juvenile attempted to escape, he underwent a violent struggle with law enforcement. This led to law enforcement confiscating a loaded handgun, which bore a defaced serial number. The juvenile was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, and resisting arrest.

It is rarely the case that a person is charged with just resisting arrest. Instead, this charge is often added when a person is charged with another offense. This offense, however, results in additional penalties. To help you prepare for the various complications that can result from this charge, the following reviews some important steps to avoid being charged with resisting arrest.

Understand What Resisting Arrest Includes

In Massachusetts, the charge of resisting arrest is broad. A person can be charged with arresting arrest if that individual prevents a law enforcement officer from arresting him or her, or another individual. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes a surprised or panicked reaction to being arrested can lead to this charge.

Know the Penalties

A person charged with resisting arrest can end up facing some serious penalties. These penalties include imprisonment of up to two and a half years and/or a fine of $500. Given the serious nature of these penalties, it is often in your best interest to avoid being charged with the offense at all. 

Avoid a Resisting Arrest Charge

If law enforcement arrests you, it is critical to remain calm. It is also important to avoid running or hiding from the police. If you are asked for your identification during this process, you must avoid giving either a fake ID or false identification. You do have a right, however, for the law enforcement officer to reveal their identity. You also have the right to question on what grounds the law enforcement officer is arresting you.

You Have Defenses

Unless a witness is present, it can be difficult to establish what happened during your arrest. Consequently, there are several strategies that you can use to defend against resisting arrest charges, which include:

  • That the arrest was unlawful

  • That law enforcement was using excessive force and you were defending yourself

  • That you did not actually resist the arrest

  • That law enforcement failed to provide adequate identification 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with resisting arrest in Massachusetts, an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can help. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

How to Respond to Questions From Law Enforcement

Law enforcement recently arrested a Florida man in Massachusetts who is accused of attempting to lure girls into his car. Law enforcement later determined that the man was also wanted by United States Marshals for firearm violations.Currently, no charges are pending against the man.  

When arrests occur in Massachusetts, a large number of them occur because people are not certain how to handle questions from law enforcement. It can be difficult to determine the right way to respond to questions asked by law enforcement. The following reviews some important points to remember about law enforcement interrogation.

Are You Required to Answer Questions Asked by Law Enforcement Officers?

The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution protects people from self-incrimination, which means that individuals have the right to refuse to answer questions asked by law enforcement. In most situations, a person cannot be arrested for refusing to answer these questions.

Remember Your Rights During Law Enforcement Questioning

If you are questioned by law enforcement, you have the right to remain silent. This means that you do not have to answer any questions unless you are under arrest. If you decide to speak to law enforcement, any statements that you provide can later be used against you. If you do decide to answer these questions, you have the right to have an attorney present. If you are not under arrest, however, it is often in your best interest to answer law enforcement’s questions.

There are Some Times When You Must Provide Information

Despite the general rule that you are not required to answer law enforcement questions, there are situations in which you might be required to provide law enforcement with certain information. Other times, it might be better to answer routine questions rather than refuse to do so. 

Remember Your Miranda Rights

When law enforcement makes an arrest, the person being arrested must be given Miranda warnings. This warning advises a person about what their rights are under the US Constitution. Even if you have not been placed under arrest, you are not required to answer any questions asked by law enforcement. If law enforcement stops you and asks for identification, however, it is often in your best interest to simply cooperate and provide the necessary information. Miranda warnings are only required if you are in custody and are not being interrogated. Custody does not mean that you are under arrest, but you are not exactly free to leave.

A Skilled Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer Will Fight for You

It can be overwhelming to be questioned by the police. One of the best steps that you can take when confronted with police questioning or criminal charges is to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Do not hesitate to speak with attorney Edward R Molari today to obtain assistance.

What to do After a Law Enforcement Raid

A woman in Marion was recently arrested after dozens of animals were found neglected or deceased on her property. The animals include cats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, pigs, dogs, exotic birds, and miniature horses. The animals were subsequently taken into custody by the Animal Rescue League. After a similar raid several decades ago, the woman had been prohibited from having animals on her property. As a result of the raid, the woman’s house has since been condemned on the basis that the residence was structurally unsound and filthy.  

Children who were living at the residence were later placed with relatives. Law enforcement had been informed of the problem last month and warned the homeowner, but after returning, it became clear that improvements had not been made. The woman who owned the house was arrested and now faces several counts of animal cruelty as well as interfering with law enforcement and resisting arrest. Besides the woman who owned the home, four other individuals were living at the property. At least 45 animals have currently been removed from the woman’s care.

Having your home raided by law enforcement is not an experience to be taken lightly. In many cases, law enforcement will treat items carelessly, which can leave the residence a mess and even result in property damage. In many cases, law enforcement hopes that searching the premises in such an upsetting way will lead the suspects to say something incriminating. This article reviews some of the various steps that you should remember to follow in such a situation. 

Remain Silent

While performing a search of the premises, law enforcement will often prevent anyone from either entering or leaving the premises. During this time, it is a wise idea to remain silent and to avoid entering into a discussion with law enforcement. It is rarely the case that people who say anything during this time end up stating anything that helps their case. Instead, it is much more likely that something you say during this time will end up harming you in the long run.

Do Not Grant Permissions

It is a good idea to refrain from granting law enforcement permission to search the premises. Even if law enforcement has already obtained a warrant, it is likely limited in one or several ways. By providing consent to search additional areas, you can end up greatly harming the outcome of your case. 

Document the Scene

After law enforcement leaves the scene, it is a good idea to take photographs and even capture a video of the scene. Doing this can provide compelling evidence to support your argument particularly if law enforcement later makes inaccurate claims about how things were found. This evidence can also be valuable in case your civil rights are later violated.

Speak with a Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Being subject to a law enforcement raid can result in many serious complications. To respond to any resulting charges, one of the best steps that you can take is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can help you navigate complex legal actions like filing a Motion to Suppress evidence. Contact Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Three Things to Know About Receiving Stolen Property

Law enforcement in Massachusetts recently arrested two men after the couple allegedly scammed an 85-year-old grandmother through a phone scam. The woman told law enforcement that she received a phone call from a man who said that he was her grandson’s lawyer and claimed that the grandson needed $9,000 to get out of jail. After the woman withdrew the requested amount, she placed a package in front of her house, which she believed would be picked up by a carrier.  

Shortly after, the woman received a call asking for $10,000 and also placed this money in a package. Law enforcement later began an investigation and the woman told law enforcement that she had received a third request. 

At the request of law enforcement, the woman placed a third package in front of the house and law enforcement watched as a car with New York plates approached the home.  

One man got out of the passenger seat and picked up the package. After the man got back in the vehicle and drove away, law enforcement followed. After waiting until the man got out of the vehicle, law enforcement approached the two men and later arrested them. The men have since been charged with conspiracy to receive stolen property and attempting to commit larceny by false pretense.

The Offense Involves Several Elements

To convict a person of receiving stolen property, the prosecution must satisfy several elements which include showing that:

  • The person purchased, received, or assisted in concealing stolen property. This means that at some point the person being convicted must have actually, constructively, or jointly possessed the item.

  • The goods must have been stolen. 

  • The person being charged must have known the goods were stolen. A subjective test involving the evaluation of circumstantial evidence is used to determine whether the person being charged knew the goods were stolen.

Available Defenses to Theft

Several defenses can be raised in response to receiving stolen property. Some of these defenses include:

  • A strong defense can be made if the person being charged was not aware that the goods were stolen. This often requires purchasing something at a price much lower than market value.

  • Another strong defense exists if the person being charged can establish that the property was either on the individual’s person or in their premises. If doubt about ownership can be raised, a party can create a strong argument against a conviction.

  • If a person can establish that they intended to return stolen property to the rightful owner, the prosecution will lack the necessary criminal intent to establish a conviction.

A Conviction Can Impact a Person’s Immigration Status

Being convicted of receiving stolen property can impact various parts of a person’s life. If a person is not a US citizen, the individual can end up facing serious immigration consequences, which include deportation or difficulty entering the country in the future. 

Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

Regardless of the criminal charges that you face, one of the best steps that you can take is to speak with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Do not hesitate to contact Edward Molari today. Attorney Edward R Molari has helped many people who have faced similar charges and will remain committed to fighting for the results you deserve.

 

Defending Against SIM Swapping Charges

Law enforcement has recently arrested two men and charged them with plotting to steal half a million dollars through the swapping of SIM cards. As a result of the arrest, two men were charged with 11 counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, computer fraud and abuse, and aggravated identity theft. The men who were arrested allegedly targeted executives of cryptocurrency businesses as well as individuals who held a substantial amount of cryptocurrency and those who had high-value social media account names. 

Both men conspired to hack into and take over the accounts of at least 10 individuals throughout the country. These efforts would have resulted in more than $55,000 in cryptocurrency being stolen. 

What SIM Cards do

Subscriber identity modules (SIM) cards are responsible for storing user data on cellular phones on the Global System for Mobile (GSM) network. Cell phone providers rely on these networks to provide cell phone service to subscribers, which authenticate cellphone subscriptions. 

Without a SIM card, GSM-based phones are not able to connect to the cell phone carrier telecommunications networks. In addition to being essential to access these networks, SIM cards are also able to identify phone users. 

What Constitutes SIM Swapping?

SIM swapping is currently one of the most popular types of theft. The technique allows criminals to convince a victim’s cell phone carrier to reassign a phone number from a SIM card found inside a stolen device to the SIM card inside of a phone controlled by the person committing the offense. 

The perpetrator then poses as the victim with an online account provider and requests the receipt of the account password reset links or authentication codes to the compromised device. As a result, the offender can reset the victim’s login information and hack that person’s account. 

Defenses to SIM Swapping

SIM swapping is a fairly new criminal offense and as a result, can be difficult to track and even more challenging for prosecution to prove. An experienced criminal defense attorney understands how theft offenses occur in the digital world and can help review the facts of your case to create a strong strategy. Some of the most common defenses that we can help you raise in response to these charges include:

  • A user was authorized to use the SIM card and no theft occurred.

  • Entrapment. Entrapment occurs when law enforcement or government agents induce a person to commit an offense that was not contemplated by the individual to bring charges against the individual.

  • Establishing that someone else is responsible for committing the offense.

  • Law enforcement seized evidence of the offense without a warrant or any one of the warrant exceptions applying

  • The statute of limitations for committing the offense has expired

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Regardless of the type of theft offense with which you are charged, one of the best steps that you can take if you face charges is to retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

 

Responding to Charges of Sexual Conduct for a Fee

Four individuals in Watertown were recently arrested at four different massage parlors and spas. All of the individuals are reportedly now facing charges related to sexual conduct for a fee. The arrests come after Watertown Police Department teamed up with the FBI’s child exploitation and human trafficking task force to perform an investigation of the massage parlors. The operation was focused on identifying establishments that fail to comply with local, federal, and state regulations. 

Law enforcement did not find any evidence of human trafficking at any of the establishments. It is important, however, if you have been charged with sexual conduct for a fee, to understand exactly what this offense includes. It also helps to retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

What Constitutes Sexual Conduct for a Fee in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has made it a criminal offense to pay money to someone in exchange for sexual favors. It is similarly against the law to perform a sex act on someone in exchange for money. To convict a person of this offense, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must establish two elements:

  • The person being charged engaged or agreed to engage in sexual conduct with another individual. This sexual conduct can include a variety of sexual acts instead of just intercourse. 

  • It also must be established that the act was done in exchange for a fee. 

Over the years as technology has developed and the market for sexual services has grown substantially online, the offense of sexual conduct for a fee has increased substantially. As would be expected, law enforcement has created several strategies to follow individuals who violate this law. In many cases, a person’s digital files often play a critical role in the case. 

To navigate these complex evidence issues, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is often vital. The rise in the number of massage parlors throughout the Commonwealth has also led to a substantial increase in the number of these charges made. These locations are often the focus of undercover stings.

Defenses to Charges of Sexual Conduct for a Fee

Based on the facts of your case, there can be one or several defenses to raise in response to these charges, which include: 

  • Someone else who looked like you is the person who committed the crime, and you have been charged as a result of mistaken identity. 

  • You were in a different location at the time the offense occurred and numerous witnesses can attest to this.

  • No money or fee was exchanged for the sexual service.

  • The person accusing you of the offense has malicious intentions or an ulterior motive.

Speak with a Sex Crime Defense Lawyer Today

One of the best ways to respond to sex charges in Massachusetts is to retain the assistance of an experienced attorney like Edward Molari. Attorney Molari understands what is at stake with these charges and will work tirelessly to make sure that you have the strongest defense possible. Contact his office today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Alcohol-Related Criminal Offenses in Massachusetts

Law enforcement in Berlin recently arrested a man who was illegally transporting more than $36,000 of alcohol on Interstate 495. Law enforcement who arrested the man claimed that the driver’s vehicle had a failed inspection sticker and was swerving. Additional photos show boxes of liquor stacked to the roof inside of the vehicle. The man was later arrested for transporting more than $36,000 of liquor. The driver was later charged with unlawful transport of liquor, marked lane violations, and operating a motor vehicle with a failed inspection. 

While many of us are familiar with Massachusetts operating under the influence (OUI) laws, there are several other alcohol-related laws in Massachusetts about which drivers must be mindful. The following briefly reviews these rules so Massachusetts drivers can be mindful of avoiding unforeseen complications while driving.

Transporting Alcohol

In Massachusetts, it is against the law to transport more than three gallons of any alcoholic beverage or one gallon of alcohol if a person does not have a permit. Similarly, it is against the law to transport more than 20 gallons of malt beverage (or seven 30 packs of beer). In most cases in which people are arrested for this offense, they are attempting to purchase alcohol in a state without liquor tax then transport the liquor across the borderline and illegally resell it. Being convicted of this offense can result in a fine of up to $2,500 or up to six months in prison. 

This law, however, only applies to individuals who are 21 years of age or older. If you are under the age of 21 and there is alcohol anywhere in your vehicle, you can face serious consequences. Additionally, minors who are caught unloading alcohol from vehicles can also face penalties. 

The best way to avoid being charged with these offenses is for individuals under the age of 21 to avoid drinking or transporting alcohol. Similarly, all individuals in Massachusetts should avoid transporting alcohol in large quantities.

Open Container Laws

It is against the law to have an open container of alcohol in any vehicle in Massachusetts. It is similarly against the law to transport alcohol containers with broken seals. These laws apply even if everyone in a vehicle is at least 21 years of age. Potential penalties for violating this regulation include up to $500 in fines. 

Keg Regulations

There are various local laws in Massachusetts regarding the use or possession of kegs. For example, an application for a keg license must be filed with the Amherst Police Department at least five days before an event, or risk facing fines. To avoid these complications, it is a wise idea to research local laws before purchasing a keg.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are many alcohol-related criminal offenses in Massachusetts, and conviction of these offenses carries several complications including fines and potential imprisonment. One of the best ways to respond to these charges is to retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact criminal defense attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

 

Defending Against Armed Robbery Charges

A man in Canton was recently arrested after law enforcement claimed that he robbed a CVS with an AIDS-filled syringe. The Canton Police Department soon responded to the scene, where they informed by a store clerk that a man had robbed the store with a syringe filled with the AIDS virus. 

The robber was later seen in a nearby parking lot. When law enforcement approached the man, he ran from the scene. Law enforcement eventually caught him at a nearby gas station and subdued him with a Taser. An investigation is still ongoing, but the man has since been charged with armed robbery.

If you or a loved one faces a charge of armed robbery, it is important to understand that this is classified as a serious criminal offense in Massachusetts and the penalties can be harsh. There are, however, several ways to defend against armed robbery charges. The best defense begins with an understanding of how these charges are made.

The Elements of a Massachusetts Armed Robbery Charge

To be convicted of armed robbery, four elements must be satisfied:

  • The defendant must have been in possession of or threatened to use a deadly weapon. While this often includes guns and knives, it can also include more unusual things like a syringe full of the AIDS virus. The actual weapon need not be used during the robbery, but the threat of a weapon is sufficient. 

  • The victim must have been physically hurt or the defendant’s threat of harm must have made the victim fearful of being harmed. 

  • The defendant must have taken the victim’s property or the prosecution must show that the victim intended to steal the property. 

  • The defendant must have taken the property against the victim’s will.

If a person is convicted of armed robbery, there is the potential that he or she could end up spending life in prison. At a minimum, a person convicted of armed robbery in Massachusetts can receive a sentence of five years in prison.

Ways to Defend Against Armed Robbery Charges

There are fortunately several grounds on which to base a strong-armed robbery defense. Some of these defenses include:

  • Arguing that the prosecution has failed to prove every element of the criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution can meet this standard, the robbery charges must be dropped. 

  • Sometimes, it is possible to argue that law enforcement arrested an individual based on instinct rather than probable cause. There must be evidence that the individual committed the criminal offense for an arrest to occur. 

  • One of the most common ways to get a charge dropped is arguing that law enforcement performed an unlawful search or seizure. If an individual is charged with armed robbery because of evidence that was illegally obtained, a Fourth Amendment argument can be used.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Armed robbery is a serious crime in Massachusetts and results in substantial penalties. As a result, it is critical to retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to respond to these charges. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free initial case evaluation.

Understanding Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

Law enforcement in Peabody recently arrested two men and seized illegal marijuana products. Photos posted on the department’s Facebook page later revealed boxes full of marijuana-laced Wonka bars, Nerds Ropes, and other candy. The candy is believed to have a street value of $1.2 million. The two men were arrested after neighbors assisted in the investigation. Following the arrest, Peabody law enforcement commented that the illegal drug black market in the state is still viable. 

The bust comes as police departments nationwide have warned parents to be “vigilant” about their children’s Halloween candy. Police in Pennsylvania earlier this month seized bags of Nerds Ropes containing THC.

In November 2016, voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot that put an end to marijuana prohibitions for adults who are 21 and older. While this law made it legal for an adult in the state to grow and possess Cannabis, there still complexities to these laws. The following will review some of the most important things to remember about Massachusetts marijuana law so you can avoid facing prosecution. 

Marijuana Laws Must be Followed in Massachusetts

Some of the important regulations that you must remember to follow in Massachusetts regarding marijuana include:

  • You must be 21 or older to purchase and use marijuana even though there are medical exceptions to this law.

  • You need not be a resident of Massachusetts to purchase and use marijuana in the state. Instead, all that a person needs is a government ID.

  • A person cannot use marijuana of any type on either federal or public land.

  • A person is allowed to have up to one ounce of cannabis on them and no more than 10 ounces of marijuana in their home.

  • A person can grow no more than six marijuana plants in their home. If two or more individuals reside in a home, they are allowed to grow up to 12 plants.

  • If there is more than one ounce of marijuana in your home, it must be locked up so children and pets are kept safe. 

  • While transporting marijuana in a vehicle, the marijuana must be stored in a closed container in the trunk or a locked glove compartment.

  • It is against the law to have an open container of marijuana in any form in the passenger area of a vehicle while on the road or in a location where it can be accessed by the public. 

  • Employers, landlords, and towns throughout Massachusetts are permitted to have their own policies concerning the use of marijuana. 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with a violation of a marijuana violation in Massachusetts, you can end up facing serious consequences. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like Edward R Molari in these situations. 

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