Worcester Criminal Defense Law Blog

Controversial billboard sparks drug use debate in Maryland

For those who don't work within or who have not been somehow ensnared in the legal system, it can be hard to realize that behind every arrest, every case number, there is a person. That person who has been arrested and perhaps found guilty of drug crimes has a story, family, possible medical condition and possible addiction. 

Drug use and addiction is a sensitive matter. Many people have been affected by addiction during their lives, likely having known and loved someone who has battled substance abuse. A billboard recently displayed but then taken down in Maryland serves as a reminder that drug cases are complex. They can be personal. They can turn tragic. 

What to do if you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI

No one wants to see the flashing lights of a police car in their rearview mirrors. It's easy to panic when you are pulled over and a police officer suspects you of drunk driving. But you do have rights during a traffic stop. Remembering them, and remaining calm, might be the key to keeping an already tense situation from escalating.

If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, here are four things you should do:

Will legislation increasing punishment for police assault move forward?

Earlier this week, the Legislature's Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine a bill recently filed by Governor Charlie Baker, as well as a companion bill filed by Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn), that would greatly increase the penalties for committing an assault and battery upon a police officer.

Consideration of the bills in question, which were filed last month following the fatal shooting of an officer with the Auburn Police Department during a routine traffic stop, come at an incredibly difficult time for our state and the nation as a whole.

Violate probation (unknowingly), go to jail?

The complications in life can result in a person's legal trouble. And then, the law is complicated in itself. When someone is charged with a criminal offense in Massachusetts, it is a common goal for them to try to avoid serving any jail time. In many cases, that goal is achieved. 

But freedom might be just a mistake away from being taken from you.

More people will lose gun rights due to Supreme Court ruling

Our criminal defense lawyers have consistently stressed the importance of domestic violence suspects acting swiftly to defend themselves. A conviction in Massachusetts has a severe impact on a person's rights. Now, there is even further evidence supporting the importance of working with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if accused of domestic abuse.

The Supreme Court of the United States just ruled on the matter of domestic violence cases and citizens' rights to own a firearm. To put it simply, the right to own a firearm is more restricted than ever. A relatively minor domestic violence conviction can lose you your right to possess a gun.

What are the common types of field sobriety tests?

Although drivers are aware that it is unlawful to drink in excess and then drive, there are several scenarios that might put someone on the road when they shouldn't be. You might think you will be fine based on the number of drinks you have had, only to find that those drinks were mixed a bit stronger than you were used to. This can put you over or near the .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. You might find yourself getting pulled over and asked to take a field sobriety test.

Supreme Court ruling leaves many with fewer rights

Criminal defense lawyers know that it isn't crazy for someone on the streets to not know that there is a warrant out for their arrest. Do you know for sure that the authorities don't have a warrant out on you?

It doesn't take a violent crime to lead to an arrest warrant. Something as simple and common as a traffic violation or parking ticket could lead to the existence of a warrant. The commonness of outstanding warrants is important to note, as it makes a recent Supreme Court decision quite controversial.

As nation talks gun laws, let's talk Massachusetts gun laws

The recent mass shooting in Orlando weighs heavily on everyone's minds and hearts. That tragic case of violence has people from Florida, to Massachusetts, to all over the U.S. and beyond debating gun laws. A nagging question is whether stricter gun laws could have prevented the loss of 49 lives. 

While many U.S. residents are quick and able to identify the second amendment and what it provides, fewer might be able to identify their own state's specific gun laws. Such laws generally vary widely from state to state -- a reality that some gun control advocates believe results in ineffective gun control. 

Should you take a field sobriety test?

We hope our readers had a fun and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. But as we near the Independence Day holiday weekend approaches, it is important to explore the question of whether drivers stopped on suspicion of drunk driving should take field sobriety tests.

Many people unwittingly submit to the tests, which may include the "walk and turn," "one-leg stand," and "horizontal gaze nystagamus." Most people believe that they do not want to upset the police by refusing or they can prove that they are okay to drive, only to give officers the evidence they need to make their case. Police will often insist that the driver submit to a portable breathalyzer test (PBT), which police state is just another field sobriety test. Your preformance on any of the requested tests is commonly what the police will claim is suffient evidence to make an arrest. A safe bet is to always err on side of caution and do not provide evidence that will only be used against you.  Politely decline to do any test, or answer any questions relative to consumption thereby protecting your rights not to incriminate yourself.

Expunge your DUI to free yourself from the burden

The toll a DUI takes on a person convicted of such an offense goes far beyond the legal consequences of the individual charge. Yes, the potential jail time, license suspension and fines associated with the charge are very serious and can really affect a person's livelihood and well-being. But the long term effects of a DUI go beyond those specific legal consequences.

For example, someone who has a DUI on their record may find it difficult to find a new place to live. Landlords may turn them down when they perform a background check and see a drunk driving offense on there. Similarly, it can be difficult to find a new job -- or even keep the job you have, depending on the job and the circumstances.

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