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Worcester Criminal Defense Law Blog

Shifted views about marijuana don't end in shifted classification

Earlier this month, Massachusetts added another medical marijuana dispensary to its state's list when the first dispensary in Boston opened its doors. Just several days later, the U.S. government confirmed that it would not reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to something lesser. 

Well, this is confusing, isn't it? That is the state of marijuana laws in this country and has been for some time. While there is a growing acceptance of the drug -- even recreationally -- throughout the country, federal officials have fought that acceptance. The decision earlier this month suggests the fight and thus the confusion continue.

New year could usher in stricter first OUI sentencing

Years ago on our Massachusetts criminal defense blog, we wrote about the possible legislation that would require those convicted with first DUIs to have ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Back then, the proposed law didn't pass. But here we are again, discussing drunk driving and interlock devices in the state. 

The laws regarding first offense OUIs are close to changing again.

Late last month, the senate passed a bill that would make the law stricter. If the House of Representatives and the Governor approve the bill, the following will become law. Someone who is convicted of driving under the influence would be mandated to get their vehicle suited with an ignition interlock device. This possible January 2017 change would give those charged with suspicion of DUI even more reason to rely on an experienced criminal defense lawyer. 

Keep your mouth shut: why it's so important to exercise your right to remain silent

If you get pulled over or arrested, you will have to interact with the police. Many people think that cooperating with the police means telling them everything, but this can backfire. Information you provide when pulled over or arrested could be used against you. Learn what it really means to have the right to remain silent and why you should always retain an attorney.

Should police be protected under MA hate crime laws?

Tensions regarding race and violence by and to police have made it a volatile, emotional time in our history. Some of you may be personally impacted by events tied to the fights of "Black Lives Matter" and the twist on that slogan, "Blue Lives Matter." 

Massachusetts legislators are taking the recent incidents of violence against police officers seriously. Concern over the safety of police men and women has inspired some to support a bill to reclassify crimes committed against police officers as hate crimes. This suggestion does not come without disagreements.

Popularity of Internet makes life harder following arrest

No one wants to be arrested, charged with a crime, and certainly not convicted of a crime. At first thought, one might worry that getting involved in the criminal justice system looks like them sitting in a small and dirty jail cell. They might think of the freedom they would miss, the orders they'd have to follow, and maybe what their family and friends would think. 

A study into the impact criminal records have on finding employment adds another anxiety into that mix. Researchers warn that it may be harder than ever before for those who have been involved with the criminal justice system to secure a life for which they'd always hoped.

Controversial billboard sparks emotion and drug use debate

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 out of state 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.

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