Worcester Criminal Defense Law Blog

A patch and a smartphone could cut down on drunk driving

People in Massachusetts and across the country could one day be using their smartphones to tell them when they are too drunk to drive. A system is under development that involves a smartphone app paired with a wearable device that detects blood alcohol content through perspiration.

The device looks like a temporary tattoo, according to the director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which is funding its development. Engineers at the University of California, San Diego created the biosensor patch, which releases a chemical that stimulates perspiration under the skin, and then measures the alcohol content in the perspiration. The plan is for wearers of the device to pair it with a Bluetooth smartphone so that the phone can send an alert message if their alcohol level is unsafe for driving.

Report reveals harsh sentencing in drug possession cases

Massachusetts residents may be interested in the contents of a report from the American Civil Liberties Union that has found that people with relatively low-level drug offenses may still be facing lengthy sentences. According to the ACLU, decades of imprisoning people for drug use and possession has not caused the rate of drug use to decline, and the organization recommends harm reduction, decriminalization and education over charging people with felonies.

The report uncovered a number of problems within the system. Due to prosecutors aggressively pursuing plea bargains, some people might be wrongly imprisoned, or people with only very small amounts of drugs may receive long prison sentences. People may agree to plea bargains because they are facing the harshest charges, but they might still end up with severe penalties even after the agreement.

Failing field sobriety tests when sober

Is it possible to fail a field sobriety test if you are sober? Unfortunately, these tests are unreliable and it is indeed possible to fail them when you're sober. If you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, you may be asked by a police officer to complete one or more of these tests. By law, you can refuse to take any sobriety test except a breathalyzer -- and you should.

A prosecutor's obligation to reveal evidence

People in Massachusetts may not be aware of a law regarding criminal cases that is sometimes known as the Brady rule. According to this rule, a prosecutor must inform the defense if evidence is discovered that is favorable and material to the defense's case. However, many prosecutors fail to do this. They often claim that they were unaware or they did not think the evidence was important.

For example, a man was convicted of robbery, but several months later, a prosecutor working on an appeal found a mug shot of him in the previous prosecutor's file. It was taken two days before the robbery and showed that the defendant's hair was short. However, the robbery had allegedly been committed by a man with dreadlocks.

Patch to deter drunk driving may soon hit the market

Massachusetts motorists who enjoy an evening out with friends but who are also concerned about the potentially devastating effects of drinking and driving may soon reap the benefit of one company's bid to end alcohol intoxication behind the wheel. In connection with a mission to solve problems that exist in communities scattered across the globe, DERMATEC, a start-up out of Albuquerque has developed an alcohol detection patch that could ultimately reduce the number of DUI-related injuries and deaths.

The product has been named ONUSBlue in recognition that it's "on us" to put an end to drunk driving. Although New Mexico has one of the nation's highest rates of DUI occurrences per capita, product developers say that an effective way of solving the problem has not really been addressed until now.

New saliva test for THC developed

Law enforcement in Massachusetts may have a new tool that detects THC levels in saliva as well as identifies drugs such as cocaine, heroin and morphine. Although the device, developed by researchers at Stanford University, still needs to be tested and approved by regulators, scientists say it can successfully detect molecules of THC using a simple roadside spit test. The same method can be used to detect molecules belonging to other drugs as well.

Police face two obstacles in enforcing laws against the use of marijuana while driving. One is that some states do not have a maximum permitted limit for THC. The other is that there is not a quick test that can quickly check for the presence of THC in the same way that a Breathalyzer can measure blood alcohol. Usually, a blood or urine test must be sent to a lab so that it can be checked for THC, which presents a problem for police making a traffic stop.

Effects of parental rules on alcohol use

Massachusetts parents may be interested to learn about a study that found that parental rules about drinking had an effect on how likely a child was to drink. The study looked at more than 1,000 people between the ages of 15 and 20 in 24 different cities. Participants were asked to report on their attendance at parties and alcohol consumption as well as their family's rules about drinking.

Around 60 percent of participants had attended a party in the last month where alcohol was served. However, the ones who came from families with clear rules against drinking were 38 percent less likely to imbibe at those parties compared to people whose families did not have these rules. Almost 60 percent of the teens in the study said their families had rules about alcohol use.

Obama grants clemency to 111 nonviolent drug offenders

Massachusetts residents may have heard that President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 111 federal inmates on Aug. 30. The individuals had been convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

According to White House Counsel Neil Eggleston, the commutations highlight Obama's commitment to giving second chances to prisoners he believes received unnecessarily harsh sentences under "outdated" drug laws. The president has called for an end to excessive punishments for nonviolent drug crimes. Earlier in August, he granted clemency to 214 federal prisoners, bringing the monthly total to 325. That is the highest number of commutations ever granted by a president in a single month.

Fast facts about pleading nolo contendere for DUI/OUI

Getting pulled over for DUI/OUI is serious business in Massachusetts. You will face penalties in both the court system and from the Registry of Motor Vehicles and it is a major disruption in the life of those who are charged. Rather than fight the case in court, which may stretch out for months, a majority of the defendants in Massachusetts opt to work out a plea deal in hopes of reducing the sentence, lowering the penalty and/or simply trying to put this unpleasantness behind them and get their license back.

According to the Massachusetts court system criminal procedure, a defendant may plead guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere, which is a Latin-based legal term that means "I do not wish to contest." It can also be referred to as a plea of "no contest."

What are considered property crimes?

If someone is charged with a DUI, or assault, or drug charge, it is basically clear what authorities claim to have occurred: drunk driving, injury, and drugs. But what about someone who is accused of a property crime? It is a more vague classification of an offense.

There are various types of property crimes. They vary greatly from the type of property crime to the severity of the alleged offense. FindLaw notes that a property crime can be relatively minor but another can be considered a high-level felony. The following are the basic kinds of property crimes:

Don’t Go In The Ring Without Us

Call Today 866-678-4732
Live 24/7

Contact Us

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Download our free mobile app
BAC Calculator -
Know Your Rights Hot Button
along with 24/7 LIVE One Click Calling

IOS itunesAndroid Android

Store My Number Now in Your Contact List


The sooner you call, the sooner we can help!

Contact Our Firm Today

Phone: 508-795-1200
Fax: 508-795-1333
E-Mail Anthony Salerno

Office Location
306 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Worcester Law Office Map

FindLaw Network

LIVE 24/7