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Worcester Criminal Defense Law Blog

'Just a parking ticket' can become something worse

Getting a parking ticket is annoying. It can be embarrassing. Worse, it can wind up costing a great deal of money. If you think you didn't deserve the citation, you can appeal to the city. Regardless, the last thing a driver might expect is that a parking violation could result in serious criminal charges.

It can, however, as one recent item in the news attests. From the legal perspective, the key thing to learn from this event may be that any encounter with police has potential to create situations that require a more robust defense of your individual rights than is available through worcesterma.gov.

What are the statute of limitations here in Massachusetts?

Many movies and television shows refer to the statute of limitation. However, do people really know what it means and how it is applied? Legally speaking, the statute of limitation is a law that limits prosecutors to charging the defendant within a certain window of time. Not all crimes fall under statute of limitation and length of the period will vary based on the alleged crime.

Why do we have this law?

Should crime deserve a punishment

The foundation of our criminal justice system is that punishment should be doled out to those who commit a crime. The assumption is that the defendant made a poor choice in committing that crime and therefore needs to be deprived of their freedom to choose.

Now a psychologist challenges this paradigm. In a recently published article, he points out that 85 percent of those released from prison are arrested again, and these are only the people who are caught committing a crime. He goes on to call the $1 trillion tough on crime initiative a failure.

Prescription drugs that can lead to legal problems

Even if you're the type of person who tries to maintain a natural lifestyle regarding what type of food you consume and other products that enter your body, it would not be surprising if, at some point, you felt the need to take a prescription medication to help treat a particular health condition. For instance, if you are recovering from a car accident, you may need a strong pain medication to help alleviate discomfort.  

Massachusetts doctors and others write tens of thousands of prescriptions every year to help their patients deal with various adverse health situations -- some physical and others related to mental health. The problem is that some of the most common prescription drugs doctors recommend are highly prone to addiction and are often involved in various legal problems that can arise through misuse as well. If prescription drugs are causing problems in your life, it is good to know where to seek support.  

What is legal with a OUI checkpoint in Massachusetts?

Law enforcement seems to set up DUI and OUI checkpoints here in Worcester every two to three weeks to catch drivers over the legal limit for drugs or alcohol. However, with the recent dismissal of a case in Tennessee because there was no public notice of the roadblock, it is a good idea to examine the laws here in Massachusetts.

Law enforcement is entitled to pull over drivers who drive erratically. As of now, stopping a vehicle at a checkpoint is considered a warrant-less seizure and the driver is protected under the laws of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.

Federal judge rules deputy cannot pull over someone for obscene gesture

A Virginia man will see his case go to trial after he flipped the bird to a Patrick County deputy. A federal judge recently determined that the deputy had no business pulling over the man in 2016 when he was an occupant in a car driven by his sister.

Well known to the local law enforcement and judicial community for an anti-authority streak, the man had been prohibited from entering the local courthouse clerk's office without legal representation. On this day, he waited outside while his sister and a friend filed papers for him on an unrelated case. He then flipped off the deputy, who had been following the car after they left the clerk's office.

Opioid epidemic still rages in Worcester

The national opioid epidemic has not overlooked the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, there has been some good news for the state: according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the number of fatal overdoses has gone down an estimated 10 percent in 2017. Worcester bucks the trend

Unfortunately, those numbers do not apply to Worcester, where the number of overdoses and fatal overdoses has remained stubbornly close to recent years. Moreover, according to one local news report, the number of local 911 calls for overdoses looks to surpass last year with over 600 in the first half of the year.

Driving under the influence of pot still a subjective call

Driving under the influence of marijuana -- or any other controlled substance -- is illegal even if recreational pot use is now okay in Massachusetts. However, while protocols for measuring the blood alcohol content is well establish through a variety of tests in the field and at the station, this is not the case for marijuana.

Law enforcement still does not have standardized the testing for cannabis or a level of impairment. Nor can it, according to the state's Supreme Court, use subjective tests in the field or devices for accurately determining a level of impairment.

False accusations of domestic abuse could leave you reeling

You may have found yourself in a relationship with someone that you thought you could spend the rest of your life with. However, after getting married, you found that the person you loved now seems completely different. You are not sure what triggered the change, but you now wonder how you could ever have fallen for your spouse.

As a result, you may have told your spouse how you did not feel that it was a good idea to continue the relationship. While you may have expected the next steps to involve filing for divorce, you may find yourself in a more serious situation when charges of domestic violence are suddenly brought against you.

Drug sniffing dogs outside an apartment is legal

Law enforcement officials got a tip in 2015 that a Minnesota man was dealing meth out of his apartment in the suburbs north of Minneapolis. The police brought a drug-sniffing dog to his front door. Without entering, the dog alerted police that there were drugs inside. The officers then got a warrant and arrested the occupant for possession of drugs and a weapon.

A man's apartment is not his castle

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