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When juveniles end up in adult court for crimes committed

Vandalism is widely considered the most common crime committed by juveniles in Massachusetts. According to FindLaw, vandalism occurs when someone unlawfully changes, defaces or destroys property. Graffiti, keying cars, slashing tires and breaking windows are just some of the many unlawful activities that fall under this heading. In these instances, unless the property destroyed is of priceless or historical value, people tend to agree that juvenile courts are best to try these cases.

When the charge is violent crimes, such as rape or murder, the lines are more blurred. The New York Times points out that juvenile defendants rarely get tried as adults. However, exceptions may be made in instances where the crime was violent, horrific or expertly planned out. The NY Times references one case where a teenager shot both her parents with a rifle and attempted to pin the crime on a home intruder as one such example.

Opioid-related crashes an increasing concern

The United States is in the grips of a full-fledged opioid epidemic. Opioid overdoses killed 47,600 people in 2017. That’s a 250 percent increase from 2007, and that number is on the rise. The epidemic has hit Massachusetts particularly hard, with opioid-related deaths in the state towering above the national average.

But opioids don’t only kill those who abuse them, drivers impaired by opioids are a danger on our roadways.

Bullying is a public health concern

As the most populous state in the New England region, Massachusetts’ culture is strongly influenced by human interactions. Unfortunately, not all of these interactions are pleasant or fruitful. From kindergarten to college to the workplace to online media and even at home, bullying is a serious problem. In fact, CNN believes it is now a public health concern all across America.

Suicide is one of the most heartbreaking results from bullying, but it is not the only effect. In fact, there are many other mental health problems that may or may not result in this final act. These include depression, anxiety and substance abuse. For people who are bullied as kids or teens, this may even follow them into adulthood.

Mobile phones are a gold mind for fraud

Whether the owners of the mobile phones are the perpetrators or the victims, smart phones are becoming more and more involved in crimes at alarming rates. Theft by fraud is one of the main ways smart phones become involved in criminal activities in Massachusetts. Forbes estimates that 65% of fraudulent transactions in America now take place via cell phones. Phishing is one of the main threats affecting mobile phone users at this time.

Virtual assistants may also put consumers at risk. As more people trust Google Home and Alexa with their payment details, that data now becomes accessible online to the person with the skills to find it. After all, not all home networks are properly encrypted to keep intruders out, and company-wide data breeches seem to happen all the time.

Can I get a DUI on a golf cart?

As the weather in Massachusetts is finally clearing up, many people are gearing up to play sports outdoors, including golf. You may be one of many who is excited to practice shooting your hole-in-ones or even just to enjoy the ease that comes with riding a golf cart against a gentle breeze.

As you head out for your day of fun with friends, it is still important to consider how you can avoid facing unnecessary trouble. Golf carts may seem to serve no greater purpose than short-distance transportation and joy rides, however, it is still possible to get charged with a DUI while operating one. The state of Massachusetts considers golf carts to be vehicles. Those who knowingly get behind the wheel of a golf cart after a few drinks risk being accused of negligent driving, which may lead to a DUI charge.

Challenging illegal vehicle search and seizure

Possession of illegal or controlled substances in Massachusetts can have severe repercussions. If law enforcement stopped you and a vehicle search resulted in drug charges, the impetus for the search could have significant ramifications for your defense. At Anthony M. Salerno, P.C. we have experienced attorneys who can help protect your rights.

According to FindLaw, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure. However, “unreasonable” is a relative term, blurring the line between lawful and unlawful vehicle searches. A legal search can occur under the following circumstances:

  • Law enforcement has reason to suspect incriminating evidence in your car
  • You have been arrested
  • Officers believe searching the vehicle is necessary for their protection
  • You consent to the search

Former convicts deserve a fresh start

After serving jail or prison time in Massachusetts, there are often few opportunities for former convicts. All across America, their work opportunities are stifled by personal biases and 30,000 license restrictions. According to Forbes, these restrictions actually do more harm than good for the public.

Keep in mind that having a criminal record is no rarity in America. Roughly one-third of Americans have been convicted of a crime before, and anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of these could not find work within a year of their release. Employers simply do not want to hire people with criminal records, and even a misdemeanor from years prior can follow a person for life. This may increase the likelihood of committing another offense to make a living, causing many to end up right back in prison.

Intent determines the severity of vandalism charges

Stiff penalties come with vandalism crimes in Massachusetts. Individuals found guilty may face a misdemeanor or felony conviction.

According to FindLaw, vandalism refers to the destruction or unlawful damage of an individual’s property. Malicious damage covers a range of offenses from graffiti and tire slashing to defacing murals. The charges and penalties that result depend on the vandal’s state of mind. If the court finds the vandalism had willful and malicious intent to do harm, the guilty party may receive a felony conviction. However, a reckless action without ill intention can result in misdemeanor charges.

Does Uber really prevent drunk driving?

Uber often claims that its services help to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road. If you have spent a late night out on the town in Massachusetts and had a few drinks, you probably have taken Uber home instead of driving. However, a new study shows that while this helped to prevent you from drunk driving, Uber has no overall effect on drunk driving fatalities.

According to a CNN report, cities where Uber was a popular mode of transportation saw no decrease in drunk driving fatalities. To come to this conclusion, researchers selected 100 cities in America with the highest population counts and studied drunk driving data between 2009 and 2014 for these areas. Not only did Uber not reduce drunk driving at the most likely times, such as on the weekends, but it had no effect overall.

Massachusetts jurors can let beliefs inform judgement

Every judge has a set of criteria to uses to measure whether an individual would make a good juror in a case. At the top of the list is that person's ability to have an open mind as evidence is presented. However, some look a little further, also expecting that a juror's beliefs, worldviews or opinions should not inform their decision-making process for the case.

Now Massachusetts Justice Kimberly has written a decision that refutes this latter assertion. In part, it reads: "Asking a prospective juror to put aside his or her preconceived notions about the case to be tried is entirely appropriate (and indeed necessary); however, asking him or her to put aside opinions formed based on his or her life experiences or belief system is not."

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