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Only $250 separates misdemeanor theft from felony

The laws in Massachusetts regarding misdemeanor vs. felony theft are quite different than in the rest of the United States. Nearly every state in the country has a dollar threshold for theft. Stealing property that is valued under the threshold is charged as a misdemeanor, while stealing property over that value is a felony. Massachusetts is the same as other states in this regard, but its threshold for felony theft is much lower than other states’. In our state, stealing property that is valued over $250 is considered a felony.

At first glance, this may sound like a high amount. Under closer scrutiny, however, it is quite low. There are only two other states in the country that have a lower felony threshold. Most states have a much higher limit—around $1,000. Some lawmakers have proposed setting a higher felony threshold for Massachusetts. Others warn against it.

Do I have to participate in field sobriety testing?

If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Massachusetts, you'll likely be asked to participate in some tests to check for impairment. Called field sobriety tests, these tests check for both physical ability and mental concentration. A person under the influence of an impairing substance often lacks these things.

There are three types of standard field sobriety tests. What are they? Do I have to participate if asked?

Do you know the 4 exceptions to the Miranda Rule?

Most people have never heard of the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, but almost everyone has heard the famous words that resulted from it. After the Supreme Court heard the case, it issued the ruling that any person who is detained for custodial interrogation must be read a set of rights. Can you guess what they are?

You have the right to remain silent;

Could 2017 be a record low for crime?

The news seems to feature a new, horrifying incident of violence every day. Whether you get your news from the television, a newspaper or your Facebook feed, you may be under the impression that violent crime is increasing. As it turns out, this impression is very much incorrect.

A new study has been released on the prevalence of violent crime in the United States. The data from this study predicts a decrease in 2017’s overall crime rate. If this trend holds through the end of the year, then 2017 will have the second-lowest rate of crime in over 25 years.

Don’t let an underage OUI ruin your teenager’s holiday

The holiday season is here, but that’s not necessarily a reason to celebrate if you have a teenage child. That’s because the season is one of the most dangerous of the year for drunk drivers—and, though it can be difficult for parents to face, some of those drunk drivers are teenagers.

In Massachusetts, anyone under the age of 21 who drives with a blood alcohol content of 0.02 or higher can be charged with operating under the influence. That's even worse than a lump of coal in your stocking. To prevent an OUI charge from ruining your holiday, follow these tips to prevent your minor from drinking and driving.

The top 5 crimes that increase around the holiday season

If the constant barrage of Christmas music has not informed you, the holiday season is just around the corner. For most people, this time of year is associated with gift-giving, family and celebrations. Hardly anyone associates the season with crime. But a little-known fact is that crime rates tend to spike during Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's Day. In this post, we'll go over five of the most common crimes that go up during the holidays.

When a night out turns into a fight, what should you do?

You’re out with your friends, having some drinks at a bar. It’s getting later and later, and you’re knocking back a few more beverages. So are the people around you, and the atmosphere is getting rowdy. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you are in an altercation with another patron. The situation escalates into physical blows—and that’s when you see the flashing lights of the police car.

A fun night out with friends has somehow evolved into a fight… and you could be facing criminal charges. In a situation like this, what should you do?

Implied consent doesn't mean you can't challenge a breath test

When you obtained a Massachusetts driver's license, you consented to submit to a breath test if requested by a member of law enforcement. If you refuse, you could face consequences, such as a suspended driver's license. Whether you decide to submit to the test is a personal decision, but you should know that you have options.

The implied consent law doesn't preclude you from challenging the results of the breath test if it showed that you were intoxicated. Those readings provided the officer who administered the test with probable cause to arrest you. What you may not know is that breath-testing machines don't always provide accurate results.

What to know about plea bargains

Thousands of criminal cases go through the United States criminal justice system every year. If you are a defendant in one of these cases, you have a few options when it comes to entering your plea. You could plead not guilty, proceeding to trial and hoping to successfully defend your case. You could plead guilty, thereby avoiding a trial but possibly receiving a harsh sentence.

There is a third option that you may not know about: You could enter a plea bargain.

What are some common theft defenses?

Being charged with a crime is never pleasant. Neither is going to court. If you have been charged with theft, a trial may very well be in your future. If you are convicted, you could face serious legal consequences that affect you for a long time.

Still, it is possible to defend against criminal charges of theft. The right legal defense can be a powerful weapon in your corner. Even if the evidence points against you, the right strategy could help you and your attorney defend your case. Here are some common types of theft defenses:

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Anthony M. Salerno, P.C.
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