Protect Your Rights Against Sex Crimes Charges
The consequences for defendants who are convicted of a sex offense in Massachusetts can be significant. In addition to a jail sentence and other criminal penalties, they may face the requirement of registering as a sex offender. This classification can adversely affect a person’s ability to find education, employment, or housing opportunities well into the future.
There is a broad range of conduct classified as sex crimes, ranging from rape and date rape to indecent assault and battery. To prove a charge of indecent assault and battery, the prosecution must show that the defendant committed an assault and battery involving indecent touching of the victim’s body without the victim’s consent, and that the victim was at least 14 years old. People convicted of this crime may be punished by up to two and a half years in the House of Corrections or up to five years in state prison. However, there are often many defenses that may be available to individuals accused of indecent assault and battery or other sex offenses. For example, they may argue that the accuser consented to the behavior, that someone else actually perpetrated the unlawful behavior, or that the accuser is bringing false allegations. Many of these cases hinge on the credibility of the defendant and other witnesses, so it is critical to enlist an attorney who can properly prepare your case.
Fighting Allegations of Domestic Assault and Battery
Massachusetts law imposes substantial penalties on a wide spectrum of conduct that involves physical harm or the threat or attempt of physical harm between members of the same household. These are defined not only as people who have blood or marriage ties but also as people who are living together, have had children together, or have merely dated at some time. Domestic assault and battery is usually charged as a misdemeanor, which can be punished by up to 30 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. The penalties may be more significant if the alleged perpetrator was under a restraining order at the time.
A defense that may be applicable to this type of charge is that the accuser called the police in a fraudulent attempt to gain an advantage in a child custody matter or another family law dispute. In other circumstances, a defendant may be able to argue that the accuser actually had consented to the conduct on which the charges were based. Sometimes the alleged assault also may be a response to the accuser’s use of force, in which case a theory of self-defense may be appropriate. Knowledgeable guidance from a legal professional can help you understand which arguments may be most relevant to your specific situation.
Mounting a Defense to Drug Charges
It is illegal to unlawfully possess, distribute, or manufacture controlled substances in Massachusetts, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and other street drugs, as well as any unauthorized prescription drugs. Depending on the drug and the circumstances of the charge, penalties can include fines, mandatory treatment programs, jail sentences, suspension of driver’s license, and probation. For example, although simple possession of marijuana of one ounce or less is subject to a $100 fine and forfeiture of the drug, an additional charge for intent to distribute any amount of marijuana can result in fines of up to $5,000 and incarceration for up to two years. Penalties may be increased for repeat offenders or in certain other situations.
Although Massachusetts drug laws can be complicated and the penalties severe, there are several defenses that may be available. Drug charges are commonly the result of a search and seizure of illegal substances by a police officer. If the officer did not have probable cause or consent to perform a search, or if it is found to be unreasonable, the evidence obtained can potentially be suppressed in court. This may lead to a reduction or even dismissal of the charges. Most recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that the smell of marijuana alone is not sufficient to justify a search of an entire vehicle to find an amount over one ounce. Remembering details of your arrest, such as these, can help provide your attorney with important information to defend against your charges.
Protecting Your Rights When Facing Prosecution for Theft or Larceny
Larceny is defined generally as the taking of the property of another without their consent and with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. In Massachusetts, there are several types of theft crimes that fall under the definition of larceny. Typically, if the value of the property is under $250, it is charged as as a misdemeanor offense, which can carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $300 fine. Theft of property valued over $250 is a felony charge, punishable by a five-year maximum prison sentence and up to a $25,000 fine, although crimes involving motor vehicles or certain types of victims or perpetrators may result in more severe penalties. Defenses to these crimes may include lack of intent to steal or consent by the property owner, among others.