Archive for the ‘Student Drinking’ category

Possession of a Fake ID – Loss Of License in Massachusetts

January 23, 2013

Every year students will find a way to get their hands on a fake ID that they can use to buy alcohol or gain access to the local nightclub or bar.  Every year the police ramp themselves up in college towns across America to find these students and charge them with Being a Minor Purchasing Alcohol and will confiscate these IDs when they make the arrest.   Others will find themselves in bars when the police enter to check IDs.  Then the problems begin. 

The wise student has in his or her possession a fake ID which actually belongs to someone else and has another picture and someone elses information on it.  They will explain to the police that they do have an id (show the correct ID to the police believe me) and they also have “found” or are in possession of someone else’s ID because they intend on returning it or some version thereof.  In my previous life as a Boston Police Officer I can assure you I have heard every variation and I can equally assure you that the local police have also.

However there are now places where those that are under 21 will go and get their own picture on an out of state license with their own information but a, somehow, mistaken birthdate that makes them 21 years of age.  These licenses, or fake IDs, will serve their purpose until such time as the police take a look at it and then you will face charges but with less of a defense in court that you were “holding it for someone else who lost it”.  

The punishment in Massachusetts is a $300 fine which most students mistakenly pay and walk out of court without mom and dad knowing anything.  The problem is that you now have a criminal record and the court will then notify the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles which will promptly send notice to your home that your Massachusetts Driver’s License is being suspended for 18o days!  Now that’s a problem to most students and others under 21 (and their parents).

Here’s the advice:

1.  Don’t have a fake ID.

2.  Assuming no one listened to #1 above then, if and when, you are arrested or summonsed to court be SMART and have an attorney with you THE FIRST TRIP TO THE COURTHOUSE to try to stop the process at the initial hearing with a fine, community service and an alcohol program (mandated by courts sorry) and head the problem off before they send notice to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.   Be aware that some police departments have policies that mandate that the officer transmit the information to the Registry when they arrest you. 

3.  If you have already been notified that your license is to be suspended then contact an attorney to appeal the ruling as you ARE ELIGIBLE TO GET A “CINDERELLA LICENSE” that will allow you to drive for twelve hours a day. 

Contact us at 617-328-6900 and we can assist you to try and prevent a criminal record and the ensuing loss of license.  We can also assist you at the Registry Hearing where the Board will decide whether you meet the requirements for a twelve hour license.  You are NOT entitled to a twelve hour license and that is where an experienced attorney can help make sure you get one granted to you.   For more information check out our website at www.rsweeneylaw.com .  Also feel free to email me at rsweeney@rsweeneylaw.com

Having the fake ID was your first mistake, using it was your second, not getting an experienced attorney involved as soon as possible will be your third.  Let us, or the attorney of your choice, help you.

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What Happens If You Get Arrested in Massachusetts

January 17, 2013

I was just arrested now what?

First, invoke your right to remain silent.  Shut up.  Do not give any confessions.  Do not give any statements.  Do not sign anything that even remotely smells like a statement or admission.  You have a constitutional right not to make a statement to the police.

Second, demand to speak to your lawyer, immediately.  You have a constitutional right to speak to your lawyer before questioning by the police, but only if you request one.  Once you have demanded to speak to your attorney do not speak to the police until your lawyer speaks to you.  The police DO NOT have to get a lawyer for you but they do have to stop questioning you.

Third, do not talk to your cell mates regarding your case.  They may inform on you to get leniency in their cases.  You may have to talk to them but you do not have to discuss the specifics of your case.

Fourth, if you are arrested for Driving While Intoxicated you should refuse to give a breath sample if you have had anything at all to drink.  You should refuse to participate in any field sobriety test.  If you have been drinking you should refuse to admit anything at all.  If you have “an odor of alcohol on your breath” you will most likely be arrested anyway as almost every police officer will not gamble his future on letting you go with the possibility that you may end up in an accident or cause an accident.  Any admission is likely to result in your arrest anyway.  Giving a breath test that shows a blood alcohol over .08 is going to be admissible as evidence and may be the basis for a conviction alone. Failing a field sobriety test is admissible and may result in conviction.  You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to give evidence about yourself so USE THAT RIGHT!

Fifth, even if you cannot afford to hire an attorney you can have one appointed for you.  When you do this you will be getting the next lawyer in line that day.  Most of these attorneys are excellent but you need an expert in drunk driving so you should plead “not guilty,” tell the judge you will hire your own attorney, and ask for copies of all of your reports from the court so that you may give them to the attorney of your choice.  If you cannot afford an attorney, the court has documents for you to fill out to see if you are eligible for a court appointed attorney.  Ask for these when you report to probation the very first day in court.

If you have been arrested and would like more information or assistance, feel free to contact us at (617) 328 -6900 or visit our website at www.rsweeneylaw.com.

MASSACHUSETTS HARDSHIP LICENSE

January 14, 2013

FIRST OFFENSE OUI HARDSHIP LICENSE APPLICATIONS TO THE REGISTRY OF MOTOR VEHICLES

The following is information regarding the availability of hardship licenses for people whose OUI cases have been disposed of in court pursuant to MGLc.90,s.24D.  Please be advised that this information is being provided solely for the purpose of allowing a defendant to better prepare for their hardship hearing before appearing at a Registry, and that the Registry may require other documents or information before rendering a decision.  At a minimum, please be aware of the following:

 Hardship licenses are available on any case where a defendant has been properly granted a disposition under MGL c.90, s24D.  The Registrar will not entertain requests in cases where the records of the agency reflect that such a disposition was not available to the defendant.

  1. In order to allow for the courts and the Registry to exchange information regarding these dispositions,
  2. hardship applicants must wait 3 business days after their court date before appearing at the Registry, and MUST first have appeared for in-take at their assigned first offender program.

Example:  On a court disposition on Monday, you may not appear at the Registry until Thursday.

Hardship applications may only be made at Registry locations that conduct hearings.  Presently, those branches are: Boston (630 Washington Street), Brockton, North Attleboro, Lowell, Worcester, Springfield and Lawrence. Theses locations are subject to change without notice.

You may not operate a motor vehicle until such time a hardship license may be granted.  Any evidence that you have been drinking since you have been suspended in this matter will be grounds for denial of your application.

You must provide the following documentation at the hearing:

:  Proof of hardship (i.e. employment, education, medical, etc.)

:  Proof of enrollment in a Massachusetts First Offender Program approved by the Department of Public Health.  No out of state programs authorized by MGL c.90, s24D.  You must first appear at the first offenders program that you have been assigned to for your initial interview, and have that documented on letterhead from the program.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Hardship licenses are not available under this law if you are suspended or revoked for any reason apart from this case, if charges other than OUI in this case cause you to be suspended or revoked, or if these charges combined with other incidents on your driving record result in other suspension or revocation action.

For assistance with this or any other legal problem contact Attorney Richard Sweeney at 617-328-6900 or at RSweeney@Rsweeneylaw.com

Massachusetts Drunk Driving Law

January 14, 2013

OFFENSE ELEMENTS

  • Operation of MV
  • On Public Way
  • With a Blood Alcohol of .08 or greater, or
  • Operating while under influence of alcohol. i.e., the ability to operate safely is diminished by the consumption of alcohol
  • All operators are deemed to have consented to a breath test administered by a police officer by virtue of driving
  • Applies if you are arrested for OUI
  • Refusals to take the breath test will result in license loss of anywhere from 180 days to life
  • The duration of license loss for BT refusal depends on prior convictions and age of offender

Breath Test Refusal Penalties

  • First Offender                                             180 days
  • Second Offender or Under 21              3 yrs + 180 days (waived if in 24P program)
  • Third Offender                                            5 years
  • Fourth Offender                                         10 Years
  • Fifth Offender                                              Life
  • Prior offense includes prior OUI, OUI and serious injury and MV homicide
  • No hardship license from suspensions imposed for Breath Test refusals, except in the case of a first offender who is enrolled in the OUI program.
  • License may be restored after an acquittal

Breath Test Failure Consequences

  • Immediate loss of license to police officer for 30 days or until case is disposed of by plea or trial, whichever comes first
  • Automobile is impounded for 12 hours
  • Breath Test result of .08 or above is admissible in prosecution provided test is administered in accordance with law.
  • Represents a “per se” violation of statute

 Penalties for Conviction

First Offense Over Age 21

  • Statutory penalty:
    • Fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000, or
    • Imprisonment in jail for not more than 2 ½ years in House of Correction, or
    • Both a fine and imprisonment
    • License loss 1 year
  • Alternate Disposition for First Offenders under G.L. c. 90, §24D
    • Two years probation, entry into approved OUI program, pay program costs and assessments, probation supervision fees
    • License loss of 45-90 days
    • Hardship license available after enrollment in program on limited basis
    • Fines and community service may be assessed.

Penalties for First Conviction

Under Age 21

  • A person under age 21 loses their license for 210 days for first offense conviction for OUI even if they enter G.L. c. 90, § 24D program, but is eligible for 12 hour hardship license upon enrollment in program.
  • An additional license loss of 180 days is imposed under G.L. c. 90, § 24P – this may be avoided by attendance at special underage drinking program
  • If the Breath Test result for a person between the age of 17 and 21 inclusive, is not less than .20, the first offender program is not available and the individual must attend a rehabilitation program known as the “14 day second offender in-home program.”

Second Offense

  • Fine of not less than $600 nor more than $10,000, AND
  • Imprisonment for not less than 60 days nor more than 2 ½ years
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 30 days
  • License loss of two years
  • Assessments and fees applicable
  • Alternate Second Offender Disposition Available
    • Mandatory in-patient treatment at a residential alcohol treatment facility for 14 days, with aftercare
    • Two years probation
    • Two year license loss
    • Hardship license available after six months with ignition lock
    • Program costs and assessments applicable
  • Prior Convictions more than 10 years old may render a person eligible for first offender program once in a lifetime.
  • Persons eligible for any of the programs are presumed to be an appropriate candidate for the program.
  • A judge may deny admission of an otherwise eligible defendant to a program, but must make specific written findings that a defendant is not a suitable candidate.
  • Defendant not eligible for first offender program if serious bodily injury or death was caused in the events that gave rise to the conviction for OUI.
  • Persons who are domiciled out of state may be allowed to attend out of state programs
  • Defendants pay the costs associated with the programs
  • Probation fee of $250 in addition to program fees
  • Court may impose a minimum of 30 hours of community service
  • G.L. c. 90, § 24Q
  • Mandatory Alcohol Assessment by Department of Public Health or court approved program
  • All repeat offenders
  • Any offender with BAC of .20 or above
  • Must include assessment of the level of addiction to alcohol or drugs and recommended course of treatment.
  • Additional fee will be charged for the assessment

Penalties for Conviction

Third Offense

  • Fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $15,000, AND
  • Imprisonment for not less than 180 days, nor more than 2 ½ years in House of Correction or,
  • Imprisonment of 2 ½ – 5 years in State Prison
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 150 days
  • License loss of 8 years
  • Hardship Available after 2 years with ignition lock

Fourth Offense

  • Fine of not less than $1,500 nor more than $25,000, AND
  • Imprisonment for not less than 2 – 2 ½ years in the House of Correction or not less than 2 ½ – 5 years in State Prison
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 12 months
  • License Loss of 10 years
  • Hardship available after 5 years with ignition lock

Fifth Offense or More

  • Fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $50,000, AND
  • Imprisonment of 2 ½ years to the House of Correction, or
  • Imprisonment of not less than 2 ½ nor more than 5 years in State Prison
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentence of 24 months
  • License Loss – Lifetime
  • No hardship available

Special Penalty Provisions

  • Any person under the age of 21, who takes a breath test with a result of .02 or greater, and who is not charged with OUI, shall have his license suspended for 180 days immediately under G.L. c. 90, § 24 P.
  • Lifetime revocation for persons who are convicted of OUI, MV Homicide and who have a prior OUI, OUI Homicide or OUI serious injury. G.L. c. 90, § 24R

Hardship Licenses

  • No hardship license from suspensions imposed for Breath Test refusals, except in the case of a first offender who is enrolled in the OUI program.
  • Hardship licenses are issued in the discretion of the registrar on such terms and conditions as are deemed appropriate and upon a showing the causes of the past and present violations have been dealt with or brought under control.
  • First offenders:  12 hour hardship license is available upon entry into program.
  • Second offenders:  12 hour hardship license for education or employment reasons after 12 months, provided person has completed in-patient program.  After 18 months may request for a new license. Vehicle must have ignition lock to obtain hardship license
  • Third Offense:  12 hour hardship license for education and employment purposes after two years and a new license on a limited basis after 4 years.  Vehicle must have ignition lock to obtain hardship license.
  • Fourth Offense:  12 hour hardship license for education and employment purposes after five years and a new license in a limited basis after 8 years. Vehicle must have ignition lock to obtain hardship license.
  • Fifth offense or more – No hardship license
  • Certified or attested copies of original court papers ACCOMPANIED BY 90:24(4)
  • Certified or attested copies of defendant’s biographical and informational data from records of the department of probation
  • Certified copies of any jail or house of corrections, the department of correction, or the registry shall be prima facie evidence that a defendant before the court had been previously convicted.
  • The documents are self-authenticating and admissible, after conviction of primary offense.  No live witnesses or other corroborating testimony is necessary.
  • New Crime:  G.L. c. 265, § 13 ½
  • Imprisonment for not less than 5 nor more than 20 years, and
  • A fine of not more than $25,000
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 5 years
  • Manslaughter not defined in this statute
  • License loss of 15 years minimum, but may be up to a lifetime suspension
  • G.L. c. 90, § 24 ½
  • The device prevents the vehicle from operating if the BAC is above .02.
  • Device must be installed on each vehicle owned, leased or operated by a person previously convicted of OUI or similar offenses as a condition of the issuance of a new license
  • The device is to be installed for a period of two years (presumably from the date the new license is issued).
  • Device must be maintained and inspected in accordance with regulations yet to be enacted
  • The device will not permit operation of vehicle if BAC is .02 or above
  • Registrar may revoke license for up to life for two or more occasions of a failure to maintain or two or more instances of attempted use with .02 or above.
  • New Crimes
    • Operation MV in violation of interlock device restriction
      • Fine of $1000 to $15,000
      • Imprisonment for not less than 180 days nor more than 2 ½ years, or
      • Not less than 2 ½ nor more than 5 years in State prison
      • Mandatory Minimum of 150 days.
    • Tampering with Ignition lock
      • Not less than 6 months nor more than 2 ½ years H/C or
      • Not less than 3 years nor more than 5 years in state prison
    • Starting a MV equipped with Ignition lock
      • Fine of not less than $1000 nor more than $5000 or
      • Imprisonment for not less than 6 months nor more than 2 ½ years,
      •    Second Offense:  State Prison 3-5 years

For assistance with this or any other legal problem contact Attorney Richard Sweeney at 617-328-6900 or at RSweeney@Rsweeneylaw.com

New England Patriots, UMass Football and Gillette Stadium Concert fans are being arrested in record numbers.

September 29, 2012

Every week UMass Football fans, New England Patriots fans, and concert goers are arrested at Gillette Stadium and in Foxborough Massachusetts by officers patrolling the stadium, roadways and the surrounding parking lots.  There is a large police presence at these events and they are looking for Fake IDs, drunken behavior and DUI’s. You can be issued a trespass order and if you don’t comply you find yourself under arrest. If you find yourself arrested and charged with a crime a good attorney can assist you in getting a diversion program or help you win your case in Wrentham Court.  We are experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys familiar with Wrentham Court and Gillette Stadium arrests.  Our attorneys have a combined experience of more than forty years of successfully defending people arrested for crimes all over Massachusetts.  Make us your law firm.   Call the law office of Sweeney and Associates in Massachusetts at 617-328-6900, or feel free to email any questions you may have on this or any Massachusetts Criminal Law to me at RSweeney@RSweeneylaw.com.   Please visit our web page for more information on a variety of topics at www.Rsweeneylaw.com.

Mass Motor Vehicle Laws, Ticket Appeals, Driver’s License Suspensions and Fake IDs

June 16, 2010

APPEAL THE TICKET and call Sweeney & Associates at 617-328-6900 for a free consultation. TIME MATTERS!

Massachusetts has enhanced the penalties for speeding and for Junior operators receiving any motor vehicle citation. YOUR CHILD NOW FACES A LICENSE SUSPENSION FOR A SPEEDING TICKET OR FOR HAVING A FAKE ID. (SEE MY BLOG BELOW FOR DETAILED INFO ON FAKE ID’S IN MASSACHUSETTS!

Every parent and junior operator should be aware of the license loss they face under the states drunk driving laws and also for other moving violations including speeding and operating with other passengers in the motor vehicle. EVERY operator has a right to appeal any citation they receive and they should appeal and hire a lawyer familiar with these appeals.

DON’T ARGUE WITH THE POLICE OFFICER. DON’T RELY ON INTERNET QUICK FIXES. IN MASSACHUSETTS CLERK MAGISTRATES OF EACH COURT HEAR TICKET APPEALS AND THE RIGHT ATTORNEY CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!
The tables below should assist you and every teen should be aware of these penalties BEFORE they get pulled over by the police. Knowledge and prevention beats hiring a lawyer every day.

Driving with other passengers in first six months:
• 1st offense: $35 fine; plus 60 day license suspension
• 2nd offense: $35 – $75 fine; plus 180 day suspension; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes
• 3rd offense: $75 – $150 fine; plus 1 year suspension; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes

Junior Operator Driving between midnight and 5 am:
• 1st offense: $100 – $1,000 fine; plus 60 day license suspension
• 2nd offense: $100 – $1,000 fine; plus 180 day license suspension; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes
• 3rd offense: $100 – $1,000 fine; plus 1 year license suspension; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes

Permit Holder driving without an adult or between midnight and 5 am:
• 1st offense: $100 – $1,000 fine; plus 60 day learner’s permit suspension
• 2nd offense: $100 – $1,000 fine; plus 180 day learner’s permit suspension; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes
• 3rd offense: $100 – $1,000 fine; plus 1 year learner’s permit suspension; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes

Junior Operator drag racing:
• 1st offense: $250; plus 1 year license suspension; plus $500 to reinstate license; plus completion of the state courts against road rage program
• 2nd offense: $500; plus 3 years license suspension; plus $1000 to reinstate; plus completion of the state courts against road rage program

Junior Operator speeding (in addition to fines):
• 1st offense: 90 day license suspension; plus $500 to reinstate license; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes; plus completion of the state courts against road rage program; plus $50 reinstatement surcharge; plus must retake and successfully complete driving test
• 2nd offense: 1 year suspension; plus $500 to reinstate; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes; plus completion of the state courts against road rage program; plus $50 reinstatement surcharge; plus must retake and successfully complete driving test

Permit Holder speeding (in addition to fines):
• 1st offense: 90 day license suspension; plus $500 to reinstate license; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes; plus completion of the state courts against road rage program; plus $50 reinstatement surcharge; plus must retake and successfully complete driving test
• 2nd offense: 1 year suspension; plus $500 to reinstate; plus completion of registry program that encourages attitudinal changes; plus completion of the state courts against road rage program; plus $50 reinstatement surcharge; plus must retake and successfully complete driving test

Junior Operator operating recklessly or negligently (in addition to fines):
• 1st offense: 180 day license suspension
• 2nd offense: 1 year license suspension, if it occurs within 3 year period of first offense.

SUSPENSIONS AND REVOCATIONS

When your license has been suspended or revoked by the registry of motor vehicles you must apply for a hearing to have it reinstated. A court order in some instances is NOT binding upon the registry of motor vehicles. For example a Court may treat a drunk driving offense as a first offense and order the standard first offense license suspension whereas the registry may see that, in fact you have more than one drunk driving offense on your record and they WILL treat the suspension as a second or third, etc. despite the court’s finding. That is why you need an experienced attorney to explain the outcome of any case.

The Registry will also suspend your license if you are found with a fake ID or are guilty of most drug offenses, whether a car was involved or not! Once again an experienced attorney can assist you.

Reinstating Your License

To reinstate your license or your right to operate, you may need to appear for a hearing at an RMV Hearing site. To be prepared for your hearing, please choose one of the following to view the registry’s criteria needed when appearing before a hearing’s officer for your particular type of suspension: OUI Hardship Criteria, First Offense (24D) OUI Hardship Criteria, (94C) Drug Offense Hardship Criteria, HTO Hardship Criteria.

If you had a hearing at the Board of Appeals and received a letter of decision rescinding or modifying the Registrar’s actions, you may appear at any Registry branch for reinstatement. Please bring the letter of decision with you.

Fees:

If your license was suspended or revoked, a reinstatement fee will be due when your license is reinstated. This fee ranges from $100 – $1,200, depending on the offense. This reinstatement fee is in addition to any other fee or charge for which you may be responsible.

Junior Operator Reinstatement Fees:

For reinstatement of a learner’s permit or junior operator license, a Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course and/or the State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) program may be required.

Payment Defaults

Non-Criminal Citation

If you defaulted on a non-criminal civil citation and have been suspended as a result, you must pay the fine to the court and bring the green court release forms to any Registry branch. There is a $10.00 filing fee to remove each default. In addition, a $100.00 reinstatement fee is required if your license or right to operate was suspended.

Non-Criminal Citation after January 1, 1992:

If you received a non-criminal citation after January 1, 1992, you may pay the citation, late fee and/or reinstatement fee by calling the registry or paying at one of their full service offices, or

Mail your fees to (Do Not Mail Cash):

Attn: Citation Payment
Registry of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 55890
Boston, MA 02205-5890

Criminal Citations

If you defaulted on a criminal civil citation and have been suspended as a result, you must pay the fine to the court and bring the green court release forms to any Full service Registry branch.

Out-of-State Suspensions and Revocations

If your Massachusetts license is revoked due to a suspension or revocation in another state, you must be reinstated in that state before you can resolve any revocation in Massachusetts. Once you have resolved the suspension or revocation in the other state, you may resolve your revocation in Massachusetts by bringing either a reinstatement letter or a current driving record from the state of suspension to any Registry branch

Please note, your reinstatement letter or driving record may not be more than 30 days old.

If you have any questions or need more information about your Massachusetts suspension or revocation, you may call the Suspensions Department at (617) 351-7200.

Call Sweeney & Associates at 617-328-6900 for a free consultation before you go to court or immediately upon receiving any notice from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Attached is a brochure outlining suspensions and revocations.

Elderly Drivers

Speaking with an elderly parent about surrendering a driver’s license is a delicate issue but one which most of us face at some point or another.  Given the importance of keeping everyone safe I have put together some information which is helpful to families that have to face this issue.  Attached is the Reporting requirements and medical report form needed for the RMV to take action.  They can also be found online at this link HERE.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website has excellent links to resources that will be extremely helpful to both you and your family as they outline the best way to deal with elderly and/or medically impaired drivers as family members.  The first link is the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles link and the others can be found on this site.  Please be advised that should your parent or grandparent surrender his or her license then there would be no need for the reporting form and the registry will issue them Mass ID free of charge.  Should the necessity come up to file a report you should be explicit about the limitations and, whenever possible, speak to his/her doctor first.  If the doctor is in agreement with the family then he/she can submit the form and it will be revoked immediately.

The best way to approach this issue is with the family physician’s assistance.  Once the family members express concern to a family physician he/she can then sit down with the parent or grandparent and, as an interested caregiver, intervene on behalf of the family and assist the patient in understanding the necessity of surrendering the license.  Also it is important to remember that once a report is filed by a family member and it is contested a physician needs to sign off that the patient can drive.  Therefore it is always helpful to voice your concerns to her physician IF you need the assistance and definitely if you end up filing the revocation request.

As always if you need any assistance please contact us and we are happy to assist you and your family through the process.  We sincerely wish you and your family the best in dealing with this emotional issue.

Mass Criminal Law – Legal Information for College Students and Parents

June 16, 2010

Greetings and welcome to Massachusetts from the attorneys at  Sweeney & Associates.

As a parent of high school and college students, both in state and out Richard J. Sweeney is acutely aware that you may not know the laws of Massachusetts, and more importantly, what to do if you, or your son or daughter, should find yourself in trouble in Massachusetts. There is nothing more terrifying than being in another state and not knowing who to turn to. We work closely with schools and colleges, as well as local police departments and courts, to ensure that students avail themselves of the many first offender opportunities available to PREVENT YOU OR YOUR CHILD FROM “GETTING A RECORD.”

An experienced attorney can guide you through the court system and assist you in getting a hearing before a clerk magistrate or enrolling you in pre-trial and pre-arraignment programs designed to give young first time offenders the ability to correct their behavior without getting a criminal record.
Each and every college will discuss the local laws with the students at their first opportunity. The colleges located in and around Boston enforce the possession of alcohol laws more than the enclosed suburban campuses due to neighborhood involvement in keeping students from partying in local neighborhoods as opposed to on-campus parties. The Boston Police have a zero tolerance policy and tend to arrest each student for simply possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 or for any possession of illegal drugs. HOWEVER you should be aware that there are MANDATORY JAIL TERMS for certain drug offenses and there are programs for first offenders. IT IS NOT WISE TO PAY THE FINE AND WALK OUT OF COURT!!! This will cause you to have a record that will follow you for the rest of your life, will impact on your status as a resident of a dorm in certain schools, affect your immigration status, your ability to have, receive financial aid or possess certain professional licenses after you graduate. You are entitled to a first offender or diversion program for certain drug and alcohol cases including possession of drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence and other offenses. Also it is important to note that urinating in public by itself does have negative consequences but it is extremely important to have an attorney involved to have the charge amended to one that will not make you a candidate for the SEX OFFENDER LIST.

In short, do not speak to the police if arrested. Ask for an attorney and DO NOT attempt to handle the case yourself in court. We have actually been in court with clients when other students, with the aid of their own attorneys not as familiar with Massachusetts’ Courts and we have watched these students, plead guilty, pay a fine and leave. THEY NOW HAVE CRIMINAL RECORDS AND LOST THEIR CHANCE AT A FIRST OFFENDER PROGRAM, while our clients are paying the same fine but PRIOR TO ARRAIGNMENT!!!!! NO CRIMINAL RECORD!!

This page is not long enough to outline all of the remedies available nor to discuss how each school or university handles these different crimes. As parents and attorneys we know that you need some free initial advice and the time to have someone explain your options. If you, a friend or your student gets stopped by the police please do not give any statements and call the experts at Sweeney & Associates. We know the law and we know the courts. Help us help you.

Richard J. Sweeney is a retired Sergeant from the Boston Police Department who spent many years dealing with students in the Kenmore Square, Allston/Brighton neighborhoods as well as directing a drug unit prior to his retirement. As a former hockey coach of high school and college students he has a tremendous amount of experience dealing with high schools, prep schools and colleges when their students get in trouble.

You are paying a tremendous amount for the best education you can get. Don’t make the mistake of a lifetime and not get the best attorney because you think you know what to do. We have been contacted by CEO’s, politicians, judges, attorneys and corporate counsel from more than half of the United States and Puerto Rico as well as foreign nationals to have us represent their children, or their client’s children for everything from possession of alcohol to sex crimes. We have our own immigration specialist, our own investigator and our own well-chosen associates that allow us to deal with your problem with individual care for you and your family during trying times. Call the experts before you make a decision that will affect the rest of your life. Choose your lawyer as you chose your school.

We welcome calls from new students, or parents of new students, that may have individual questions.

WE KNOW OUR WAY AROUND THE COURTS AND WE CAN HELP!
Contact us at 617-328-6900 or email us at  rsweeney@Rsweeneylaw.com

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See the Massachusetts General Laws at: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/gl-pt4-toc.htm