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Bumper left at scene of crash leads to OUI/DWI charges

Massachusetts police claim that they were easily able to track down a hit-and-run driver after he left part of his vehicle at the scene of the accident -- his bumper and license plate. The young man was later arrested and now faces OUI/DWI charges. He is also accused of leaving a crash scene and negligent driving.

The 20-year-old man allegedly spent the Friday night before the accident drinking with other underage individuals in the area. This behavior apparently continued into Saturday morning. At some point, the man got behind the wheel of his vehicle and left the residence where the group had been drinking. Police allege that he was still intoxicated at the time.

Charged with theft crimes? You deserve vigorous representation

Facing criminal charges can be a frightening experience. Many people feel understandably confused by their charges, and Massachusetts' police are often not quick to help clear up any questions defendants might have. This is especially true with theft crimes, which cover a somewhat broad range of charges, all of which can have different legal implications.

Theft-related charges may be either misdemeanors or felonies. While both are serious criminal matters, felonies carry the possibility of hefty fines and jail time if convicted. This can apply to any of the following charges, all of which are considered theft crimes under Massachusetts state law:

  • Shoplifting
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Petty or grand larceny
  • Breaking and entering

Child custody is a serious family law matter

There are many things to consider when filing for divorce, including asset division, alimony and more. However, for many Massachusetts parents, figuring out custody can be one of the most emotionally strained aspects of ending a marriage. Although parents typically want what is best for their children, family law provides guidance to ensure that their best interests are respected and maintained.

Parents often share joint legal custody, allowing them to both make important decisions regarding the major aspects of their child's life, including religion and education. Physical custody, however, can be somewhat more difficult to determine. Parents often attempt to settle how parenting time will be shared outside of court through mediation or negotiation while working alongside their respective counsels. Parents might decide to share physical custody 50/50, while others might find that their child benefits most from spending the majority of his or her time with one parent while maintaining a visitation schedule with the other.

Drug crimes cited in Massachusetts man's arrest

Charges for drug-related criminal offenses tend to have severe consequences in Massachusetts. One man could potentially spend a lifetime behind bars for alleged drug crimes that he took part in. At least one of the six felony charges he faces is related to another man's death.

The 44-year-old man was arrested on four charges in June 2017. He was accused of possessing cocaine and fentanyl and for allegedly taking part in the sale of these illegal drugs. At least one of the drug sales he is accused of taking part in occurred in a Family Dollar parking lot. His arrest came just a day or two after he allegedly sold a man fentanyl, who ingested the drug and died of an overdose. The accused has since been in police custody in lieu of $75,000 bail.

OUI/DWI charges might be affected by Breathalyzer cover-up

Drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol are often asked to submit to Breathalyzer tests. These are used to determine a person's blood-alcohol content, which can then be used as evidence regarding OUI/DWI charges. However, these devices are not infallible and must be calibrated correctly to be effective.

A Massachusetts official was recently fired for allegedly withholding information about Breathalyzer devices that had been improperly calibrated. Investigators made it clear that the woman had intentionally withheld evidence about the improperly calibrated devices. A report also noted that she failed to seek help from legal resources to which she had access, and failed to provide important documents to drunk driving suspects.

Is drug addiction destroying your loved one's future?

If your son or daughter has fallen into a life of addiction, you may spend many hours remembering innocent, happy times. Of course, no one plans to become an addict, and no one expects to watch a loved one caught up in the deadly world of drugs and crime.

Whether your loved one has struggled with a drug addiction for many years or has recently fallen into the trap of heroin, methamphetamine or opioid addiction, you understand there are two paths your child could choose: the road to recovery or the road to death. Sometimes, however, a clear option opens when an addict meets with the law.

Different violent crimes have different consequences

Criminal matters involving death can have severe consequences for those accused. Convictions can mean lengthy prison sentences, fines and a lifelong impact in the form of a criminal record. However, some Massachusetts defendants accused of committing violent crimes -- such as manslaughter or murder -- are unsure of why they have been charged with specific crimes, which can complicate matters when it comes to preparing a defense.

Although sometimes used interchangeably, manslaughter and murder are not the same thing. Manslaughter charges can fall on a scale, with involuntary manslaughter being on the lowest side and voluntary on the highest. An involuntary manslaughter charge indicates that the defendant is believed to have accidentally killed someone through reckless or negligent behavior. Voluntary manslaughter charges are filed when it is believed that the accused had the intent to take another individual's life, but that it was not planned.

Mandatory minimums for drug crimes could soon be in the past

The law can be an ever-changing entity, constantly being updated, changed and added to. Not only are new laws signed into effect and old ones repealed, but the consequences for existing laws are sometimes adjusted to more closely reflect current times. Some believe that Massachusetts is close to making a significant change -- eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes.

This is not the first time that advocates have suggested minimum sentences be repealed for those accused of nonviolent drug charges. Former Governor Deval Patrick considered getting rid of these minimum sentences back in 2012, but nothing came of it. In 2015 lawmakers insisted they wanted to delay reforms to the criminal justice system until a review was completed by an outside consultant, which was not available until earlier in 2017, and focused on post-release education and supervision.

Year-long theft crimes investigation lead to woman's arrest

Criminal charges for theft can fall into either misdemeanor or felony categories, which is usually dependent upon the value of items allegedly taken. A Massachusetts woman is facing felony charges for alleged theft crimes related to equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars that occurred at her place of work. She has since posted $25,000 bail and is awaiting upcoming court proceedings.

Police began their nearly year-long investigation in Nov. 2016. At that time, the woman's employer -- Flir Designs -- reported what it believed to be internal theft. Although it is not clear what equipment was listed in that report, Flir is known for marketing and manufacturing its infrared cameras, thermal imaging and night vision equipment.

Grey's Anatomy star temporarily settles family law matters

One of the stars of the popular TV show "Grey's Anatomy" recently finalized what had been a contentious divorce. Jesse Williams agreed to pay child support and alimony as part of the resolution, both of which are common family law outcomes in Massachusetts. He and his ex-wife also reached a temporary custody arrangement regarding their two children.

Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee were married just under five years when they filed for divorce in April 2017. The couple shares two children together, a 3-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy. Although the details of their custody arrangement are not clear, it is only a temporary agreement. This is not an uncommon approach when parents are unsure of their future employment needs or are having trouble reaching a permanent solution, and want a temporary agreement to provide a sense of stability.

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Patrick K. Burke, Attorney at Law
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Leominster, MA 01453

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