Burke Levy, P.C.

Westborough Legal Blog

What does implied consent require you to do?

When police lights flash behind your car, you may immediately feel your pulse racing and your skin begin to sweat. Hopefully, this is a rare event for you, but this may mean you are unsure how to behave or what is expected of you. More seriously, you may not know your rights under Massachusetts law.

If an officer has pulled you over under suspicion of drunk driving, you have every right to be nervous. A DUI or OUI conviction can have serious ramifications for your personal, professional and financial life. Police often rely on the fact that few drivers fully understand their rights during a traffic stop, and their training allows them to take advantage of your uncertainty and confusion. It is best for you to be as prepared as possible for this type of encounter with police.

Boston Fire District chief facing charges of OUI

Drunk driving is a serious offense in Massachusetts and no one is exempt. Any person who may have had too much to drink should not attempt to operate a vehicle. A Boston Fire District Chief is under investigation for alleged OUI.

A Plymouth fire chief was arrested on a recent Saturday and charged with multiple infractions stemming from an alleged drunk driving violation. Authorities say the man was arrested after hitting multiple vehicles in an attempt to flee the scene. A witness said the driver hit a parked vehicle while trying to exit a parking lot. The witness apparently attempted to stop the driver and claimed he had to get out of the way to avoid being hit.

Divorce for older couples may involve complex assets

The number of older couples divorcing in Massachusetts is increasing. Concerns of older couples differ from couples who still have young children. When children are young child support and child custody may be among the greatest concerns. Among older couples divorcing, finances are likely to be a larger concern. The focus may be on dividing retirement plans, 401(k)s, pensions and other complex assets.

It may not be possible for all assets cannot be divided equally. Especially among wealthier couples, there are likely to be multiple 401(k) accounts and IRAs, making equal division even more difficult. Pensions and 401(k) accounts are subject to additional rules and require a qualified domestic relations order from a judge that recognizes a spouse's right to receive the proceeds. The QDRO is given to the administrator of the plan in question.

There may be more at stake in divorce than the end of a marriage

Divorce in Massachusetts is not easy nor normally entered into lightly. Issues that permeate almost all divorce negotiations involve property division and spousal support. These issues are present regardless of whether the couple have a few thousand dollars in assets or a few million. The issues are further complicated when there are children to consider.

A recent high profile divorce case involves a member of the cast of Real Housewives of Orange County, Alexis Bellino, and her husband. The couple have three children. In a child support settlement, the judge ordered that Alexis's husband pay $6,000 a month plus an additional $10,000 a month in spousal support. The child support continues until the youngest child turns 18.

Drug crimes involving heroin and fentanyl continue to rise

While heroin continues to plague Massachusetts as a key element of the drug crisis, fentanyl has become more evident in recent years. Fentanyl is far more potent than heroin and is often added to heroin or cocaine. Reasons for this include its relatively low cost and its potency. Its presence contributes to the high number of drug crimes occurring in the area.

A recent arrest in North Andover resulted in the seizure of 11 kilograms of heroin and 5,000 pills. A gentleman was arrested as a result of the undercover sting in which the drugs were allegedly found. The man arrested was charged with possession with intent to distribute. The arrest came as a result of a month-long investigation.

Is your ex making co-parenting impossible

Your children are likely already feeling the same confusion and anguish you are because of your divorce. You and your spouse are their world, and to see the family break up can be devastating, no matter the ages of your children. The last thing you want to do is add to their anxiety with increasing hostility between you and your ex-spouse. However, you may find yourself with little choice.

If your marriage is ending on a note of anger or bitterness, there may be little you can do to minimize the conflict. With children involved, you may dread the thought that your contentious interactions with your ex could go on for decades until your children grow up. Difficult as it may be, the key to protecting your children as much as possible from the animosity between you and your ex is to refuse to participate in the battle.

Multiple arrests for drug crimes result from long investigation

The nation's drug crisis continues to plague Massachusetts and the rest of New England. Two recent federal investigations resulted in the arrests of 27 people who were charged with a variety of drug crimes.  The investigations, known as Operation Landshark and Operation Nor'Easter, were focused on apprehending alleged repeat offenders and took place over a two year period. The investigation involved over 150 law enforcement personnel from around New England and the federal Department of Justice.

The charges include possession with intent to distribute, selling counterfeit currency and illegal weapons possession. The drugs the suspects are alleged to have distributed include cocaine, fentanyl and heroin. The federal sentence for the drug charges carry a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. If a defendant has a prior conviction, the sentence can be up to 30 years and a $2 million fine.

Just how many Massachusetts OUI convictions could go away?

Massachusetts residents already know that they have the right to challenge any criminal charges they face. For many people, this means questioning the validity of breath tests upon which OUI charges are based. In some cases, doing so has resulted in a dismissal of the charges, but other people were not so lucky and ended up with a conviction on their records.

Now, some of those convictions may disappear. This is due to the fact that district attorneys and criminal defense lawyers across Massachusetts agree that results from a particular breath testing machine, the Draeger 9510, should be thrown out. This involves cases from June 2011 through Aug. 2017. That is a long span of time and a lot of people.

Are couples filing divorce over student loan debt?

These days, few people are able to graduate from college without at least some student loan debt. Those who can may not realize just how lucky they are, and it may be for more than the fact that they "own" their degrees. A new study indicates that student loan debt has become a reason that couples across the country, likely including many here in Massachusetts, file for divorce.

In fact, it is believed that one out of every eight divorces filed these days has something to do with student loan debt. The amount of debt can easily become overwhelming. This may put a strain on the marriage. In addition, if one party came into the marriage with a significant amount of student loan debt while the other party did not, resentment can arise when a significant portion of the couple's income goes toward the payment of these large loans.

Avoid these problems if you divorce

You are definitely not alone in your struggle if you are currently facing challenges regarding divorce. In fact, there may hundreds, if not thousands of Massachusetts residents who will go through similar experiences before the year ends. That said, no two divorces are exactly the same because every marriage is unique, and therefore, so is every divorce.

There are several key errors commonly made in divorce that you'll want to avoid if one of your main goals is to settle things swiftly and move on with your life. If a particular problem does arise after the judge has already handed down a ruling, it doesn't necessarily mean there is no way to rectify the issue. In fact, several options may be available if you know where to seek support.

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