The Massachusetts S.J.C. recently upset the criminal defense community with a heightened requirement that criminal defense attorneys more clearly warn immigrants of the immigration consequences of convictions. See Commonwealth v. DeJesus, SJC-11392, slip op. (May 19, 2014).
Massachusetts law allows motorists to decline field sobriety tests. You cannot be penalized for refusing to take a field sobriety test, although license suspension may apply for refusing a breathalyzer test. See Massachusetts OUI Brochure. The fact that you refused a field sobriety test cannot be used against you in court. See Commonwealth v. Blais, […]
On Tuesday, April 29, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two cases that affect the privacy of the more than 90 percent of Americans who carry a cell phone. One of these cases is an appeal of a drug-dealing conviction from South Boston. U.S. v. Wurie, 13-212. The other is an appeal by a […]
While many pieces of legislation languish for months or years without being signed into law, a bill criminalizing secret, “up-skirt photography” recently made a surprisingly fast trip through the Massachusetts legislature. Within two days of a Supreme Judicial Court ruling that no law addressed this conduct, Massachusetts lawmakers enacted a new law to make such […]
Although illegal drug activity continues to plague communities, Massachusetts is reducing sentences for drug-related offenses. This may seem counterintuitive, since conventional wisdom suggests that tougher punishments do a better job of deterring crime. How then, and why, is Massachusetts lowering punishments for drug offenders? Massachusetts legislators are working to balance the competing interests of public […]
What could your phone reveal about your daily habits? Today’s phones reveal precise information about their owners’ locations—either via GPS or by tracking which cell phone towers it uses. This information can be valuable for law enforcement officials, who regularly seek cell phone records to track their suspects.
Generally, tickets for traffic violations must be issued at the time and place of the violation. Can a police officer send you a traffic citation in the mail, even if you do not remember the day or circumstances of the alleged violation?
Most people are aware that breathalyzer tests are often used by police to detect intoxication. In Massachusetts, individuals have a legal right to refuse a breathalyzer test, but refusal can lead to an automatic driver’s license suspension. The right to refuse breathalyzer tests is based in the constitutional right against self-incrimination, and also protects individuals […]
Are you dealing with a search warrant? The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by requiring warrants based on probable cause. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently clarified the requirements for probable cause that police must meet to obtain a warrant to search a residence for evidence of illegal drug activity.
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