The Massachusetts Criminal Arraignment Process

It’s easy for attorneys to take for granted the knowledge they have regarding a criminal arraignment. After all, they may find themselves in court several times a week, so the process is second nature to them. Unless you have been involved in a criminal legal process, the things that go on during a hearing can be shrouded in mystery. Let’s examine the process and review what one can expect during an arraignment. The Probation Department Prior to being arraigned, those who are summonsed or arrested are required to check in with the probation department. This visit is used to collect
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Who carries the burden of proof in a criminal case?

The phrase ‘burden of proof’ refers to which party—the defense or prosecution—is responsible for providing evidence of a crime. In most court cases, the party filing the claim carries the burden of proof. In a criminal case, this generally falls to the prosecution. The burden of proof refers to the process of proving elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof does not refer to proving guilt or innocence. Criminal cases do not require defendants to prove innocence. However, while the prosecution carries the burden of proof, they do not have to prove guilt to the
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Can I legally smoke recreational marijuana in public in the state of Massachusetts?

While marijuana use is legal in Massachusetts for people 21 and older, that doesn’t mean you can use it anywhere you want. Only adults 21 or older can legally purchase and possess marijuana, except for those who are registered patients. Consuming even legally purchased cannabis in Massachusetts at a public place is illegal under state law. This covers smoking, vaping, and cannabis-infused foods. While your safest bet is smoking in your home, if you have roommates or a landlord who doesn’t want you smoking there, you might be out of luck. Landlords can place restrictions on whether you can smoke
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Cannabis DUI

Marijuana and derived cannabis products are now legal for private, at-home consumption in Massachusetts. With the use of THC products now legal and in the open, it becomes even more important to remember continuing legal restrictions on and best practices surrounding their consumption. One of the foremost issues at the intersection of law, good citizenship, and cannabis is that of driving under the influence of marijuana and marijuana-derived products. Most people are familiar with the laws surrounding DUI, or at least they think they understand these laws. Let’s take a moment to review the laws regarding alcohol and the operation
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Massachusetts RMV Scandal and License Suspension

Imagine this: one day you open your mail to discover your license has been suspended for a violation that occurred months, maybe even years, ago. How did this happen? And what can you do? A scandal has engulfed the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles this summer, one which promises not to end any time soon. While the scandal suggests a long-term investigation to turn over every rock, hundreds and hundreds of Massachusetts drivers have already been affected in the short-term by having their licenses suspected. Many more may also soon find their licenses suspended as the RMV races to repair
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Does it really matter if I skip jury duty?

Yes—yes it does. Skipping jury duty is an easy way to land yourself in completely unnecessary trouble. Massachusetts makes it rather difficult to miss or skip your service date. There are many chances to make right on your having skipped jury duty, but they are all time-consuming and potentially nerve-wracking. After missing jury service, you will receive a “Failure to Appear” postcard. By phone or by mail, you can respond to this. If you have a reasonable excuse, such as illness, be sure to have a note from your doctor. You will then reschedule your service. Ignoring this card (at
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What happens to me if I refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when pulled over in Massachusetts?

Drivers in Massachusetts ought to be especially wary when they see those blue lights flash behind them, given the spotty track record of the Breathalyzers used to test for DUI violations by police departments across the Commonwealth. Sober, responsible drivers found themselves in a lot of trouble because of inaccurately prepared and used Breathalyzers. Since 2017, numerous legal challenges and complaints have surfaced regarding the main Breathalyzer model used in the state, the Draeger 9510 Alcotest. There were widespread issues with the calibration of these machines. Despite knowing the calibrating errors by numerous police departments, the Massachusetts Office of Alcohol
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The MA state police face ongoing scandals over altering police reports and overtime sheets. Does this give me grounds to contest or question state police reports used against me in court?

The ongoing revelations of misconduct by the State Police are certainly disturbing. If you have not been following the scandal over the past year, here is a summary of what we have learned so far: -There has been widespread abuse of the overtime system by state troopers at least since 2011. Troopers would claim overtime for shifts they never worked. The practice was known about within the State Police at least since 2011, according to recent reporting in the Boston Globe. -The overtime abuse was so rampant within Troop E of the State Police that authorities have dissolved it rather
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Penalties for Drunk Driving in Massachusetts

The penalties for drunk driving in Massachusetts are, in some ways, harsher than any other DUI laws in the United States. And most of that comes already when there’s a conviction for a first-time offense. It’s a crackdown on drinking and driving in Massachusetts. First-Time Offense Laws As with most first-time offense laws, if you refuse to take a blood alcohol content test after being pulled over, you’ll be subjected to a fine and suspension of your drivers license. Keep in mind that your license is automatically suspended for 180 days just based on your refusal to take the test.
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Choosing Your Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

When you have been accused of a crime in Massachusetts, you need a defense attorney in order to help protect your rights. Even if you are guilty of committing the crime you have been accused of, it’s important that you receive quality counsel from a skilled criminal defense attorney. A skilled and successful lawyer can help you navigate the legal system so you have the best opportunity of achieving an equitable outcome. And remember, being innocent doesn’t guarantee that you will be found innocent. You need skilled representation either way. You have two basic options when selecting a criminal defense
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