Supreme Court rules that cops can’t hold you for even a few extra minutes without good reason after routine traffic stops

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that after police have completed a routine traffic stop, they cannot hold you for even a few extra minutes without the usual suspicion required to detain a person.

In Rodriguez v. United States, a case brought by a Nebraska man who was pulled over for driving erratically on a state highway in 2012, the court majority said police lacked probable cause in a search that led to the man’s drug charge. [Read more…]

Technical problems could overturn recent drunk driving convictions in Massachusetts

As reported by MyFoxBoston.com, technical problems could overturn many recent drunk driving convictions in Massachusetts.

The issue involves the use of faulty breathalyser machines. According to the Salem News, prosecutors have started notifying defense attorneys about the problem.

Apparently, a solution used in the machines is causing them to produce improper test results.

The Essex County District Attorney has told all prosecutors to stop using breathalyzer results in pending cases.

It is not known when the problem started, or how many past cases could be called into question

White Collar Crimes in Massachusetts

posted by Eric Schutzbank

White Collar Crimes in Massachusetts cover a broad range of financially motivated nonviolent criminal activities including embezzlement, fraud, employee theft, and forgery. They can also include internet-related crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud. Statistics show these crimes account for over $400 billion in losses to the U.S economy alone.

In Massachusetts, penalties for white collar crimes are especially serious; therefore, it is important to seek the counsel of attorneys who are experienced in defending these types of crimes to ensure the best outcome.

Common Types of White Collar Crimes:

  • Financial Fraud: Conspiracy to commit or committal of insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, insider trading, healthcare/welfare fraud, tax evasion, etc.
  • Corruption: Bribery, violation of laws by a public servant or official, or unethical behavior by a local or government employee for personal gain.

[Read more…]

Massachusetts Holds Parents Accountable for “Social Hosting”

posted by Eric Schutzbank

It’s well-known that the legal drinking age in all states, including Massachusetts, is 21. Less know, however, are the liabilities associated with “social hosting”. Social hosting refers to providing alcohol or other substances to a minor that is not your own child on your property or in an environment you control. Especially during graduation time, some parents reason if they provide alcohol at a party at their private residence in a safe environment, ensuring that minors do not drink and drive, they are not committing a crime. Massachusetts’ “Social Host” law says that they are. Consider the consequences and situations covered by this law:

  • You could pay fines and go to jail. The penalty in Massachusetts for “social hosting” is a fine up to $2,000 and/or prison time for up to one year. Of course, if injury occurred, such as if a child died in an accident after leaving your home, you could be convicted of more serious crimes, resulting in a longer prison sentence.
  • You could pay civil penalties as well. Providing alcohol to minors makes you liable for their actions. You could be sued for millions of dollars if that child injuries himself or another person after consuming the alcohol you provided. Since homeowner’s insurance will often not cover injuries as a result of criminal activity, you may be personally responsible for financial damages.

[Read more…]

Recording the Police with Your Smartphone – a Constitutional Right or Unlawful Wiretapping?

posted by Eric Schutzbank

In the era of ubiquitous personal technology, it may seem that we have an unbridled right to use our smartphones to photograph or record anything and everything. We may particularly want to record the police to verify that they are serving and protecting the public and not violating individual rights. Be careful, even here in our great state of Massachusetts, the police can still lawfully charge and arrest you for recording them in certain circumstances.

Recently, a woman was charged with unlawful wiretapping by the Springfield police for recording her arrest. The Springfield Republican reported that a 24 year-old woman was arrested for disorderly conduct and the police discovered in her possessions a smartphone with the audio recorder activated. When she was arrested, the police claim that Ms. Dziewit had yelled that she was recording the entire incident. Subsequently, the police further charged her with violating the Massachusetts law prohibiting wiretapping. In Massachusetts, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail and/or a maximum $5000 fine to record any conversation without the consent of all parties. Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 272 ยง 99. [Read more…]

Massachusetts Takes Cyber Bullying Seriously

The issue of bullying has become a hot topic across the United States in recent years. Tragic events such as victim suicides and violent assaults have turned the spotlight on the debate of exactly when and how bullying becomes a criminal act. At the forefront of this debate is the increasing trend of cyber bullying where often the bullies anonymously attack their victims online through fake profiles and social media accounts.

What is Cyber Bullying?
The Attorney General of the State of Massachusetts classifies Cyber Bullying as “electronically communicated threats and willful and malicious directing electronic communications at a specific person that seriously alarm that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress.”

Children and Adults may be Charged with Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying does not end at the toll of the school bell or end of the work day. It continues every time the victim uses their smartphone, handheld device, or computer. The victim cannot escape the bully even in the privacy of their own home. The severe emotional toll that often accompanies these acts is why cyber bullying is considered an extreme form of harassment. The Massachusetts legislature has made laws regarding cyber bullying sweepingly severe, this means children to adults can be charged, convicted, and penalized for Cyber bullying crimes. [Read more…]