August 24, 2017

Criminal Defense Blog

What are your defense options in challenging a speeding ticket at a Magistrate’s hearing?

As mentioned in a previous article, when you challenge a speeding ticket, the only police witness is the department officer of the day – not the officer who wrote the ticket.  The police evidence will consist of the officer reading the speeding ticket.  This reading, by the police, will be considered the presentation of a prima facie case to the Magistrate that the speeding offense occurred.  After the police read the ticket, you get to question the officer if you wish.  Typically this exercise is a waste of time and will not help you.  So don’t do it. Instead, testify or tell your version of the incident.

Remember that the evidentiary standard for a civil speeding violation is low.  Speeding, as a civil infraction, is a general intent violation, which means you do not knowingly have to exceed the speed limit. The fact that you were speeding at all is enough for the Magistrate to rule against you.  So be sure to determine your defense strategy prior to attending the hearing, as it is very difficult to think of a good defense at the hearing.

[Read more…]

What is a Magistrate’s hearing for a speeding ticket?

Generally, in Massachusetts, it is a hearing before the Clerk Magistrate or Assistant Clerk Magistrate of a District Court. The hearings are most often held in a room around a conference table or attendees sit across from the Magistrate’s desk.  All witnesses are sworn.

When you challenge a speeding ticket, the only police witness is the department court representative of the day – not the officer who wrote the ticket.  The police evidence will consist of the officer reading the speeding ticket.  This reading, by the police, will be considered the presentation of a prima facie case to the Magistrate that the speeding offense occurred.  After the police have read the ticket, you get to testify.

The evidentiary standard for a civil speeding violation is low.  Speeding, as a civil infraction, is a general intent violation.  Unfortunately for you (but fortunately for the rest of us), if “you dun it”, “you dun it”.  The police do not have to prove that you knowingly exceeded the speed limit. The fact that you were speeding is enough for the Magistrate to rule against you.

In the next blog, I will talk about some defense options for a civil speeding violation.

Here at Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon, P.C. we have attorneys that focus their practices in the area of criminal of law and traffic violations.  So we can offer you the best legal advice to make sure your matter is handled properly.

What should you do when you get a speeding ticket or citation?

First, be sure to read the entire ticket, including the front and back. Confirm that the alleged violation is only for speeding which is a civil infraction and that there are no accompanying criminal charges, such as negligent driving. Next, if you would like to challenge the ticket, write a check in box #2 on the back, then sign and date where indicated.  Return the signed and dated ticket or citation to the address provided under the signature line.  Do not procrastinate. Be sure to return the ticket within twenty days of the date of the ticket.  If you fail to return the ticket within the twenty-day period, you waive your right to a hearing.

In my next post, I will talk about how to conduct yourself at a Magistrate’s hearing concerning your speeding ticket or citation.  Here at Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon, P.C. we have criminal defense attorneys that focus their practices in the areas of civil and criminal litigation.  So we can offer you the best legal advice to make sure your litigation matter is handled properly.

Pulled over by a Massachusetts State Trooper or Police Officer

How should you act if you are ever pulled over by the police while driving? 

What if the officer has an attitude? 

There is an old saying; the best way to take a chip off of someone’s shoulder is to let them take a bow.  If you get pulled over by a police officer and he or she seems to be unpleasant at first, unless you have been driving really badly, you are probably not the reason for the bad attitude.  More than likely, someone has been “kicking the officer’s cat” that particular day and then you happen to come along.  One thing you should never do is act like a wronged taxpayer and remind the officer who pays his or her salary.  Be polite, cooperative and respectful. Addressing an officer in this manner will make you stand out from the majority of the public that the officer will encounter during the shift and may result in a verbal or written warning instead of a financial penalty, which may also translate into an insurance surcharge.

I am criminal defense attorney Peter Paulousky. In later blogs, I will take you through some various stop scenarios with tips based upon real life experience of 37 years during which I have been a full time police officer, a prosecutor and private attorney.

For now, remember that

  1. how you act at a stop goes into a police report;
  2. what you say gets repeated at a hearing; and
  3. the police do talk about their day in the locker room, so don’t give the officer any reason to take out his or her bad day on you.

What is a Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF)?

In Massachusetts, a continuance without a finding, or CWOF, is one manner of resolving a criminal complaint against a Defendant. A CWOF is an agreement between the Prosecutor and Defendant that the Prosecutor can demonstrate sufficient facts to the Court that the Defendant engaged in the alleged criminal activity. In return for this plea, the Court will continue the matter without rendering a verdict and instead impose conditions upon the Defendant to follow for a certain period of time. If the Defendant complies with the terms of the CWOF, the matter against him or her will be dismissed by the Court.

Understanding the implications of the different means of resolving criminal charges is critical to any Defendant. If faced with criminal charges, or an offer from a Massachusetts District Attorney’s Office to resolve a pending case, contact the Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys at Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon, P. C.

What is the best way to protect yourself in a criminal investigation?

Be polite, but say nothing.  Nothing will more surely result in a criminal charge or conviction than your own words.   Too often people feel the need to explain themselves.  If the police need help in solving the crime, the source should never be the subject of the investigation.  The same can be said for testifying at trial.  A person charged with a crime has a right to testify at trial.  Many people testify themselves into a conviction.  By saying nothing, you do not have to worry about anything being repeated by anyone. You always retain the right to remain silent. Neither the police nor the court can make any inference or assumption from your silence.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Massachusetts and require the representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer contact Attorny Peter Paulousky for an initial consultation and to discuss your particular case.

Criminal Offender Record Information Administrative Procedure Reforms

November 17, 2010 | by Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Criminal Offender Record Information Administrative Procedure Reforms (PDF Version)

On August 6, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Chapter 256 of the Acts of 2010, “An Act Reforming the Administrative Procedures Relative to Criminal Offender Record Information and Pre- and Post-Trial Supervised Release” (“CORI Reform”). Effective November 4, 2010, the Act prevents employers from seeking disclosure of job applicants’ criminal record information prior to the interview stage of the hiring process.1 This law is subject to two limited exceptions discussed below. The law, codified at G.L. c. 151B, § 4(9½) (www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2010/Chapter256), is enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).

[Read more…]

New Massachusetts Law Bans Text Messaging While Driving Effective September 30th

September 1, 2010 | by Attorney Michael Doherty

In July 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed a new law that makes it illegal to text while driving starting September 30, 2010. The law comes in the wake of a recent study that found texting while driving makes an individual twenty times more like to be involved in a car crash or near-crash. The goal of the law is to increase public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and hopefully reduce the number of accidents caused by texting motorists.

[Read more…]

Attorneys in Franklin Massachusetts and Medfield MA lawyers

The Massachusetts attorneys of Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon provide legal services to Massachusetts businesses, families, and individuals in the practice areas of business law, criminal defense, divorce and family law, employment law, estate planning, personal injury, real estate, and litigation matters.

Our attorneys represent clients throughout Massachusetts and in every county of Massachusetts including Norfolk County, Suffolk County, Worcester County, Bristol County, Middlesex County, Plymouth County, Hamden County, Essex County and Barnstable County. Our attorneys represent clients in Massachusetts’ largest communities including the cities of Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Cambridge, Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, Lynn, and Quincy.

Our law offices are located in Franklin and Medfield and serve the Greater Boston MetroWest region and the neighboring towns of Bellingham, Milford, Upton, Hopedale, Holliston, Medway, Millis, Medfield, Norwood, Walpole, Sharon, Foxborough, Wrentham, Easton, Mansfield, North Attleboro, Norton, Plainville, Raynham, Taunton, Attleboro, Seekonk, Rehoboth, Uxbridge, Whitinsville, and Worcester.