Indecent Exposure

People who have been charged with a sex crime, like indecent exposure, should always consult with a trustworthy Massachusetts sex crime defense lawyer. Even though indecent exposure is usually categorized as a misdemeanor offense, people who are convicted of this sex crime may have to pay fines, do community service, and attend counseling. These legal consequences not only cause a person numerous setbacks, but can also limit a person’s quality of life for many years to come. For this reason, people should always hire a Massachusetts indecent exposure defense attorney who will place every effort into securing a winning case outcome on their behalf.

EARLY INTERVENTION IS THE KEY TO A PROPER DEFENSE

It is extremely important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney begin working on your case as early as possible. Critical issues, such as how your particular case will be filed and what charges will be leveled against you, are decided, many a time, very soon after your arrest or during the investigatory period. Early intervention gives us an opportunity to potentially reduce or dismiss either felony or misdemeanor charges against you before the first court date.

MA INDECENT EXPOSURE PENALTIES

• Imprisonment in Jail or House of Corrections for Not More Than Six (6) Months
• Fine of Not More than Two Hundred ($200) Dollars

Chapter 272: Section 53. Penalty for certain offenses
Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons of the opposite sex, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Open and Gross Lewdness

Every sex crime arrest is serious. Every arrest—even for open and gross lewdness—puts the arrested person into a justice system that will label that person as an alleged sex criminal. If you are convicted this can mean years as a registered sex offender.

Open and Gross Lewdness may seem like a lesser charge, something you can simply plead to and put behind you so that you can avoid the hassle of a trial. Before you make that decision, talk to a skilled Massachusetts Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer.

EARLY INTERVENTION IS THE KEY TO A PROPER DEFENSE

It is extremely important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney begin working on your case as early as possible. Critical issues, such as how your particular case will be filed and what charges will be leveled against you, are decided, many a time, very soon after your arrest or during the investigatory period. Early intervention gives us an opportunity to potentially reduce or dismiss either felony or misdemeanor charges against you before the first court date.

MA OPEN AND GROSS PENALTIES

• State Prison Not More Than Three (3) Years, OR
• Jail Not More Than Two (2) Years, AND / OR
• Fine Not More Than Three Hundred ($300) Dollars

MA OPEN AND GROSS LEWDNESS LAW

Chapter 272: Section 16.
Open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior.
A man or woman, married or unmarried, who is guilty of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars.

Exhibition of a Child in Nudity or Sexual Conduct

MA EXHIBITING A CHILD IN SEXUAL CONDUCT PENALTIES

• State Prison Not Less Than Ten (10) Years But Not More Than Twenty (20) Years AND / OR
• Fine of Not Less Than Ten Thousand ($10,000) But Not More Than Ten Thousand ($50,000) Dollars

EXHIBITING A CHILD IN SEXUAL CONDUCT LAW

Chapter 272: Section 29A.
Posing or exhibiting child in state of nudity or sexual conduct:
(a) Whoever, either with knowledge that a person is a child under eighteen years of age or while in possession of such facts that he should have reason to know that such person is a child under eighteen years of age, and with lascivious intent, hires, coerces, solicits or entices, employs, procures, uses, causes, encourages, or knowingly permits such child to pose or be exhibited in a state of nudity, for the purpose of representation or reproduction in any visual material, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of not less than ten nor more than twenty years, or by a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(b) Whoever, either with knowledge that a person is a child under eighteen years of age or while in possession of such facts that he should have reason to know that such person is a child under eighteen years of age, hires, coerces, solicits or entices, employs, procures, uses, causes, encourages, or knowingly permits such child to participate or engage in any act that depicts, describes, or represents sexual conduct for the purpose of representation or reproduction in any visual material, or to engage in any live performance involving sexual conduct, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of not less than ten nor more than twenty years, or by a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(c) In a prosecution under this section, a minor shall be deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct of the defendant for which said defendant is being prosecuted.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the determination whether the person in any visual material prohibited here under is under eighteen years of age may be made by the personal testimony of such person, by the testimony of a person who produced, processed, published, printed or manufactured such visual material that the child therein was known to him to be under eighteen years of age, or by expert medical testimony as to the age of the person based upon the person’s physical appearance, by inspection of the visual material, or by any other method authorized by any general or special law or by any applicable rule of evidence.

Sexting

Sexting is serious.

“Sexting” is the increasingly-common practice of sending nude or suggestive pictures of oneself or someone else by text message on a cell phone.  Such messages also sometimes are sent by email or other methods, but most often what we refer to as “sexting” involves a cell-phone.

This is a dangerous practice, because if it involves pictures of people who are younger than 18, sexting may violate the laws of Massachusetts that were established to protect children. The child pornography laws in Massachusetts are all felonies; they are quite serious, and there are no “lesser” charges (i.e. misdemeanors) that apply to this conduct. Incidents of “sexting” are taken very seriously by schools and law enforcement, and sometimes result in criminal charges.

There are several charges that can result from sexting.

Posing a Child in a State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct.

It is illegal for anyone, with lascivious intent, to knowingly encourage, cause, coerce, solicit, or entice a person under 18 years of age – male or female – to pose or be shown in a state of nudity (or semi-nudity) for the purpose of photographing them.

Thus, in many circumstances, encouraging a person, even a friend, who is under 18 to take a photo of themselves nude, or of body parts considered sexual in nature, with their cell phone or digital camera, may violate this statute.

Dissemination of Pictures of a Child in a State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct.

It is illegal for anyone, with lascivious intent, to knowingly send out or disseminate pictures of a person under 18 (1) in a state of nudity (or semi-nudity) or (2) engaged in a sexual act.

Thus, for example, a sixteen year old who photographs him or herself nude, and sends it to their boyfriend or girlfriend, violates this statute. A person who receives such a picture attached to an email, for example, and who knowingly forwards it to another person, may also be in violation of this law.

Possession of Child Pornography.

It is illegal for anyone to knowingly possess photographs (in any format) which depict a person under the age of 18 posed with a lewd exhibition of genitals, buttocks, breasts or engaged in an actual or simulated sexual acts.

Having lewd photographs of another person’s exposed genitals, for example, whether it be a friend or stranger, who is under 18, on your cell phone or home computer, violates this statute. Knowingly possessing it, even without sending it on to another person, is illegal.

Dissemination of Harmful Matter to a Minor.

It is illegal for anyone to knowingly send to any person under the age of 18 matter considered to be “harmful. “Harmful matter” includes things that are obscene or pornographic in nature.

Thus when an 18 year old photographs his or her genitals, for example, and sends it to their 17 year old girlfriend or boyfriend, they are in violation of this statute.

Other Potential Consequences:

A conviction in criminal court resulting from “sexting” may have other serious consequences. In addition to the potential jail sentence and/or fine imposed by a Judge, a conviction for the offenses described above may require registration as a Sex Offender for the next 20 years.

A conviction for any of the above-described offenses results in a “felony conviction,” which can trigger a restriction of school activities, such as sports, denial of college admission, and denial of student loan eligibility. A felony conviction mandates that a DNA sample be provided to the state. A felony conviction may also affect future employment opportunities, such as those offered in law enforcement and other high-security clearance positions.

Even without a criminal conviction, “sexting” may be addressed within school, and could potentially result in suspension or expulsion.

Stalking

EARLY INTERVENTION IS THE KEY TO A PROPER DEFENSE

It is extremely important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney begin working on your case as early as possible. Critical issues, such as how your particular case will be filed and what charges will be leveled against you, are decided, many a time, very soon after your arrest or during the investigatory period. Early intervention gives us an opportunity to potentially reduce or dismiss either felony or misdemeanor charges against you before the first court date.

MASSACHUSETTS STALKING PENALTIES

Stalking – First Offense
• State Prison Not More Than Five (5) Years OR
• House of Correction Not More Than Two and One-Half (2 ½) Years AND
• Fine of Not More Than One-Thousand ($1,000)

Stalking – Second Offense
• State Prison or Jail For Not Less Than Two (2) Years But Not More Than Ten (10) Years

Stalking in Violation of a No Contact Order
• State Prison or Jail For Not Less Than One (1) Year But Not More Than Five (5) Years

Contact a MA Stalking Defense Lawyer at (508) 343-0676 or CLICK HERE

MASSACHUSETTS STALKING LAW

Chapter 265: Section 43. Stalking; punishment
(a) Whoever (1) willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and (2) makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury, shall be guilty of the crime of stalking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or both. Such conduct, acts or threats described in this paragraph shall include, but not be limited to, conduct, acts or threats conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications and facsimile communications.

(b) Whoever commits the crime of stalking in violation of a temporary or permanent vacate, restraining, or no-contact order or judgment issued pursuant to sections eighteen, thirty-four B, or thirty-four C of chapter two hundred and eight; or section thirty-two of chapter two hundred and nine; or sections three, four, or five of chapter two hundred and nine A; or sections fifteen or twenty of chapter two hundred and nine C or a protection order issued by another jurisdiction; or a temporary restraining order or preliminary or permanent injunction issued by the superior court, shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or the state prison for not less than one year and not more than five years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this subsection shall be less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year.

A prosecution commenced here under shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding, and the sentence imposed upon a person convicted of violating any provision of this subsection shall not be reduced to less than the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment as established herein, nor shall said sentence of imprisonment imposed upon any person be suspended or reduced until such person shall have served said mandatory term of imprisonment.

A person convicted of violating any provision of this subsection shall not, until he shall have served the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment established herein, be eligible for probation, parole, furlough, work release or receive any deduction from his sentence for good conduct under sections one hundred and twenty-nine, one hundred and twenty-nine C and one hundred and twenty-nine D of chapter one hundred and twenty-seven; provided, however, that the commissioner of correction may, on the recommendation of the warden, superintendent, or other person in charge of a correctional institution, grant to said offender a temporary release in the custody of an officer of such institution for the following purposes only: to attend the funeral of next of kin or spouse; to visit a critically ill close relative or spouse; or to obtain emergency medical services unavailable at said institution. The provisions of section eighty-seven of chapter two hundred and seventy-six relating to the power of the court to place certain offenders on probation shall not apply to any person seventeen years of age or over charged with a violation of this subsection. The provisions of section thirty-one of chapter two hundred and seventy-nine shall not apply to any person convicted of violating any provision of this subsection.

(c) Whoever, after having been convicted of the crime of stalking, commits a second or subsequent such crime shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or the state prison for not less than two years and not more than ten years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this subsection shall be less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years.

A prosecution commenced here under shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding, and the sentence imposed upon a person convicted of violating any provision of this subsection shall not be reduced to less than the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment as established herein, nor shall said sentence of imprisonment imposed upon any person be suspended or reduced until such person shall have served said mandatory term of imprisonment.

A person convicted of violating any provision of this subsection shall not, until he shall have served the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment established herein, be eligible for probation, parole, furlough, work release or receive any deduction from his sentence for good conduct under sections one hundred and twenty-nine, one hundred and twenty-nine C and one hundred and twenty-nine D of chapter one hundred and twenty-seven; provided, however, that the commissioner of correction may, on the recommendation of the warden, superintendent, or other person in charge of a correctional institution, grant to said offender a temporary release in the custody of an officer of such institution for the following purposes only: to attend the funeral of next of kin or spouse; to visit a critically ill close relative or spouse; or to obtain emergency medical services unavailable at said institution. The provisions of section eighty-seven of chapter two hundred and seventy-six relating to the power of the court to place certain offenders on probation shall not apply to any person seventeen years of age or over charged with a violation of this subsection. The provisions of section thirty-one of chapter two hundred and seventy-nine shall not apply to any person convicted of violating any provision of this section.

Statutory Rape

If you have been charged with statutory rape, it is important that you immediately contact a highly skilled Massachusetts sex crimes defense attorney. With your reputation and freedom at risk, the stakes are too high not to have an experienced attorney making preparations for your best defense.

In Massachusetts, law enforcement responds aggressively to all accusations of statutory rape. In some cases, the minor’s parents will not want to press charges, but Massachusetts law enforcement will. Police, social workers, and prosecutors investigate cases of statutory rape vigorously. These investigations can damage the accused person’s career, ruin their reputation, and cause him/her to be shunned by society.

AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Although any adult can be charged with statutory rape, college students are particularly vulnerable because of their relationship with high school students. They may be dating younger girls or meet them at parties. Even if intercourse was consensual, however, the police can still charge you with statutory rape.

MA STATUTORY RAPE DEFENSE

In order to sustain a conviction under this section, the Commonwealth must prove:

1. Sexual Intercourse occurred (performing oral or receiving oral is considered intercourse for purposes of this statute).
2. With a child under sixteen years of age.

WARNING!! Consent is not an element of statutory rape. Statutory rape is a strict liability crime meaning an honest mistake as to the age or identity of the victim is NOT a defense. It is also not a defense that the victim lied about being older, the victim appeared older or someone told you the victim was older. Under this statute, the child is considered incapable, as a matter of law, of giving any effective consent.

MA STATUTORY RAPE PENALTIES

First Offense Penalties
1. Felony.
2. Imprisonment up to Life.
3. Sex Offender Registration.

Second or Subsequent Offense Penalties
1. Felony.
2. Fifteen (15) Years up to Life.
3. Sex Offender Registration.

MASSACHUSETTS STATUTORY RAPE LAW

Chapter 265: Section 23.
Rape and Abuse of a Child
Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under 16 years of age, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction. A prosecution commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file.

Indecent Assault and Battery

Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person Aged Fourteen or Older

Indecent assault and battery on a person aged fourteen or older is a criminal offense under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13H. An assault and battery is an intentional and unjustified use of force upon another’s person, however slight. Since violent force is not usually involved in this offense, “force” in this context is usually no more than a touching. An indecent assault and battery is an intentional and unjustified touching of a private area, including, but not limited to, the breast, abdomen, thigh, buttocks, genital or pubic areas of a female or the buttocks, genital or pubic areas of a male. Whether the body part is a “private area” is determined in the context in which the touching occurred.This crime is a general intent crime as opposed to a specific crime in Massachusetts. Regardless of how the law reads we view many general intent crimes as crimes that lower the district attorney’s burden of proof. In some sense it undermines any defense that centers on accident or an absence of intent. This unfortunate nuance to this law makes it necessary for you to hire someone who has practiced criminal defense law in Massachusetts for decades. There is no substitute for experience.

What Are The Elements of Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person Fourteen or Older in Massachusetts?
To be convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person aged fourteen or older, the prosecutor must prove all of the following six elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

The alleged victim was over the age of fourteen.
The defendant intended to engage in the touching;
The defendant committed the touching;
The touching was harmful or offensive;
The touching was indecent.A touching is indecent when it is contrary to societal norms and is offensive to current moral values in that would be considered “immodest, immoral and improper.” Indecency is measured by “common understanding and practice.” This definition gives persons of normal intelligence an opportunity to know what is proscribed. And;
There was no justification or excuse for the touching.
What Will Happen to me if I am Convicted of Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person Fourteen or Older?
If you are convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person aged fourteen or older, you face imprisonment in the state prison for up to five years or imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for up to two and one-half years. You are also going to have to register as a sex offender. You will probably have to fight the offender level you get assigned as the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board initially assigns levels that we believe are higher than the person deserves.

Even if you are a first time offender, an Indecent Assault and Battery conviction in Massachusetts carries one of the greatest risks for serving a very long state prison sentence, in addition to spending a lifetime as a registered sex offender. However, false accusations unfortunately are frequently made against innocent people and result in prosecutors issuing bizarre and illogical indecent assault and battery charges that can turn the accused person’s life upside down in an instant.

SERIOUS CHARGES REQUIRE A SERIOUS DEFENSE

MA INDECENT A&B PENALTIES

Indecent Assault and Battery is an incredibly serious charge that will result in long prison sentences and hefty fines upon conviction. In addition, if you are found guilty, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This means that every year you must provide your name and address to your local police department. Furthermore, your reputation will be destroyed. You will be prohibited from holding certain professions, and may have difficulty finding housing or obtaining a loan. You will also be prohibited from spending time alone with children, even if they are your own kids.

MA INDECENT A&B DEFENSE STRATEGY

Each case has different facts and will require a unique approach. We analyze the case and determine the most effective presentation of your case. We will work hard to develop an effective indecent assault and battery defense strategy.

• We utilize DNA experts to challenge the validity of any DNA evidence.
• When a case lacks DNA evidence, we use this fact to our client’s advantage.
• We listen to our client’s story. Was the act consensual?
• Did the police violate our client’s rights by coercing a confession?
• Was the accuser known for making false accusations?

Your reputation can be seriously damaged by allegations of Indecent Assault and Battery. Society is quick to jump to conclusions. We fight to protect your rights, preserve your freedom and preserve your reputation. Click Here to schedule a free initial consultation.

DEFENSE OF INDECENT A&B ON PERSON UNDER 14

There are four elements the Commonwealth must prove:
1. The alleged victim was at least fourteen years old at the time of the offense;
2. The defendant committed an assault and battery on the alleged victim. An A&B is the intentional touching of another person, without justification or consent.
3. The Commonwealth must prove the A&B was “indecent”. An A&B is “indecent” if it involves touching parts of the body commonly thought of as private, such as genitals, buttocks and a woman’s breasts.
4. The Commonwealth must prove the alleged victim did not consent.

MA Indecent Assault and Battery 14 and Older

First Offense Penalties
1. Felony.
2. State Prison up to Five (5) Years or;
3. House of Correction up to Two and One-Half (2.5) Years;
4. Sex Offender Registration.

If the victim is 60 years or older or disabled as defined in Section 13K
1. Felony.
2. State Prison up to Ten (10) Years or;
3. House of Correction up to Two and One-Half (2.5) Years;
4. Sex Offender Registration.

If the Defendant is convicted of a second or subsequent offense
1. Felony.
2. State Prison up to Twenty (20) Years.
3. Sex Offender Registration.

Chapter 265: Section 13H.
Indecent Assault and Battery on Person Fourteen or Older; Penalties
Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age fourteen shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.

Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on an elder or person with a disability, as defined in section 13K, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, and whoever commits a second or subsequent such offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 20 years. A prosecution commenced under this paragraph shall not be placed on file nor continued without a finding.

MA Indecent Assault and Battery Mentally Retarded Person

First Offense Penalties
1. Felony.
2. State Prison Five (5) to Ten (10) Years.
3. Sex Offender Registration.

Second or Subsequent Offense Penalties
1. Felony.
2. State Prison not less than Ten (10) Years.
3. Sex Offender Registration.

Chapter 265: Section 13F.
Indecent Assault and Battery Mentally on Retarded Person; Assault and Battery
Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a mentally retarded person knowing such person to be mentally retarded shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five years or not more than ten years; and for a second or subsequent offense, by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than ten years. Except in the case of a conviction for the first offense for violation of this section, the imposition or execution of the sentence shall not be suspended, and no probation or parole shall be granted until the minimum imprisonment herein provided for the offense shall have been served. This section shall not apply to the commission of an indecent assault and battery by a mentally retarded person upon another mentally retarded person.

Whoever commits an assault and battery on a mentally retarded person knowing such person to be mentally retarded shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years; and, for a second or subsequent offense, by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years. This section shall not apply to the commission of an assault and battery by a mentally retarded person upon another mentally retarded person.

MA Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under Age of 14

WARNING!! In a prosecution under this section, a child under the age of 14 years shall be deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct of the defendant for which such defendant is being prosecuted.

First Offense Penalties
1. Felony.
2. State Prison up to Ten (10) Years or;
3. House of Correction up to Two and One-Half (2.5) Years;
4. Sex Offender Registration.

Second or Subsequent Offense Penalties
1. Felony.
2. State Prison Up to Life.
3. Sex Offender Registration.

Chapter 265: Section 13B.
Indecent assault and battery on child under age of 14; Penalties
Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years. A prosecution commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file.

In a prosecution under this section, a child under the age of 14 years shall be deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct of the defendant for which such defendant is being prosecuted.

Manslaughter

Involuntary vs Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
In the criminal justice system, a person may be charged with Manslaughter if they cause the death of another person. This charge is different than murder, which applies when the situation involves premeditation or malice aforethought. Yes, manslaughter is a form of murder, but the justice system views it as very different from a deliberate act that results in death.

There are two forms of manslaughter charges, involuntary and voluntary. Both are felony criminal charges, but they carry different penalties and have a different set of circumstances leading up to the death of a victim.

Involuntary Manslaughter – when a murder occurs, but the suspect had no intention to kill
Voluntary Manslaughter – when a murder is committed in retaliation for a reasonable provocation as defined by the law
To illustrate the differences between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter, consider a few examples.

Involuntary:

The death occurred while the suspect was committing another felony, like burglary or robbery.
A death occurred when the suspect caused a vehicle accident.

Voluntary:

You are under duress and in the heat of an argument and while provoked you kill someone at that time. A killing that occurs during mutual combat.

The court has discretion in placing charges for murder or manslaughter. The details and elements of anger, provocation, premeditation and timing all enter into that decision about which type of manslaughter will be charged when there is a killing.

Felony Manslaughter Charges

Felony Manslaughter carries tougher penalties for the convicted person. There will be fines and jail time, as there is with other felony convictions. A judge will look at the circumstances of the crime, and base sentencing on evidence that clarifies elements like aggravating and mitigating factors.

The penalties for voluntary manslaughter are considerably tougher than those for involuntary manslaughter. For example, an involuntary manslaughter charge that results when someone kills another person in a vehicle accident caused by their own negligent behavior is more of an unfortunate coincidence than a deliberate killing. While the negligent behavior exhibited by the driver is a crime, the actual murder was not premeditated or planned.

With voluntary manslaughter charges, the suspect faces a much longer time in prison, higher fines and other penalties. This is viewed as a deliberate act, although not a premeditated murder. Since premeditation is normally a factor in a murder charge, most murder charges are not reduced to manslaughter and they bear much more severe penalties, including a possible death sentence.

Massachusetts Manslaughter Laws

The state of Massachusetts recognizes both types of manslaughter charges – involuntary and voluntary. The judge does have guidelines to follow, but any sentence will depend on the particular facts of each case.

There are many factors that can cause a person to kill someone else. Sometimes, the person committing murder believes it is justified, but the courts would disagree. Each case is unique, and the court will look closely at all evidence. Timing is one element of concern. If a person commits a murder in the heat of passion, they could be charged with manslaughter rather than murder. If however, someone was involved in a heated argument, got mad and left, and later returned with a weapon and killed someone, it most likely would be charged as a murder and not manslaughter. They had time to cool off, but also to think about (premeditate) how to get back at that other person.

Who the person is can be another factor in any decision about criminal charges. If they are related to the person who was killed, it could be that there were emotions that interfered with judgment. One key in deciding whether to charge someone with manslaughter is reasonable provocation. Was there undue provocation leading up to the moment of killing? Was the suspect in some way a victim of harassment, unfair arrest tactics or attacked?

Sentencing Factors

Any special circumstances leading to the incident and death will be examined. If there are aggravating factors, the crime is viewed as more serious. Mitigating factors, such as provocation, allow the crime to be considered as less serious. Sentencing is done on an objective basis, without attention to certain factors that others may feel could be relevant, such as physical appearance of the subject or any previous head injury that might interfere with their ability to make a reasonable judgment.

Punishment

Generally, a conviction on voluntary manslaughter will get you at least three years, and up to 20 years in a state prison, along with high fines and possibly victim restitution. A conviction for involuntary manslaughter leads to a sentence of 10-16 months in prison, but that can be increased if the incident was due to recklessness. There is a minimum sentence when involuntary manslaughter is caused with a car.

Criminal Defense Lawyer – Manslaughter

If you, a loved one or friend are accused of killing someone, it is essential to obtain an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. They will examine the case thoroughly and help you make important decisions about your case. They will have full understanding of state laws and the various charges that could be placed against you for manslaughter, voluntary or involuntary. They can argue to have charges reduced from murder to manslaughter and represent you at hearings, court trials and appeals.

Your Criminal Defense Attorney will compile a sound case to present to a jury or judge. They will act on your behalf to achieve the best possible results. If an appeal is needed, they will argue aggressively to get you the results you want, possibly a reduced charge or sentence. Do not hesitate to call for an appointment to discuss your case in confidence with an experienced Criminal Defense Manslaughter Lawyer.

Citations:

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Manslaughter
http://statelaws.findlaw.com/massachusetts-law/massachusetts-voluntary-manslaughter-law.html

School Zone Drug Violations

School Zone Mandatory Minimum.

In Massachusetts, otherwise relatively simple drug charges are dramatically escalated when they occur within 300 feet of a school or park (this distance was reduced from 1,000 feet to 300 feet in 2012). When someone is charged with a drug offense in a “school zone,” the penalty for the school zone violation includes a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in jail, which must be imposed “from-and-after” the punishment for the underlying drug offense. This means the mandatory minimum does not even begin to run until the punishment for the underlying offense is done.

For example, if you are sentenced to sixty days for possession and the two year mandatory minimum because you were arrested in a school zone, then you must serve the sixty days in jail, then begin the two year sentence on day 61.

Defending a School Zone Charge.

First, before the Commonwealth can prove a violation of the school zone law, it must prove the underlying drug charge.

Second, the Commonwealth must prove that the violation occurred within 300 feet of a school, park, daycare center, or other similar location described in the statute.

Beyond the defense of the underlying charge, there are viable defenses to the allegation that the offense occurred in a school zone. The police and district attorneys are not often required to prove that a given property is a “school” or “park” as defined in the statute. Nor are they often required to prove the distance from one point to another, which is required to prove a school zone violation. Sometimes, the police bring the charge of a school zone violation based on any approximations made beforehand, which may have never been tested, but if the Commonwealth wants to impose a mandatory minimum because of a school zone violation, even the measurements made by police must be called into question.

Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon

Assault & Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon

woman with knifeThe crime of Massachusetts Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon (“ABDW,” in legal shorthand) is a more serious form of the lesser offense of “simple” Assault and Battery (“simple” doesn’t mean the offense isn’t serious; it only means that other, more serious legal elements aren’t present.) Governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 15A, Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon is indeed a very serious offense in Massachusetts, and one that prosecutors inside District Attorneys’ offices don’t take lightly. Anyone who is charged with this offense is going to need an experienced Massachusetts Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon lawyer defending their case. If the lawyer who represents you only handles these types of cases “occasionally,” you’re probably going to end up in a lot of legal trouble, and with an outcome that you never wanted.

LEGAL ELEMENTS OF THIS CRIME, AND WHAT THE COMMONWEALTH MUST PROVE TO OBTAIN A CONVICTION

There are two legal elements of this crime:

  1. The defendant intended to commit, and did commit, an underlying assault and battery. (Click on this link to learn the legal elements of assault and battery.)
  2. The defendant assaulted and/or battered the victim with the use of a dangerous weapon.

To secure a conviction on this charge, the prosecution must prove these two legal elements to a jury or judge beyond a reasonable doubt (that’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever watched a TV crime show).

However, here’s where these cases can become tricky: The Massachusetts Legislature has never defined the term “Dangerous Weapon.” So, exactly what is one? Many times, as with the use of a gun or knife, the answer is obvious and not subject to debate. Other times, however, the answer isn’t so clear. Case law has provided the courts with a general legal interpretation, which broadly speaking, is as follows: A “dangerous weapon” is any weapon that the defendant exercised under his control during the alleged commission of the crime, which is likely to cause death or inflict serious bodily injury. Many items, not normally considered dangerous, can be legally deemed to constitute a “dangerous weapon,” owing to the manner in which the item(s) was used by the defendant in the process of allegedly committing the assault and battery. Some unlikely examples: A chair; a book; a pen. More obvious examples: A small baseball bat; a paperweight. Or even a woman’s stiletto heel.

Because of the much more severe sentences and punishments that follow a conviction of Massachusetts Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon, (See Penalties, below,) the primary legal challenge in these cases is to get the charges reduced to “simple” assault and battery. To successfully do this, it is critical that your Massachusetts assault and battery with a dangerous weapon lawyer be extremely experienced at this skill, and possess an expert-level qualification with these cases. Do not make a mistake in your choice of attorney, or you could end up facing a state prison term.  We have been very successful in either dismissing these charges outright or in reducing the charges to eliminate the exposure to a severe prison sentence. 

PENALTIES UPON CONVICTION – BASIC PUNISHMENT

The statute governing this crime provides for “base” penalties, which are increased if certain additional factors accompany the commission of the crime. The statute provides for base punishment ranges of either a maximum state prison sentence of 10 years, or a sentence to a County Jail/House of Correction for a maximum of 2.5 years, or a maximum fine of $5,000, or both incarceration and a fine. Note: As I’ve said elsewhere on this website, a state prison sentence is not the same as a sentence to a County Jail/House of Correction. County Jail sentences usually run no longer than 2.5 years, and inmates there are generally incarcerated for more minor offenses. State prison is very different: Sentences are much longer than 2.5 years, the inmates imprisoned there are generally being incarcerated for very violent offenses, and the overall environment is very severe. Take our word for it: You don’t want to end up there.

ADDITIONAL PENALTIES AND PUNISHMENT

When certain additional factors are present with the charge of Massachusetts Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, the punishment following a conviction is increased substantially. The penalties escalate when one of the following four additional factors are present:

  • The defendant inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim
  • The defendant committed the underlying assault and battery against a victim who the defendant knew or had reason to know was pregnant when the incident occurred
  • The defendant committed the underlying assault and battery against a person that the defendant knew had an Abuse Prevention Order (Restraining Order) or a Harassment Prevention Order against him or her when the incident occurred
  • The defendant was age 17 years or older at the time of the incident, and committed the underlying assault and battery against a victim who was age 14 or less

If any one of these additional factors above is present, the punishment increases to a maximum of 15 years’ incarceration in state prison, or a sentence to a County Jail/House of Correction for a maximum of 2.5 years, and a maximum fine of $10,000.00

It doesn’t end there. An additional factor that results in more severe punishment is when a defendant is convicted of committing an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person who is age 60 years or older, for the second time. For this second offense, a defendant is subject to incarceration of up to 10 years in state prison, or a maximum of 2.5 years in a County Jail/House of Correction, or a maximum fine of $1,000.00. Upon conviction of a second offense, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least 2 years.