201705.18
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UTTERING A FALSE CHECK REQUIRES MORE THAN WRITING BAD CHECKS

In Commonwealth v. Bonilla, the Massachusetts Appeals Court overturned a conviction of uttering a false instrument, holding that, where a defendant deposits checks into several new bank accounts, knowing that the checks are bad because there is no money in the account tied to those checks, the defendant commits a larceny when he subsequently withdraws…

201705.04
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ARE THE POLICE ALLOWED TO TOW MY CAR WHEN I’M ARRESTED?

Whether because of the lower standard applied to motor vehicle stops (often reasonable suspicion instead of probable cause), or whether due to another reason, a great number of arrests begin with a motor vehicle stop.  When the police arrest the driver of a vehicle, one issue that must be addressed immediately is what to do…

201704.28
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PRETRIAL DIVERSION UNDER THE VALOR ACT

In 2012, the Massachusetts legislature enacted the VALOR Act, which, among other things, amended the pretrial diversion procedures in the criminal courts so as to allow judges flexibility when dealing with military veterans.  Defense attorneys and prosecutors have been arguing over the correct interpretation and implementation of the statute ever since. The most common disagreement…

201704.20
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ALL I TOLD THE POLICE WAS “I DON’T KNOW.”

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 268, section 13B criminalizes “witness intimidation.”  This exceptionally broad statute prohibits a panoply of conduct, and perhaps most often comes into play when an individual grabs a cellphone from another person who is alleged to have been trying to call the police.  I have represented many clients charged with “witness intimidation”…

201703.31
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WHAT ARE THE MARIJUANA LAWS IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 2017 AND AFTER?

Effective December 15, 2016, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (the “Act”) makes the non-medical recreational possession of marijuana legal for all adults, subject to certain limitations. The first thing to note is that the Act only applies to adults 21 and over.  Under age 21, the prior law decriminalizing marijuana up to an…

201703.21
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WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BAIL MONEY?

When a person is arraigned on criminal charges (arraignment means the first court appearance, at which the defendant is told about what the criminal charges are against them, and then asked if they want to represent themselves or rather want a lawyer to represent them), the matter of bail is always on the table.  If…