Being accused of a crime is one of the scariest experiences you may face. The criminal process is complicated, a criminal conviction has far-reaching collateral consequences, and the anxiety and fear associated with potential prison time cannot be understated. At Urbelis Law, our experienced criminal defense attorneys take individual client’s unique circumstances into consideration when tailoring a defense. We are dedicated to fighting for each client, and we take the time to learn about each client as a person. Our clients come from all walks of life throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and we also represent businesses being investigated or charged with criminal activity. In addition to our state court practice, we regularly handle federal criminal matters in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Our record shows that we have obtained Not Guilty verdicts in more than 80% of the cases that we have taken to trial. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are here to fight for you.
All crimes must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. In Massachusetts, felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors, and the penalties may involve incarceration and significant fines. However, if you are charged with any crime, you should treat it as potentially life-altering. A criminal conviction can haunt you far into the future, but you should never assume that a conviction is assured. An experienced criminal attorney in the Boston area may be able to raise a substantive or procedural defense. For example, if your constitutional rights have been violated in connection with obtaining evidence, it may be possible to bring a motion to suppress the evidence. Without critical pieces of evidence, the prosecution may not be able to establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you do not have prior OUI (operating under the influence) convictions, your conviction will be treated as a first offense in Massachusetts. People convicted of an OUI can face possible jail time, as well as a license revocation or suspension and fines. The longest jail term that you can face for a first offense OUI is two and a half years. However, if you were carrying a passenger under age 14 at the time, you can be charged with child endangerment. If your drunk driving caused a serious bodily injury to someone else, the charge will be OUI serious bodily injury, which is charged as a felony and can result in incarceration for up to 10 years. A defense to an OUI charge may involve challenging the procedures that law enforcement used to determine a driver’s intoxication, or it may involve arguing that the initial stop of the vehicle was unjustified.Drug Crimes
Many different kinds of drugs are criminalized under MGL c. 94C, known as the Controlled Substances Act. Some drug crimes are charged as minor misdemeanors, while others are charged as serious felonies. One of the most common charges is drug possession. A prosecutor who can show the court that your property was used as part of drug activity may move for the forfeiture of your property, money, and home. However, a Boston criminal attorney may be able to raise several potential defenses to a drug charge, such as a constitutional violation related to the manner in which law enforcement seized the drugs.Violent Crimes
Violent crimes include assault, battery, kidnapping, and murder. You can be charged with a violent crime, or a crime against the person, under MGL c. 265. This chapter criminalizes a wide range of violent crimes, as well as certain sex crimes. In most cases, when there is a violent crime, there is a complaining witness or victim. Even when a victim is not available to testify, however, a prosecutor can use circumstantial evidence to seek a conviction. Our firm has experience investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding an alleged violent crime. There are situations in which we can uncover lies or inconsistent or implausible statements by the victim that can support a strong defense.Sex Crimes
Sex crimes include rape and sexual assault. What needs to be proven depends on the specific sex crime with which you are charged. Rape offenses are among the most serious felonies in Massachusetts. The prosecutor will need to establish that you had sexual intercourse with another person and compelled that person to submit by force and against their will or through a threat of bodily injury. Rape can be punished with a maximum of 20 years in prison, and then up to life in prison if there are aggravating factors associated with a particular rape charge. Defenses that a criminal lawyer in the Boston area might raise could involve asserting consent or showing inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s account of what happened.Theft Crimes
MGL c. 266 criminalizes crimes against property. Theft crimes can include minor misdemeanor shoplifting, as well as larceny and armed burglary. Generally, a prosecutor needs to prove intent, but the degree of intent varies depending on the crime. You can be charged with certain theft crimes if your actions were wanton, rather than intentional or knowing. More serious felony theft charges carry a mandatory minimum state prison sentence. A defense often involves challenging the prosecution’s ability to show the required level of intent.White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes are usually economically motivated. These crimes include racketeering, embezzlement, money laundering, insider trading, bribery, public corruption, fraud, identity theft, securities fraud, computer crimes, and tax evasion. While white collar crimes may not seem as serious as violent crimes, they can lead to harsh penalties, so you should promptly consult a Boston criminal lawyer who is experienced in handling these cases. What must be proven depends on the white collar crime being charged and the statute that covers it. For example, MGL c. 266 s. 30 provides that you can be charged with larceny by embezzlement if you convert or secrete another party’s property worth more than $250, intending to steal, embezzle, or convert that property. Thus, if you are in charge of depositing money from the cash register and pocket some of it, you may be charged with embezzlement.Gun and Weapon Crimes
Although the Second Amendment provides for a right to bear arms, this is not an absolute right. In Massachusetts, guns and other weapons are strictly regulated. In order to legally possess or own a firearm in Massachusetts, you need to have a valid firearms license. Under MGL c. 269 s. 10, you can be charged with carrying a firearm without proper licensing, and you can face a mandatory minimum sentence if you are convicted. The criminal attorneys at our Boston firm can look closely at the facts of these charges to determine whether your constitutional rights were safeguarded, or whether there is another basis to suppress evidence based on an improper search or seizure, or an improperly issued warrant to search.Administrative Hearings
Often, administrative hearings are held in connection with criminal charges. Our firm prides itself on guiding people through difficulties even before they face formal criminal charges. We may be able to represent clients at clerk magistrate hearings, at which we have often been successful in preventing formal criminal charges from being filed. We also handle probation surrender hearings and hearings before the Registry of Motor Vehicles. We also handle hearings involving 209A restraining orders; if you violate one of these orders, it can be charged as a crime. Sometimes it is possible to seal a criminal record, a procedure that can change your life, and our firm has experience helping clients with this process. Mr. Urbelis has taught other attorneys about the record sealing laws that took effect in 2012.Police Misconduct and Civil Rights
Although police officers have one of the most important jobs in a community, they sometimes abuse their power. The consequences for a victim of a police officer’s abuse of power can be tragic. Police officers have qualified immunity from civil lawsuits. They are protected against lawsuits arising out of many mistakes and bad decisions. However, this protection is limited. A police officer can be liable to a victim for damages in federal court under 42 U.S.C. s. 1983 if the officer’s conduct violated clearly established law or was not in good faith. Clients bringing police misconduct and civil rights claims should know that we will not ask you for payment unless you get compensation from your claim.Consult an Experienced Criminal Attorney in the Boston Area
If you are accused of a crime in Massachusetts, you cannot afford to take the risk of going without an attorney. We can provide a free initial consultation around the clock. Urbelis Law represents people throughout Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Essex, Worcester, and Plymouth Counties. Call us at (617) 830-2188 or contact us via our online form.