Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

In MA, drivers are required to carry liability insurance. The minimum requirements are $20,000 per person for bodily injury, $40,000 per accident for bodily injury, $8,000 for personal injury protection, and $5,000 to cover property damages and a portion of uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. Driving without insurance, or with a policy that doesn’t meet these minimum requirements, is a civil motor vehicle infraction (CMVI) in MA.

Is Driving Without Insurance a Crime?

It depends. If this is your first offense, chances are you won’t see jail time. However, if this is a second or subsequent offense, or someone was injured, it might be a different story entirely. Even if you are not criminally charged, a first offense does carry fines and a license suspension. In addition to a $500 fine, you are likely to lose your license for 60 days and pay an additional $500 to get it reinstated.

At first glance, jail time and hefty fines may seem a harsh punishment for neglecting to purchase auto insurance. But there’s a reason why motor vehicle insurance is so important. If you are involved in a collision, people could be seriously injured or killed. What if you are the at-fault driver? Who will pay the medical expenses and lost wages for those who are injured? Who will cover funeral expenses if someone is killed?

Generally, these expenses are at least partially covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If you drive without insurance, accident victims could be facing more than injuries; they could also be facing a financial catastrophe. For this reason, it is required by law to carry auto insurance before you take to the open road. A MA defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you are facing penalties for driving without insurance.

Penalties for Operating an Uninsured Vehicle

MA is tough on drivers who hit the roadways without insurance. Even for a first offense. But what about second and subsequent offenses?

If a second offense occurs within six years of your first offense, you are looking at a fine of up to $5,000, a one-year license suspension, one year in jail, and a $500 license reinstatement fee. That’s a lot of money and time behind bars. The moral to this story? Don’t drive without insurance. But if you made a mistake, an experienced Boston defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed.

Disputing a Citation for Driving an Uninsured Vehicle

If you have received a CMVI citation, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney immediately. You have 20 days in which to request a hearing, and pay the corresponding fee to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. But you have to do it right. Failure to pay your fine, or file a dispute in a timely manner, can result in additional fines and the suspension of your license. Continue reading

Sexual assault is a serious crime, and MA punishes it harshly. It is loosely defined as the unwanted and offensive sexual touching of another. The type of touching can vary widely; forced penetration is one form of sexual assault, but so is slapping a woman’s buttocks without permission. In the example of forced penetration, the crime would likely be elevated to rape.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand that humans make mistakes. Further, sometimes jealous or disgruntled ex-lovers – or individuals who wish to seek revenge – make false accusations. A Boston criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights if you’ve been charged with sexual assault.

Indecent Assault and Battery vs. Aggravated Sexual Assault

There are two types of sexual assault: indecent assault and battery, and aggravated sexual assault. In the aforementioned scenario, grabbing or slapping a woman’s buttocks without her permission would fall under the category of indecent assault and battery. If, however, the offender slapped the woman’s buttocks and pushed her to the ground, causing injury, the offender may be charged with aggravated indecent assault. If the injuries were so severe that the victim required medical attention, the charges would likely be elevated to aggravated sexual assault, which carries significantly harsher punishments. In any of the above scenarios, if the victim was forced, coerced, or manipulated into unwanted sexual contact, criminal charges will almost certainly follow.

Penalties for Sexual Assault

In MA, a conviction of sexual assault is likely to result in jail time and inclusion on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry. The following information provides additional details about the different types of indecent assault and battery and aggravated sexual assault crimes in MA, and the penalties offenders may face. A MA criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights, reputation, and freedom if you’ve been charged with sexual assault or any type of criminal offense.

  • Indecent Assault and Battery when the victim is over the age of 14: This includes any touching that is “fundamentally offensive to contemporary moral values,” such as the touching of genitals, breasts, or buttocks. This crime may result in up to five years in prison.
  • Indecent Assault and Battery when the victim is under the age of 14: When the acts above are committed against a child under the age of 14, the penalties increase substantially. This is because a minor under the age of 14 cannot consent to any type of sexual touching. The penalty for this criminal act is up to 10 years in prison.
  • Indecent Assault and Battery when the victim has an intellectual disability: Penalties of up to 10 years in prison, with a minimum sentence of five years.
  • Indecent Assault and Battery when the victim is elderly or disabled: Penalties of up to 10 years in prison when the victim has permanent or long-term physical or mental impairments.
  • Aggravated Indecent Assault and Battery when the victim is under the age of 14: This is a felony offense and may carry a sentence of life in prison. The minimum sentence is 10 years.

Continue reading

A horrific tragedy earlier this month reminds us that a vehicle can quickly become deadly on a hot day. Last week, the body of three-year-old Myles Hill was discovered in a parked van at the Little Miracles Academy day care center in Orlando. The little boy, along with several other children, had been transported from one of Little Miracles’ locations to another. When the child was found, authorities believe he had been in the van for nearly 12 hours.

According to police reports, Myles’ grandmother called the center when he didn’t get dropped off in the afternoon. Employees reported that the child had never been seen at the center that day, prompting an immediate investigation into his whereabouts. At about 8:30 that evening, Myles was found on the floor of the van, which had been parked at the center since 9:00 a.m. Outside temperatures had reached 93 degrees that day.

No Head Count

Earlier this month Martin Shkreli, the man who became infamous for jacking up the price of an AIDS medication, was convicted of securities fraud for the mismanagement of investment funds. But even a criminal conviction doesn’t seem to have humbled the 34-year-old pharmaceutical company founder. Shortly after the guilty verdict, Shkreli began a YouTube live stream from his New York apartment. As he held a beer, Shkreli predicted that a prison sentence – if he actually gets one – will be akin to a Club Med trip, where he’ll play sports and Xbox for a few months.

$11 Million Ponzi Scheme

Shkreli is accused of running a Ponzi scheme that cheated investors out of millions. More than $11 million, to be exact. The fraudulent activity allegedly occurred between 2009 and 2014, while Shkreli was CEO of Retrophin, the pharmaceutical company he founded. According to the prosecution, he used Retrophin funds to pay off investors and cover personal debts, while misleading investors as to how well their funds were performing.

“Shkreli misled investors in his self-indulgent scheme,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney. “Today’s conviction shows that those who corrupt the market will ultimately be brought to justice.” A Boston criminal defense lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with securities fraud or any other crime.

The Most Hated Man in America

Two years ago, Shkreli gained notoriety when he dramatically increased the cost of a lifesaving AIDS medication from $13.50 per pill to $750. Soon after, the Daily Beast called Shkreli the “most hated man in America.” Despite the hate, Shkreli also – disturbingly – gained some fans. He quickly acquired a YouTube following of about 200,000; streaming video of himself playing games in his pajamas and out gallivanting around New York.

In response to his recent conviction, Shkreli had the following to say: ”This could have been a real big setback for my life, but it’s gonna end up being a footnote in my life.” He believes he has no more than a “50-50” chance of ending up behind bars, and that any jail time would likely be short lived. He went on to say – speaking in the third person, “It doesn’t seem like life will change very much for Martin Shkreli, basically ever. I’m one of the richest New Yorkers there is, and after this outcome, it’s going to stay that way.” Despite his social media-bravado, if convicted, Shkreli may face up to 20 years in prison. A MA criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you’ve been charged with securities fraud.

Penalties for Securities Fraud

Individuals convicted of securities fraud may face both civil and criminal penalties. These may include:

  • Fines of $10,000 or more
  • Fines of up to $5 million, if insider trading is involved
  • Probation
  • Restitution (money paid to victims, in addition to fines)
  • Incarceration in a federal prison

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Addiction to opioid pain killers has reached epidemic proportions. In fact, some studies estimate that more deaths are caused by opioids, such as oxycodone and OxyContin, than motor vehicle accidents in the United States. The government and law enforcement agencies nationwide are struggling with how to respond to this ever-growing problem. Police are cracking down on illegal possession and distribution, but the process has not been easy. For starters, opioids are legal with a valid prescription. Further, the problem is more likely to be resolved with education and rehabilitation; jail time and criminal penalties often do more harm than good.

Most people who become addicted to opioid pain killers start with a legal prescription. Opioids are often given after painful surgical procedures that require long-term recovery, such as hip replacements and back surgeries. But even lesser injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, may be treated with opioid pain killers. The ease with which some doctors prescribe these highly-addictive drugs, and the drug manufacturers’ eagerness to fill those prescriptions, is at the center of a national debate. In response, the Justice Department has recently formed the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. The unit will focus on “investigating and prosecuting health care fraud related to prescription opioids, including pill mill schemes and pharmacies that unlawfully divert or dispense prescription opioids for illegitimate purposes.”

Some Doctors Write More Monthly Opioid Prescriptions Than Entire Hospitals

I am an attorney who has fielded this question on many occasions for more than 25 years.  Individuals call our firm from all over the Country and even the world, requesting advice and service to clear up their warrants. Having an outstanding warrant can prevent you from renewing your driver’s license.  It can also provide roadblocks and hassles trying to enter the United States  For many years people would leave Massachusetts, knowingly or unknowingly with an open court case or warrant lodged against them.  More and more, in recent years, due primarily to advances in technology, these warrants have surfaced for them and have unfortunately caught up to them. Many times, this comes as a shock to these persons who never knew about the warrant or forgot all about it.  This comes up very often when people are trying to renew their license out of state, but Massachusetts has put a hold on their license.

The short answer to the question is that very often you do not need to come back to Massachusetts to remove the default and warrant, get the underlying case disposed of, and have Massachusetts remove any hold on your license enabling you to renew your license in your particular  Jurisdiction or State.

This can often be accomplished by way of your signing a well-crafted and thoroughly prepared affidavit and allowing your attorney to use that affidavit in place of your personal appearance.   Your attorney can then speak to the assistant District Attorney and Judge and argue the facts and law on your behalf.  On many occasions, the Assistant District Attorney and/or the Judge will permit the warrant to be vacated, your case dismissed and then consequently, have the RMV release the hold on your license, if applicable.

A former Michigan prosecutor recently injured a man in a drunk driving accident. Having prosecuted many drunk drivers, Joshua Kuiper should have known better. He was charged with felony reckless driving after he crashed into Daniel Empson, who was retrieving something from a parked car. Kuiper was driving the wrong way on a one way street at the time of the incident. The former attorney was out in celebration of another prosecutor’s retirement.

Dram Shop Laws

In addition to the dangers of drunk driving, Kuiper should have known about dram shop laws. Named after the traditional term for a unit of liquor, dram shop laws hold bars liable for injuries caused by patrons they’ve over-served. Empson has filed an injury lawsuit against three bars that he alleges over-served Kuiper before the accident.

In MA, as in all states, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is illegal. When it comes to land vehicles, passengers are also prohibited from consuming alcohol while in the vehicle. But what about boats? Can boat passengers imbibe? The answer is yes. Passengers can drink alcohol on a boat, but the operator cannot. And as with cars and trucks, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher is above the legal limit.

Consequences of BUI

Although boat passengers can drink alcohol on the boat, they cannot become intoxicated. In fact, it is illegal for both the vessel owner and operator to allow anyone on board to become intoxicated while boating. If your boat is stopped by the Coast Guard or Harbor Patrol, you may face the following consequences if you are boating under the influence (BUI):

 

  • Coast Guard or Harbor Patrol may ask you to submit to a breath test and field sobriety test. You can refuse both, but if you refuse the breath test, you will likely face the consequences of refusal.
  • A refusal may result in an automatic 120-day driver’s license suspension. There are no boat licenses in MA.
  • A refusal may also result in a 120-day revocation of your boat registration.
  • If you are convicted of BUI, you may face jail time and fines in addition to the penalties above. BUI sentences are similar to OUI sentences.
  • A first offense BUI may result in up to two-and-a-half years in jail and fines of up to $1,000. If you have a prior criminal history or past BUI or OUI convictions, you may face more severe penalties.

As stated by the U.S. Coast Guard, “a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 percent is estimated to be more than 10 times as likely to die in a boating accident than an operator with zero blood alcohol concentration.” As such, the Commonwealth is tough on boating under the influence. A Boston BUI defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with BUI.

If convicted of BUI, the offense will go on your criminal record, you may face jail time and hefty fines, and you may be civilly liable for any resulting injuries or property damages. The best advice is to avoid drinking any alcohol if you are operating a boat in MA. But if you’ve made a mistake, a MA BUI defense attorney can help you protect your rights.

Serious Bodily Injury or Death

If your BUI offense caused the serious injury or death of another, you will likely face much stiffer penalties.

  • Serious bodily injury: Up to two-and-a-half years in jail and fines of at least $3,000. If reckless or negligent operation was also a factor, the offender may face up to 10 years in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
  • Death: If negligent or reckless operation was a factor, the offender may face up to 15 years in jail and fines of up to $5,000.

Continue reading

Domestic abuse is a serious matter, and a false accusation can be severely damaging to your reputation and to the criminal justice system as a whole. False accusations create an environment in which the integrity of victims of actual domestic abuse is called into question. False accusations of domestic abuse are more common than most people think. Jealousy, anger, and revenge can drive people to do unspeakable things. A Boston criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights, reputation, and freedom if you have been falsely accused of domestic abuse.

 

  • Don’t meet with your accuser alone. If you have to come into contact with your accuser, make sure that you have a witness with you, and meet in a public place. For example, if you have to pick up personal belongings, ask your partner or ex-partner to meet you in a grocery store parking lot with the items, and have someone with you during the exchange. Without a witness and a public location, the meeting could turn into another false allegation.

 

  • Seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced attorney is essential to a favorable outcome in this type of situation. A lawyer will understand the complexity of your situation and will position you for the best possible outcome. He or she will ensure that you don’t say or do the wrong thing, and that you fully understand your rights and options. The right attorney will also provide moral support during what may be an emotional process.

 

  • Avoid behaviors that may be used against you in court. Your integrity and character will be assessed in court. As such, you want to present yourself in the best light possible. To achieve this goal, it is crucial to avoid certain actions, such as engaging in arguments with your accuser, punching holes in walls, or making violent or threatening jokes. Any of these actions can make you look unstable, further substantiating your accuser’s case.

 

  • Remain calm and focused. False accusations of domestic abuse can be extremely stressful. In a stressful situation, it is easy to make poor decisions, but even one bad decision can destroy your case. This is another reason why a good lawyer is so important; a compassionate, experienced MA defense lawyer can guide you through the process so that you avoid making destructive choices. It’s also important to look after your physical and emotional health during such a stressful process. Maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and surround yourself with supportive people.

Consequences of Domestic Abuse Allegations

Beyond damage to your reputation, false allegations can create a tidal wave of other life-altering consequences, including:

  • Custody issues
  • Mediation for family disputes may be disallowed
  • The issuance of a restraining order
  • Exclusion from the family residence
  • Parenting issues
  • The need to complete anger management or treatment programs
  • Restriction of certain civil liberties

Further, if you are convicted of any type of domestic violence, you will likely receive time behind bars, hefty fines, and a criminal record. If you have been falsely accused of domestic abuse, don’t act out of anger, and don’t make the mistake of hiring an inexperienced attorney. Continue reading

In short, yes. In MA, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is above the legal limit. However, there are certain circumstances under which you can be charged with OUI with a lesser BAC. Some of these scenarios are listed below.

Zero Tolerance Laws

In Massachusetts – and across the nation – “zero tolerance” laws prohibit underage drivers from having any alcohol in their system. For this reason, even negligible traces of alcohol can result in a OUI conviction if you are under the age of 21. Zero tolerance laws may also come into play when of-age adults are driving drunk with children in the vehicle.

Obvious Impairment

Alcohol isn’t the only substance that can impair your ability to drive safely. Prescription, over the counter, and illicit drugs can be just as dangerous. If you washed down a prescription pain killer with a glass of wine, you may be visibly impaired even though your BAC is under 0.08.

The Passing of Time

If you are stopped on suspicion of OUI, a breath test may not be administered for several minutes or more. If, for example, 20 minutes pass before you submit to the breathalyzer, and the test registers a BAC of 0.07, it could be argued that your BAC had been 0.08 while driving and simply dropped due to the passage of time.

Commercial License (CDL)

If you have a CDL, your legal limit is significantly lower. A BAC of 0.04 percent or higher will result in a OUI charge, even if you weren’t driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense. If, however, you were in a commercial vehicle, you will likely face an additional one-year CDL suspension. Further, if you receive a second OUI conviction, your MA CDL will be permanently revoked.

Penalties for OUI Conviction in MA

Keep in mind that MA is tough on OUI charges; juries are rarely sympathetic to those charged with this particular offense. Having a skilled Boston OUI defense attorney is crucial to a favorable outcome. If you are convicted of OUI, you may face the following penalties:

  • First offense: 30 days to a max of 30 months in jail, fines of up to $5,000, and license suspension of up to one year.
  • Second offense: 30 days to a max of 30 months in jail, fines of up to $10,000, license suspension of up to two years, installation of ignition interlock device (IID).
  • Third offense: 150 days to up to five years in jail, fines of up to $15,000, license suspension of up to eight years, installation of IID.
  • Fourth offense: One year to up to five years in jail, fines of up to $25,000, license suspension of up to 10 years, installation of IID.
  • Fifth offense: Two years to up to five years in jail, fines of up to $50,000, permanent license revocation.

Third and subsequent OUI convictions are considered felony offenses. A MA OUI defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with OUI. Continue reading

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