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.

Boston-area Driving Leads To Weapons, Violence, Jail And Defense Lawyers

Driving around Boston and environs during the winter months can be an adventure. We know that the storms are coming…they tell us the storms are coming…yet we seem to be taken by surprise when streets are slippery. Perhaps it is because we are often already angry when we are dealing with traffic issues. From my vast experience of 25 years in criminal justice I have found that even waiting patiently in a traffic jam is quicker than getting angry, acting out, getting arrested, needing a lawyer and still having to wait quietly in traffic when you get out of custody anyway.

Hey – but that’s just me.

Not everybody sees it the same way I do. For example, during the early morning hours yesterday, four people in Springfield demonstrated such an alternate viewpoint. Of course, they got arrested and I am at home writing my daily blog.

The arrests took place after a minor two-vehicle accident turned into a violent confrontation on Chestnut and State streets.

Complete with gunfire.

“When police arrived they observed a Ford Expedition leaving the scene of the shooting,” said Springfield Police Capt. Eugene C. Dexheimer. The operator of the Expedition (hereinafter, ” Defendant Auto A”) would not stop and was spotted by other officers on Route 5 near the Forest Park entrance approaching a Ford Mustang (hereinafter, “Defendant Auto B”), Dexheimer said.

Police determined the incident began as a car accident between the two vehicles, which then led to a physical confrontation.

“The drivers of the two cars got into an argument and started throwing things at each other. Then the driver of [Defendant Auto A] intentionally rammed the vehicle, hitting [Defendant Auto B],” Dexheimer said. “Then the driver of [Defendant Auto B] took out a gun and shot once without hitting anyone.”

Randy S. 28, of Irving, Texas, who was operating Defendant Auto B, was arrested for possession of a firearm without proper identification, a possession of ammunition without proper identification, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and discharging a loaded gun within 500 feet of a dwelling. He was also assumedly advised he was no longer in the wild, wild west.

Amy S., 29, who was also in Defendant Auto B was charged with possession of a firearm without proper identification and possession of ammunition without proper identification.

Angel S., 23, of., who was a passenger in Defendant Auto A, was arrested on charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

The operator of Defendant Auto A, Marcial R., 25, Chicopee, was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon after purposely ramming Defendant Auto A into Defendant Auto B. He was also charged with several traffic violations, police said.

All four faced arraignment in Springfield District Court yesterday.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

“Road Rage” is another one of those terms that have been developed to make a particular circumstance of a crime special. Like “Domestic Violence“, Road Rage gives specialized scrutiny to what otherwise would be just another assault, firearms and maybe attempted murder case.

Yes, that often translates into heavier sentences.

I am unaware of any prior criminal record for any of these road warriors. True, it is a little disconcerting that two out of the four defendants had firearms on them. However, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt…maybe they were on their way home from a gun convention where they became overwhelmed with their pretty little firearms which they thought would make dandy paperweights, purchased the guns and simply had not had the change to get a license yet.

Hey, it could happen…!

Anyway, the point is that a Road Rage incident can indeed happen to anyone. There is really nothing special about the kind of crime except that it happens in connection with a traffic dispute. Like all other types of assault or threats cases, the allegations can also be made up by a disgruntled adversarial driver.

In fact, I have handled cases in which my client did not even know that he was supposed to have been involved in a traffic altercation until he arrived home and was greeted by the police. After all, it does not take too much brilliance to copy down a license plate number and phone it in.

It would seem obvious to us all that it is a very bad idea to engage in such an altercation. The reasons appear clearly in the illustrative tale in today’s blog.
First of all, there is the arrest factor and my original point that such an event is going to make you even later than you would have been had you just waited quietly behind the wheel.

Second, many people do drive around armed. This makes it easier to be killed. Even if your opponent does not have another weapon, there are still, at the very least, two potential weapons at the scene.

These would be the vehicles.

You would be surprised how one of them can be used to hurt or kill someone.

So, the bottom line is, you are better off staying in your car and doing whatever you can to remain calm. If you find yourself being attacked, call 911 if possible. If you find that you have been accused of some kind of Road Rage incident, the advice is the same as always. Whether you were aware of the altercation or not, call an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It is your best chance that criminal charges can be avoided or at least successfully defendant against.

The full article of this story can be found at http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/01/springfield_accident_leads_to.html?category=Crime+category=Springfield

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