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.

The Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog Examines Career Criminal And Felonies

Somebody should break the news to Anthony W. Of New Bedford (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) that the criminal justice system does not give extra points for consistency. This Boston criminal defense attorney can tell you, however, that it does give extra time as a lodger in Commonwealth housing.

The Defendant has just added arrest number 231 to his 27 page rap sheet.

According to the New Bedford Police, the Defendant reached this milestone on Monday after littering and leading police on a chase.

“Hey, couldn’t this be a misunderstanding?”, you say. After all, the poor lad could simply have accidently dropped the offending trash while jogging…!

“I certainly wouldn’t characterize him as misunderstood,” said Lt. Jeffrey P. Silva. “I would characterize him as a career criminal.”

Silva said Officer Shawn Robert pulled the Defendant over near the corner of County and Mill Streets after he saw the Defendant throw trash from his vehicle. Rather than look the other way and chalk it up to a minor offense, the officer stopped the Defendant’s car.

Initially the Defendant pulled over. That was the good news.

Then, it turned out the Defendant had neither a license nor registration. That was the he bad news.

The Defendant then told the officer that he didn’t have time for this, and then drove off, nearly running Officer Robert over. That was very bad news.

A brief car chase ensued and the Defendant was eventually captured and arrested in Taunton.

“You would think that if he’s being chased down by four police officers, he would realize that this was going to be arrest 231,” said Silva. “But, instead of stopping at that point, he rolled his car on four flat tires into the breakdown lane.”

The Defendant was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.

“He told officer Robert he didn’t have time for this,” Silva said. “Unfortunately for him, we have plenty of time. He didn’t. Now maybe he can go and find some quiet time for himself in the cell block.”

Nothing better than a police Lt. With a sense of humor…!

Attorney Sam’s Take:

There are a few lessons we can learn from this story.

First of all, as I have written many times, if the police stop you…stop. If, during your interaction with them a problem arises, do not simply tip your proverbial hat, say “Later” and take off.

There is no information here that the Defendant was in any more trouble than a citation for the littering and for not having his license and registration. For example, nothing indicates in the article that either his license had been revoked, car had been stolen or that there was a warrant out for the Defendant’s arrest.

Granted, if he were on probation, any such arrest could have been seen as a violation, but it is unlikely that he would have been sent to jail because of littering or not have his valid paperwork with him.

Simply taking off, however, and leading the police on a merry chase which could bring about deaths and destruction, thereby tacking on additional potential charges such as homicide, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (to wit: the car) and leaving the scene after causing property damage or personal injury, is a tad more serious. At the very least, it became clear that the Defendant was now about to be facing felony charges and his actions of fleeing would be taken into account both when the court considered bail as well as by a jury who might consider the flight “consciousness of guilt”.

The difference between felony and misdemeanor charges matter to most of us when going to court. For the Defendant, however, that difference is even more important. The Lt. said that he considered the Defendant a “career criminal”. This may have been his personal opinion and definition, but the law does recognize such a term as an additional charge. If a defendant is considered a career or habitual criminal, he faces much more potential time in prison. In fact, the sentence could easily become a life sentence. The trigger? The number of felony charges.

This makes the decision to run, gathering felony charges, rather than face the fairly light misdemeanor charges, even more foolish.

There is one more point here to take in. I do not know if the officer recognized the Defendant and that had something to do with the decision to stop the car because of littering. However, the fact is that, especially if you have any criminal record, or if you are “known” to the police, it becomes more likely that you will be treated with suspicion.

What does that mean to you?

Especially if you have made some mistakes in the past and have the record to prove it, do not assume that law enforcement, or the court, is simply going to ignore it when considering how to handle you. Take any charge, or potential charge, very seriously. No, do not simply try to escape. But do contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Speaking of criminal investigations, happy tax day, everybody!

The full article of this story can be found at http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/strange/offbeat_wpri_new_bedford_anthony_walkins_career_criminal_has_231_arrests_200904142310484

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