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 Parking Violation Results In Felony Assault With Weapon Charge

Did you know that the Boston Criminal Law Blog is the number one read criminal law blog in Massachusetts? Thanks for that, by the way. Well, it looks like we need to tell our neighbors in Rhode Island about it too. After all, I began this week warning you about keeping your cool during…heated…situations.

I meant outside as well as inside.

Nevertheless, one day after I posted the blog, a Rhode Island woman allegedly threw her coffee onto a meter maid who was ticketing her car in Brookline.

Krystle C., 23, of Rhode Island (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) has been arraigned in Brookline District Court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a public employee. She was released on personal recognizance (no bail) and a further hearing was scheduled for April 5th.

Yes, the dangerous weapon was the coffee.

According to the police report, the 64-year-old meter maid began writing a ticket for Charley’s green Jeep at around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on Washington Street. When the Defendant approached the vehicle, the meter maid told her that she couldn’t stop writing the ticket because she had entered it into a computer system.

The Defendant allegedly expressed her opinion about the computer (and legal) system by throwing a cup of hot coffee onto her, covering “her waist area and pants,” the report said.

The ticket had been for $25.00.

The Defendant had no comment to media on Wednesday as she entered her not guilty plea. At times, she used a hairnet to cover her face. A friend who accompanied her, perhaps embarrassed for some reason, hid behind a giant mask.

Prior to this week’s incident, police say the Defendant had seven unpaid parking tickets.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Believe me, I know how annoying parking tickets can be…especially when they accumulate.

I still maintain, though, that it is better to accept them than add criminal charges to the whole scene which will only add more expense and aggravation to the situation.

By the way, the meter maid is correct. Once they start filling out the information, they are generally not allowed to change their minds. You can fight it out in an appeal, of course.

When I say “fight it out”, I mean by explaining your case to a fact-finder…not throwing hot coffee at someone in the hallowed walls of justice.

I wonder if such confusion is why they do not allow people to bring food or beverages into courthouses…?

But I digress.

Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is a felony. While we may look at this case and simply shrug that the Defendant lost her cool, there is a legitimate interest on the part of law enforcement not to be on the receiving end of thrown beverages.

Meter maids are, after all, just doing their job.

Maybe I am “soft on meter maids” because their profession is about as beloved as my own.

In any event, whether looking to contest a parking ticket, traffic violation or criminal accusation, the best way to go is to handle it in court. Particularly with something more serious than the parking ticket, get qualified counsel.

As always, if you are facing such a scenario and wish to discuss it with me, please feel free to contact me at 617-492-3000.

To find the original stories upon which this story is based, please go to http://mobile.boston.com/art/30/yourtown/news/brookline/2010/03/ri_woman_charged_with_tossing and http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/BO136932/

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