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.

Articles Posted in Traffic Violations

It’s common knowledge that getting behind the wheel when you’re intoxicated is a bad idea. But determining whether you’ve had too much to drink isn’t always as cut and dried. In Massachusetts, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent is above the legal limit. If a large man has three drinks with dinner, his BAC may be the same as that of a small woman who has one drink on an empty stomach. Without a breath or blood test, it’s impossible to know. Therefore, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution. If you’re going to drink, designate a sober driver. And if you think getting an OUI is no big deal, read on. The potential consequences of an OUI conviction may change your mind.

Consequence #1: Fines and Fees

Even for a first offense, you will likely find yourself paying fines and license reinstatement fees if you are convicted of an OUI. Fines range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the circumstances of your conviction, and you may have to pay a license reinstatement fee of up to $1,200. For a second offense, the fine can be as high as $10,000 and you may be out of pocket for up to $15,000 if convicted of a third offense.

Consequence #2: Jail Time

If this is your first offense, you probably won’t see time behind bars unless aggravating circumstances deem it necessary. But it’s a different story for second and subsequent offenses. For a second offense, you’re looking at between 30 days and two-and-a-half years in jail. For third and subsequent offenses, you could actually be sent to prison for up to five years.

Consequence #3: Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Some first-time offenders get slapped with this requirement, but it’s mandatory for second and subsequent offenders. The installation of an IID requires the driver to blow into a device with alcohol-free breath before the engine of his or her car will start, and at periodic intervals while driving. In addition to being a hassle – and a bit embarrassing on a date – IIDs aren’t cheap. And guess who gets to pay for the installation? We all make mistakes. If you’ve been charged with an OUI, don’t make another one – consult with an experienced OUI defense attorney right away.

Consequence #4: License Suspension

From first-timers to serial-OUI offenders, everyone faces a license suspension. If it’s your first offense, you’re looking at up to 90 days without wheels. For second offenders, the suspension increases to two years, and it skyrockets to eight years for the third offense. Fourth offenders may have their license permanently revoked.

Having an OUI on your record is no laughing matter. This can impact future job and housing applications, as well as send your car insurance rates through the roof. In addition to the consequences above, you will likely be required to enroll in an alcohol education program at your expense. The bottom line is, OUI charges are serious. Your best line of defense if charged with an OUI is to consult with an experienced OUI defense attorney immediately. A skilled attorney can be the difference between dismissed charges and time behind bars. Don’t let a mistake ruin your life. Continue reading

There are two types of warrants in Massachusetts, arrest warrants and bench warrants. A bench warrant is generally the less serious of the two. These are issued for multiple reasons, including failure to show up at a court hearing or failure to pay child support. Arrest warrants are usually reserved for more serious criminal cases. In the case of a bench warrant, police don’t usually search out and arrest the defendant, but bench warrants are serious matters and should be handled as such. If a bench warrant is issued against you, your name will be entered into a database that can be accessed by all law enforcement at any time. In addition to fines, a bench warrant can put you behind bars. If you have an outstanding warrant, contact a Boston criminal defense attorney today.

You Can’t Hide From a Warrant

Although bench warrants don’t usually result in an active search, they often end up in an arrest. This is because any dealings with the police – even a minor fender bender for which you’re not at fault – can reveal the bench warrant. If a bench warrant remains unresolved, it can also result in the suspension of your driver’s license. Further, you will not be able to renew an expired license until the matter is resolved.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in MA, you have the right to a clerk magistrate hearing prior to the issuance of a criminal complaint. At this hearing, the clerk magistrate will examine the facts of your case to determine if a criminal complaint should be issued, or if you should pay fines or penalties. Many people incorrectly assume that because no criminal charges have been filed, it is unnecessary to have a lawyer present at a clerk magistrate hearing. With the help of a skilled Boston defense attorney, however, you have a much better chance of avoiding criminal charges than if you try to go it alone.

What Can I Expect at a Clerk Magistrate Hearing?

Clerk magistrate hearings are sometimes referred to as probable cause hearings because that is the point of the initial review of potential criminal charges – to determine if there is probable cause to file a criminal complaint. To lessen your chances of a negative outcome, familiarize yourself with the process below:

You’ve just discovered that you have an outstanding warrant in Massachusetts – what do you do? It may be a bench warrant, which is typically issued when you fail to pay a fine or miss a court date. Or maybe it’s an arrest warrant for something more serious, such as drug possession or assault. In either case, the last thing you want to do with a warrant is to ignore it. With any type of warrant, police officers can pick you up at any time, at which point you will most likely be placed in custody. Proactively dealing with the warrant, however, can greatly improve your outcome.

Never Ignore a Warrant

Once you’ve learned that you have an outstanding warrant, step one is to contact a Boston criminal defense attorney. A warrant is one thing that will never go away until it’s dealt with. Furthermore, warrants can come back to haunt you. Even a bench warrant for failing to pay child support can become a permanent mark on your criminal record. In future bail hearings or court dates, the prosecution will use those marks against you to build a case against your character. Time heals all wounds, but not when it comes to warrants. Even if you manage to dodge an outstanding warrant for several years or move out of state, sooner or later it will catch up to you.

Massachusetts is cracking down on people who drive without auto insurance. The penalties are severe. But can you be arrested for driving without insurance? The short answer is, it depends. In the state of MA, individuals who are caught driving a motor vehicle without the required minimum coverage may face numerous penalties and fines. Whether they see jail time or not depends on several factors, namely if it is their first offense or a second or subsequent conviction. If you’ve been charged with driving without insurance, contact a Boston defense attorney today.

Is this your first offense?

If it is, you will likely be subject to a 60-day license suspension and a fine of up to $500. You may also be required to pay an upfront premium for one year of motor vehicle insurance at the highest rate class. The premium payment is used to counteract potential collection costs, among other things, such as programs to reduce fraud and arson.

Is this your second or subsequent offense?

If this isn’t your first offense, you will likely lose your license for up to one year, and may face fines of up to $5,000. Even worse, you may spend some time behind bars. Second and subsequent convictions may result in up to one year in a state prison. The bottom line is, driving without insurance can have a seriously negative impact on your life. You can end up in jail, in a financial hole, and with a record – all because you operated a motor vehicle without adequate insurance coverage.

Did you cause an accident?

If you were involved in an accident while driving without insurance, you will likely face stiffer penalties than those mentioned above. This is especially true if your accident resulted in property damage or bodily injury. In addition to penalties, fines, and the potential for extended jail time, causing property damage or physical harm while driving uninsured also makes you financially responsible for the damages. If you don’t have the funds to pay another person’s medical bills and property damage expenses, you should avoid driving without insurance. But sometimes hindsight is 20/20. Of course, if you were engaged in other criminal activity at the time of the offense, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the penalties and fines will increase accordingly.

Consult with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

The good news is, in any of the above situations, the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in the world. Multiple defenses exist to assist people facing these types of charges; and with knowledgeable representation, you may see your charges reduced, or dropped altogether. If you’ve been charged with driving without insurance, contact a Boston criminal defense lawyer today. Continue reading

At approximately 4:00 am on Thursday, January 23rd, Miami police arrested Justin Bieber for driving under the influence, drag racing, resisting arrest, and driving with a suspended license. The now-infamous ‘Baby’ singer admitted that he had taken prescription drugs, smoked marijuana and consumed alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel of his yellow Lamborghini. He was jailed briefly after a police officer witnessed the alleged drag race.

Drinking and driving, reckless endangerment, and driving with a suspended license are all serious crimes the privileged popstar believes he should not serve time for. CNN reported that Bieber was “cocky” and “insulting” when Miami police tried to give him simple instructions. He was profane and belligerent. Instead of acting remorseful or apologetic, Bieber paraded around the tropics and showboated via social media.
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On January 28, 2014 at about 3:15PM on Route 95 South, near Burlington, MA, a mattress flew off of the roof of a truck, ultimately causing the death of a 56 year old woman from Framingham, MA. While it is far too early to speculate about what happened and why, this fact pattern does raise some interesting legal issues. As of the time of this blog, it does not appear as though the truck driver has come forward or the police have found the identity of truck driver.

The first issue to consider is with what criminal charges the truck driver can potentially be charged. The first charge that comes to mind is leaving the scene of personal injury. One element, however, of this crime that the prosecutor must prove is that the operator knew that there was an accident. This may prove to be a very difficult task for the prosecutor to prove because the incident occurred behind the truck driver. While the driver may certainly have seen what happened, it is up to the Commonwealth to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew there was an accident. Perhaps only statements that the operator made either to a passenger or on a cell phone may help the prosecution in this regard.
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If you see the blue lights in your rear view mirror there are certain things that you should do and certain things you should not do. Firstly, it is very important to remain calm. Do not drive erratically, do not immediately pull over and do not take too long to pull over. Secondly, do not get out of the vehicle. Thirdly, in a calm manner roll down your window and have your license and registration at the ready. If you do the above, you will already be in good stead with the officer or trooper.

If the officer or trooper asks why you think he pulled you over, it is my opinion, that you should not admit any guilt, nor make any excuses (i.e. I am sorry I was speeding, but I am late to pick up my son from soccer practice.)

Be very courteous and professional with the officer or trooper. You do not necessarily need to be robotic, however, and if you feel you can use your personality to garner favor, I would not advise against that.

It’s likely that, at this moment, there is a man sitting in prison, craving sound legal advice, and thinking to himself, “Maybe I shouldn’t have been trafficking heroin on Interstate 93 … with illegal tints.”

A routine traffic stop by Trooper Daniel Dorion, triggered by overly tinted windows, became an incredible discovery. In Andover, Massachusetts on Saturday, August 18, 2012, at around 5pm, Dorion pulled over a blue Chrysler Voyager. The vehicle’s windows made it impossible for the trooper to see who was driving the car. Dorion explained this to the motorist.

The driver’s response?

He had no idea how dark his windows were.

“Too dark,” would have sufficed as a reply.

The Massachusetts tint law has been in effect since 1985. Windows must allow more than 35% of light in all sedans, vans, and SUVs. Non-reflecting tint is allowed on the top six inches of the windshield. The windows of the Chrysler in question completely blacked out the interior.

Upon request, the motorist submitted his identification. A license? Of course not. Who needs that when being pulled over? Instead, he provided a Maine State ID that identified him as Francis Rosario Caraballo. He also produced an identification card from Puerto Rico that appeared counterfeit to Trooper Dorion. The trooper then asked about the woman sitting in the passenger seat.

The driver’s response?

He had no idea who the woman in the car with him was.

The motorist said he had merely been ordered to pick the woman up from Jamaica Plain and Continue reading

A Boston police officer collided in Mattaphan with a Boston fire truck yesterday afternoon

While Boston Fire Department Ladder 29 was on its way to a reported car accident, and had its lights and siren activated at about 3:40 p.m., it crashed into the police officer who was driving home from work. The officer was driving his silver sport utility vehicle. The accident happened at the intersection of Harvard and Morton streets.

After the impact, both men went their separate ways to separate hospitals, both reportedly suffering non-life-threatening injuries. Apparently, the accident was such that it caused the ladder truck to swing around and crash into a traffic light, knocking it over.

Unsurprisingly, neither identity has been revealed.

While there has been no immediate word on what caused the crash or who crashed into whom. A Boston investigation is being conducted by the police.
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