Salvucci Harris, LLC Blog
Criminal Defense Posts

If the police pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving, do you have to take a breathalyzer or perform field sobriety tests?

The short answer is no, you are not required to take a breathalyzer test or perform field sobriety tests if you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving. The only thing that you must do is give the officer your license and registration when asked. Your refusal to perform field sobriety tests or to take a breathalyzer test cannot be used as evidence against you during your trial, but there are otherconsequences if you refuse to perform these tests. Some factors to think...

The ABC's of the Massachusetts Criminal Courts

The Massachusetts criminal courts can seem like a foreign place to those who are unfamiliar with them. The lawyers and judges speak in acronyms, rather than sentences, and things move at lightning speed. Therefore, knowing the language of the criminal courts is essential when you are being charged with a crime. Below is a list of the terms that people frequently ask me to explain, and their meaning:

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A Positive Step Towards Policing the Police: More courts are acknowledging the right of individuals to record public officials in the performance of their public duties.

When it comes to recording conversations in Massachusetts, we are a two-party consent state. This essentially means that both parties must be aware of the recording and/or have consented to the recording. The Massachusetts Wiretapping Statute, M.G.L. 272, Sec. 99(c) (1), provides that "any person who willfully commits an interception (defined as secretly hearing or secretly recording by means of an interception device), or aid another to secretly hear or secretly record, attempts to commit an...

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SJC Decides Not to Expand Common Law Social Host Liability

In Massachusetts, a social host may be held liable in for the injuries of a third-party in cases where "an intoxicated guest's negligent operation of a motor vehicle where a social host who knew or should have known that his guest was drunk, nevertheless gave him or permitted him to take an alcoholic drink and thereafter, because of his intoxication, the guest negligently operated a motor vehicle causing the third person's injury." See McGuiggan v. New England Tel. & Tel. Co., 398 Mass....

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Mandatory Life Without the Possibility of Parole for Juveniles is Unconstitutional.

Today the Supreme Court ruled in the matters of Miller v. Arkansas and Jackson v. Arkansas that "mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of 'cruel and unusual punishments'." The Court noted in its decision that juveniles have "diminished culpability and heightened capacity for change." In order for the punishment for a juvenile to be proportional to the crime that he/she committed, the judge must have...

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Want a court-appointed attorney? Be prepared to prove you need it.

The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts made it harder for individuals who need court-appointed legal representation to get it in two separate decisions that came down yesterday. The Court ruled that "a criminal defendant who seeks to have counsel appointed at public expense bears the burden of proving indigency by a preponderance of the evidence." Commonwealth v. Porter. In evaluating the individual's income and ability to pay, the Court will consider the spouse's (or live-in significant...

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Scandal at Drug Lab May Lead to Overturned Convictions and New Trials

It has recently come to light that a chemist at the drug lab in Jamaica Plain mishandled drug evidence, altered the weight of drugs, failed to calibrate the testing machines correctly, and even manipulated samples to get positive results for illegal narcotics when the sample that was submitted to the lab was in fact not an illegal substance.

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NOT GUILTY - CHECK FRAUD JURY VERDICT

Successfully defended a client against charges of Larceny, Forgery, and Uttering in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court in December 2013. A required finding of Not Guilty was entered by the trial judge on both Larceny and Forgery. The jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty on the one remaining count of Uttering.

'Another view of Boston' found at https://flic.kr/p/bURAAa by Navaneeth K N (https://flickr.com/people/navaneethkn) used under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/)
'Another view of Boston' found at https://flic.kr/p/bURAAa by Navaneeth K N (https://flickr.com/people/navaneethkn) used under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/)
'Another view of Boston' found at https://flic.kr/p/bURAAa by Navaneeth K N (https://flickr.com/people/navaneethkn) used under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/)

Not Guilty - Receiving Stolen Motor Vehicle Bench Trial

After a Motion to Suppress, the Court ruled that the Defendant's request to suppress any and all out of court and in court identifications by the car owner was allowed. Additionally, the statements of the Defendant after his arrest were similarly suppressed at the request of Attorney Harris. At a subsequent bench trial in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court, the Commonwealth elicited testimony from three witnesses in an attempt to establish that the defendant was a...