Criminal Defense

Boston Attorney Protecting Your Rights against the Prosecution

At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, we provide aggressive, knowledgeable representation to people who have been accused of a wide range of crimes. Our principal, Boston criminal defense lawyer Patrick Murphy, has advocated for the rights of individuals facing charges for 22 years. A criminal record can haunt you far into the future and carry substantial penalties. In most cases, later offenses are punished much more severely than first offenses, making it crucial to obtain the strongest possible defense the first time you are accused. Among the charges that we can defend are OUI and motor vehicle offenses, assault and violent crimes, theft offenses, drug crimes, crimes against property, and sex offenses. We also can help fight charges of stalking or harassment, firearms offenses, violations of restraining orders, student crimes, and public order offenses.

OUI and Motor Vehicle Offenses

Operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI) is also called driving under the influence (DUI), and it can result in serious penalties. If you are convicted of a first offense, you may face a maximum of two and a half years in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a five-year license suspension. However, your attorney may be able to negotiate for a reduced sentence if you agree to complete an alcohol education program.

Police officers must establish a reasonable suspicion for stopping a driver and probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause is usually shown by conducting field sobriety tests. Often, chemical tests are given after arrest, including breath, blood, and urine tests. These may be discredited if the machine is not properly calibrated or the suspect vomits. The state must prove all elements of an OUI charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If there may be errors in how an officer performed a test or a lab interpreted it, these can be used to challenge the OUI charge.

Assault

Assault is considered a crime in which someone uses or threatens unwanted force against someone else. It may be charged as a misdemeanor when it involves attempted battery or an intent to put someone else in apprehension of immediate battery under M.G.L. Ch. 265, s. 1A. However, assault and battery may be charged as a felony if the defendant touches the victim without an excuse, the defendant intended to touch the victim, the contact was without consent or was likely to cause serious bodily injury, and the contact actually caused serious bodily injury.

There may be multiple defenses available to an assault charge. One of the most common ways that a defense attorney may attack the charges is by showing that there is reasonable doubt about one of the elements of the crime. Other defenses often include invoking the rights of self-defense or the use of force to protect someone else. In some cases, there are procedural and constitutional errors that may be used to suppress evidence, such as a police failure to respect the Miranda rights of the victim.

Theft Offenses

A frequently charged theft crime is larceny, which involves the stealing of someone else's property with the intent to deprive that person or entity of its possession permanently. There are two types of larceny: petit larceny and grand larceny. These are distinguished by the value of the property. Sometimes an attorney may defend against a grand larceny charge by getting it reduced to a petit larceny charge. In many situations, it is useful to attack the element of intent. If there was no intent to deprive the alleged victim of possession permanently, you cannot be convicted of larceny.

Drug Charges

In drug cases, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance. When the specific charge exceeds possession (such as manufacturing, distribution, or trafficking), there are additional elements that must be established. M.G.L. c. 94C states the controlled substances that are prohibited in Massachusetts. Sometimes a helpful defense in a drug crime case is based on the Fourth Amendment right to be free from searches and seizures. If the drugs were unlawfully seized, the evidence may be suppressed, thereby severely undermining the prosecution's case.

Crimes Against Property

Property crime convictions may result in jail time, heavy fines, suspension of a driver's license, and restitution. In a breaking and entering case, for example, the prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant broke into a building, vessel, or vehicle that belonged to someone else, the defendant entered that space, the defendant had the intent to commit a felony, and the breaking and entering took place at night. In a breaking and entering case, your lawyer may be able to defend by showing that you did not have the requisite intent to commit a felony, among other strategies.

Sex Offenses

Generally in Massachusetts, you may be charged with a sex crime for engaging in any sexual act that is prohibited by law, including attempted rape, rape, sexual assault, and sex with minors. Each type of charge has its own elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, to prove assault with intent to commit rape, the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant assaulted the victim and that the defendant intended to commit rape.

A sex crimes conviction may have substantial legal and social consequences. It is crucial to obtain knowledgeable legal representation as soon as possible. If you are convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender with the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB). As with other intent crimes, sexual assault with intent to rape can potentially be defended by showing there was a lack of intent. The reliability of the accuser’s story also may be challenged by careful cross-examination.

Consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Boston

People who are charged with a crime should not hesitate to contact a Boston criminal defense attorney. Patrick J. Murphy is ready to assist you if you need a DUI lawyer, assistance with fighting allegations of drug crimes or theft offenses, or legal representation regarding sex crimes, assault, or property offenses, among other charges. We can assist defendants in many areas of Massachusetts, including Suffolk County, Wrentham District Court, and Woburn District Court. Call us at 617-367-0450 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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