Strategic Defense of Theft Crimes
Theft is a crime of moral turpitude. Often times, the moral implications associated with a theft conviction far exceed the legal ramifications. A theft crime leaves a stain on your criminal record. This is visible by employers, housing authorities, credit bureaus, lenders and educational facilities who may deny you service or benefits due to a conviction.
Thefts Crimes Defense
If you have been accused of committing a robbery or larceny crime in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you may be facing serious legal consequences. Only a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will have the experience needed to protect your legal rights. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Steven J. Topazio has successfully defended clients who have been accused of or arrested for robbery or larceny crimes.
Not all Criminal defense Attorneys are alike. The skill with which an attorney presents your case to a jury is of vital importance. It can make the difference between a verdict of “guilty” and “not guilty”. Not every attorney has the courtroom talent needed to present a compelling case to a jury. The understanding of the jury process, how the jury responds to information and how to present a case are critical skills that your attorney must have. Attorney Steven J. Topazio is a skilled trial lawyer who can present your defense aggressively and persuasively; and always with your best interests as his top concern.
Comprehensive Investigation and Case-Building
Contact Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Topazio online or call to discuss your case. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Steven J. Topazio is prepared to investigate every aspect of the allegations and circumstances of your case, in order to identify the right strategy and build an aggressive defense on your behalf.
Attorney Topazio Will Plan Your Defense
Intent and knowledge play a large role in defense against a theft-related crime. For example, you may not even be aware that you are in possession of stolen property until it is too late. Perhaps desperate circumstances pushed you to act irrationally. These circumstances are forgivable in the eyes of the court; however they will not be heard without the assistance of a lawyer.
Have you been charged with robbery, burglary, larceny or receipt of stolen property? Boston criminal defense attorney Steven J. Topazio can mount an aggressive defense. Contact Boston Criminal Defense attorney Steven J. Topazio to see how he can help you.
What is Robbery?
In Massachusetts, robbery is defined as the illegal taking of property from another person, or in the person’s presence, by violence or intimidation. A person may also be charged with armed robbery, where the robbery is committed with a weapon, or aggravated robbery, where a person inflicts bodily harm on a victim while committing the robbery.
A key issue in many robbery cases is often the identity of the person who committed the alleged robbery. There are very specific procedures that the police and the district attorney’s office must follow in attempting to determine who committed the robbery. If the police do not act properly, the evidence gathered may be suppressed, or the charges may be dismissed altogether.
In the event you are charged with robbery in the Boston area, or anywhere in Massachusetts, do not discuss the case with anyone until you have retained an attorney. If you wish to talk to an experienced and professional criminal defense attorney, please call the office of Attorney Steven J. Topazio at or email him for a free consultation.
What is Burglary?
Traditionally, Courts in Massachusetts have defined burglary as the entering of a dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony. In modern times, however, the definition of burglary has been expanded to include the breaking and entering into any building (not just a dwelling), at any time (not just at night) with the intent to commit a felony.
Courts will treat burglary as either a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the specific case. A number of factors will go into which class of crime it will fit; among these factors are the time of day, whether any person was injured, the type of building entered, and the value of the property stolen. Depending on the specific facts of the case, a person may receive a sentence ranging from probation to jail time.
Contact a Skilled Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer
For additional information about Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Topazio’s ability to protect your rights and liberties involving accusations of theft, contact his Boston office at or email him for a free consultation.
RECENT CASE DECISIONS
January 10, 2014
Dedham District Court
Docket # 1254CR2174
Larceny Over $250 MGL c266 § 30(1)
Carrying Dangerous Weapon MGL c269 § 10(b)
The client, a 29-year old father of three, was arrested during the course of his employment as a furniture mover when he was caught stealing several items from the home he was working on, hired Boston Criminal Attorney Steven J. Topazio to resolve his case. Attorney Topazio was the second Attorney on the case, after the first attorney was discharged by the client when he was unable to work out a favorable resolution of less than two years committed. Attorney Topazio reviewed the case file and learned that the client, along with two co-defendants were caught red handed stealing jewelry, iPhones and other electronic devices from a home they were hired to move, and were arrested with the stolen items in their possession. Attorney Topazio met with the prosecutor on the case who had offered a two year committed sentence upon a change of plea due to the circumstances of the case, the client’s criminal record, and as a result of the strength of the Commonwealth’s case. Attorney Topazio learned that the two year committed sentence was the best offer the prior counsel could negotiate. Attorney Topazio prepared his case file and pushed the case to trial. After months of negotiations, yet only two weeks prior to the scheduled trial date, Attorney Topazio persuaded the prosecutor to drop his demands for a 2 year committed sentence after he acknowledged that his client would accept no more than 90 days committed upon a change of plea. Today, Attorney Topazio was able to persuade the court to sentence his client to one year to the House of Connections, with only 90 days of that sentence to be committed.
Result: Client avoids lengthy jail sentence by accepting 90 day sentence prior to trial.
October 31, 2012
Chelsea District Court
Docket # 1214CR0373
B&E Building Nighttime for Felony M.G.L. c. 266 § 16
Receiving Stolen Property under $250 M.G.L. c. 266 § 60
The client, a 28 year old individual, was arrested and held in custody by the Chelsea Police Department. According to the Arrest Report, an unnamed off-duty Boston Police Officer stated to dispatch that two male parties were seen throwing items over the fence from a construction site onto Beech St. The police report stated that when Chelsea Police responded the client was seen walking within ten yards of a construction site. The police report does not indicate that any person broke and entered into any building, ship, vessel or vehicle. After other officers arrived the client and a co-defendant were arrested. The client was represented by Boston Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Steven J. Topazio. Attorney Topazio initially attacked the case by filing motions to dismiss and suppress. Attorney Topazio argued that a fenced construction site does not qualify as a building pursuant to statute. Attorney Topazio argued to the court that the second element of the offense of B&E is that the defendant in fact entered a (building) (ship) (vessel) or (vehicle). “Entry” is the unlawful making of one’s way into a (building) (ship) (vessel) (vehicle). Entry occurs if any part of the defendant’s body—even a hand or foot—or any instrument or weapon controlled by the defendant physically enters the (building) (ship) (vessel) (vehicle). Breaking an outer storm window and reaching inside between the outer and inner windows with one’s hand is an entry. Attorney Topazio argued that entering a fenced in area of a construction site or being seen near a construction site fence does not qualify as a building, ship, vessel, or vehicle, justifying a B&E charge and the court agreed.
Result: All charges dismissed on the day of trial.
September 17, 2012
Hingham District Court
Docket # 1158CR1860
Conspiracy, M.G.L. c. 274 § 6
Attempt to Commit Crime, M.G.L. c. 274 § 6
Witness Intimidation, M.G.L. c. 268 § 13B
The client, an Asian male form New York, was arrested and charged with conspiracy in violation of MGL c. 274 § 7, attempt to commit a crime in violation of MGL c. 274 § 6, and witness intimidation in violation of MGL c. 268 § 13B after attempting to open a checking account in Citibank in Hingham. Hingham police were provided information from Citibank Security about a group of men who apparently open checking accounts in a false name and deposit approximately a small amount of cash into the account. These men then make a large deposit by check (with insufficient funds or bad check) and then make a withdraw of a large cash amount before the check is returned, leaving the account in the negative. According to the police report, Citibank Security was given a BOLO from Citibank regarding a scam/fraud by an Asian group of males that occurred in other banks, which the police concluded was the client’s intent when he entered the Hingham Citibank. Boston Criminal Attorney Topazio challenged the evidence with a motion to dismiss. Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer Topazio argued that it is not always possible to prove a conspiracy by direct evidence. The law allows a trier of fact, where it seems reasonable, to infer that there was a conspiracy from all of the circumstances. For example, if people who know each other or have been in communication with each other are shown to have been involved in concerted actions which all seem designed to accomplish a specific purpose, then it may be reasonable to conclude that those actions were not coincidental but were taken pursuant to a joint plan. However in this case, Boston Criminal Attorney Topazio argued that nothing was known about his client other than he is Asian and spoke a foreign language when he was in Citibank. The client was arrested because he was in the company of a co-defendant whose picture was allegedly in the BOLO provided to Citibank security which alleged that Asian gang members were defrauding banks. Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Topazio argued that nothing was known about his client, and that nothing in the police report indicated that the client, who was not in the bank’s security BOLO, was aware of any unlawful objective of anybody when he entered the bank. Despite the facts, the motion was denied and the case was pushed to trial. Multiple motions in limine were drafted in anticipation for trial. Today at trial, Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Topazio was able to persuade the court to dismiss all charges against his client.
Result: Case dismissed at trial.
August 21, 2012
Peabody District Court
Application for Criminal Complaint
Clerk Magistrate Hearing
White Collar Crime
Larceny over $250.00 M.G.L. c. 266 § 30
The client, a 32 year old professional with a part time job with Nordstrom, was caught on camera at Nordstrom taking merchandise without paying for it as well as crediting her credit card account with returns she made but without returning the merchandise. When the client was confronted by loss prevention officers in the presence of police, she admitted to her theft. Despite offering to pay Nordstrom back in full for the items taken which totaled over $4000.00, she was told that she would be pursued both civilly and criminally. Without being able to resolve the matter on her own, the Client hired Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Steven J. Topazio to defend her. Attorney Topazio attempted to negotiate a settlement with Nordstrom but was informed that they were pursuing this matter criminally. The Peabody police filed an application for criminal complaint to be heard by a Clerk Magistrate. The primary role of the magistrate when she hears a complaint is to determine whether probable cause exists to require the accused to answer to a criminal charge. Magistrates, however, may decline to authorize complaints where the law allows the conflict to be fairly resolved in a different manner. In Gordon v. Fay, 382 Mass. 64, 69-70, 413 N.E.2d 1094, 1097-1098 (1980), the Supreme Judicial Court noted that the “implicit purpose of the [G.L. c. 218, §] 35A hearings is to enable the court clerk to screen a variety of minor criminal or potentially criminal matters out of the criminal justice system through a combination of counseling, discussion, or threat of prosecution.” Today, after establishing that the client made full restitution to Nordstrom, Attorney Topazio was able to persuade the Magistrate to dismiss all charges against his client.
Result: Case dismissed.
August 02, 2012
East Boston District Court
Docket # 1205 CR 1015
Possession Class B cocaine M.G.L. c. 94C § 34
Larceny from Building M.G.L. c. 266 § 20
Withholding Evidence from Criminal Proceeding M.G.L. c. 268 § 13E(6)
The client, a 24 year old college graduate, was arrested and held in custody after being charged with stealing court documents from the East Boston Court House, hired Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Steven J. Topazio to represent her. Prior to being arrested, the client was in the East Boston District Court House where she proceeded to the clerk’s office to retrieve her court record. After being provided with the records the client left the court house instead of copying the files. According to the police report, while in the booking area of the police department, the client dropped a bag of cocaine. The client was initially held on bail and ordered to remain drug and alcohol free and to submit to random urine tests upon her release. After posting bail, Attorney Topazio filed a motion to modify the terms of pretrial release arguing that the Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Commonwealth v. Dodge, indicated that no statutory authority exists under the bail statute (M.G.L. c. 276 § 58) to make a defendant’s pre-trial release subject to conditions, and the court agreed and vacated the conditions of release. Today, Attorney Topazio persuaded the court to grant his client a CWOF on the possession of coke charge so as to preserve her driving privileges, and probation on the a single count of larceny after dismissing multiple larceny and withholding evidence charges.
Result: Client receives a CWOF and probation after dismissal of seven counts.
May 01, 2012
Roxbury Division of Boston Municipal Court
Docket # 1102CR3549
Larceny Under $250 M.G.L. c. 266 § 30(1)
Burglarious Instrument M.G.L. c. 266 § 49
The client, a 27 year old musician with a Bachelors of Arts in music and resident of California, defaulted when he failed to appear on a summons and a warrant issued for his arrest, hired Attorney Steven J. Topazio to defend him. According to the police report, the Client was observed by Northeastern University Police, removing parts from a bicycle that the Client claimed he had permission to do. When the owner of the bicycle was contacted the bike owner denied knowledge of the Client and of giving him permission to remove any parts. Attorney Topazio obtained a letter from the bike owner which contradicted the original denial of permission and provided it to the District Attorney. Today, Attorney Topazio convinced the District Attorney to dismiss all charges against his client prior to arraignment despite this contradiction. Dismissing charges prior to arraignment means that these offenses will not appear on the Client’s CORI.
Result: Complaint Dismissed prior to arraignment.
April 03, 2012
Boston Municipal Court
Application for Criminal Complaint
Larceny over $250 MGL c. 266 § 30
The Client, a 24 year-old account executive and college graduate, received an application for criminal complaint charging her with the felony offense of Larceny over $250.00, when she walked out of an upscale department store with several women’s tops without paying for them. The items totaled over $800.00. The police alleged that the alleged theft was caught on the store’s surveillance video cameras. The police further alleged that when searched, the Client was found to be in possession of a pair of metal pliers, which they alleged were burglarious tools. The Client is a not a US citizen and was concerned about the possible immigration consequences this charge could cause her. The Client immediately hired Attorney Steven J. Topazio to represent her. Attorney Topazio explained that any larceny charge, including shoplifting, would be considered a crime of moral turpitude which could subject a non US citizen immigrant to suffer deportation consequences. Today, at the clerk magistrate’s hearing, Attorney Topazio persuaded the police detective and the clerk magistrate not to issue the complaint against his Client. The complaint was not issued and the clerk agreed to hold the complaint for one year despite hearing enough evidence to find probable cause to issue the complaint. So long as the Client stays out of trouble, the clerk agreed to dismiss the complaint. As a result, the Larceny charge will never appear on the Client’s CORI or will it affect her immigration status.
Result: Application for Complaint Dismissed.
December 05, 2011
Boston Municipal Court
Docket # 1101CR5089
Receiving Stolen Property, MGL c. 266 § 60
Possession Class E MGL c. 94C § 34
The client, a 39 year old unemployed individual, was arrested while in the Boston Common after being handed a bottle of cologne from an individual who unbeknownst to the client stole the cologne from Filene’s Basement. A search of the client’s person by police subsequent to the arrest revealed a pill bottle in his possession with three different pills in it. After the police discovered the pills, the client was charged with three counts of Possession of class E substance despite the client telling the police that he had a valid prescription for the pills. Attorney Topazio obtained the copies of the valid prescriptions from the client for the pills and provided that information to the Assistant District Attorney for her consideration. Attorney Topazio also learned that the bottle of cologne that was stolen came from Filene’s Basement by a second individual who was caught on store video. Attorney Topazio met with the Assistant District Attorney and pointed out that it the difficulties in proving this case against his client, especially after Filene’s Basement had now closed and was out of business following a bankruptcy filing. Today, Attorney Topazio was able to convince the Commonwealth to dismiss the entire case against his client, and the Court agreed.
April 15, 2011
Boston Municipal Court
Larceny over $250, M.G.L. c. 266 § 30
The defendant, a resident intern at a local hospital, was arrested for larceny over $250, a felony charge, when he left a local drinking establishment with an iphone he believed belonged to his friend, hired Attorney Topazio to represent him. According to the police report, the defendant took the iphone off the bar after the woman he had been speaking too left it there when she went to the lady’s room. When confronted by wait staff, the defendant ran out of the bar but was pursued and arrested. Attorney Topazio met with the district attorney prior to his client’s arraignment and after lengthy negotiations, convinced the Commonwealth to dismiss the charge against his client prior to arraignment on the condition that he complete 50 hours of community service, and the court agreed. A dismissal prior to arraignment insured that this charge would not appear on his client’s CORI.
Result: Case dismissed and clean CORI preserved.
April 13, 2011
Brighton District Court
Disorderly Conduct, M.G.L. c. 272 § 53
B&E vehicle Nighttime for Felony, M.G.L. c. 266 § 16
The defendant, a local businessman, was arrested at a local towing company after he called the police for help when he complained that his car had been illegally towed and now the tow company wouldn’t let him drive off in it, hired Attorney Topazio to represent him. According to police, the defendant, who was visibly upset and who appeared to have been drinking, got within inches of the officer’s face, took a fighting stance and began screaming and yelling at the officer, insulting him. The towing attendant thereafter informed the police that the company viewed the defendant on surveillance video trying to break into one of the tow trucks. Attoreny Topazio argued that his client was only looking for his keys and couldn’t be convicted of disorderly conduct in a deserted tow lot where he couldn’t create a public inconvenience. Attorney Topazio attempted to obtain the surveillance video but when he was told that it had been destroyed, he convinced the district attorney to dismiss both charges on the condition that his client write a letter of apology to the police officer, and the court agreed.
Result: Case dismissed
December 10, 2010
Suffolk Superior Court
Probation Surrender Hearing
Recall of Default Warrant
The defendant, who was on probation out of Suffolk Superior Court, hired Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Steven J. Topazio to represent him when he received a notice of surrender and hearing for alleged violations of his probation. The defendant allegedly violated his probation when he picked up a new criminal offense and as a result stopped reporting to his probation officer out of fear that he would be incarcerated. Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Steven J. Topazio contacted his client’s probation officer and arranged to have him voluntarily surrender himself. By accompanying his client when he appeared in court to remove the default warrant, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Steven J. Topazio was prepared to argue against revoking his client’s recognizance or holding him on bail. Today, as a result of thorough preparation and being able to control the circumstances of his client’s surrender, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Steven J. Topazio was able to convince the court not to hold his client on bail despite being arrested while on probation and being in default and on the run for several months.
Result: Default warrant recalled and defendant released on personal recognizance pending final probation surrender hearing. Case pending.
November 01, 2010
Essex Superior Court
Habitual Offender M.G.L. c. 279 § 25
Assault and Battery by Means of a DW, Victim 60 or older M.G.L. c. 265 § 15A(a)
Larceny Under $250 M.G.L. c. 266 § 30
Attempt to Commit a Crime M.G.L. c. 274 § 6
BE daytime with intent to commit a felony M.G.L. c. 266 § 18
The defendant, who allegedly tried to steal tools from an elderly man’s pick-up truck parked at the Home Depot on Route 1 in Saugus, MA, was confronted by the owner of the truck, a 60-year-old male, who after coming outside tried to detain the defendant when he saw him trying to steal something from the toolbox on the side of his truck. The defendant, who was grabbed by the owner, jumped into his motor vehicle in an attempt to flee, and dragged the victim through the parking lot before the victim fell to the ground injuring himself. The defendant was arrested and charged with breaking and entering in the day time, larceny, attempt to commit a crime, assault and battery on a person 60 years or older, and being a career criminal, hired Attorney Topazio to defend him. A habitual criminal is a person who has a criminal record indicating a propensity to crime and is subject to harsher penalties. Being an habitual offender meant the defendant had been convicted and served at least two prior state prison sentences where he had received a sentence of at least 3-5 years committed to state prison. The habitual offender charge is an enhanced punishment statute which imposes mandatory prison time for the maximum term of imprisonment of the underlying felony. As a result, the defendant was facing a mandatory 10 year jail sentence for the crimes he committed if convicted. Despite the mandatory time, Attorney Topazio was successful in causing his client to be released on bail in lieu of being held in custody. Prior to resolving the case however, and while his client was out on bail, the defendant committed yet another offense originating out of the Boston Municipal Court when he was found in possession of multiple bags of heroin. The client was arrested and charged with possession of a class A substance with intent to distribute in a school zone. A school zone violation carries a two year mandatory jail sentence. Fearing a subsequent indictment, the defendant agreed to plea guilty in the Boston Municipal Court and was committed to the house of correction for two years. Today, just two weeks after receiving a 2 year mandatory house of corrections sentence, when the defendant appeared in Essex Superior Court where Attorney Topazio was successful in convincing the Assistant District Attorney and the Court to dismiss the habitual offender charge upon his client’s agreement to plea guilty on the remaining offenses to a 4-5 year state prison sentence, to be imposed forthwith. When a state prison sentence is imposed forthwith, the underlying house of corrections sentence is wiped out and the state prison sentence begins immediately.
Result: Defendant avoids a mandatory 10 year state prison sentence and accepts a 4-5 state prison sentence forthwith thus wiping out a mandatory 2 year house of corrections sentence after only serving two weeks of that sentence.
February 09, 2010
Brookline District Court
Larceny of Property over $100 M.G.L. c. 266 § 30
The defendant, a resident of California, and former resident of Massachusetts, recently ran into trouble with the California Registry of Motor Vehicles when the California RMV refused to renew his California driver’s license due to a court default in Massachusetts. When the defendant was told that he had to appear in court in person in Massachusetts to remove the default, he hired Attorney Topazio. Attorney Topazio filed a motion in the District Court asking the court to waive his client’s appearance due to financial hardship. Attorney Topazio investigated the matter and convinced the District Attorney that the case was not viable. As a result, Attorney Topazio entered into a plea agreement with the Commonwealth whereby it was agreed that the case would be dismissed upon court costs, in lieu of having the defendant return to Massachusetts from California. Attorney Topazio was able to recall the default warrant in the defendant’s absence, enabling the client to renew his California driver’s license.
Result: Case dismissed and warrant withdrawn in defendant’s absence.
August 10, 2009
Boston Municipal Court
Larceny Over $250.00 MGL c. 266 § 30
Shoplifting MGL c. 266 § 30A
The defendant was summonsed to Court to answer to a charge of shoplifting after she took the tags off merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in Boston totaling $593.00 and attempted to leave the store without paying. The defendant who was not a citizen, and faced the possibility of deportation, denial of naturalization or exclusion from the United States, hired Attorney Topazio. Despite the summons on a charge of shoplifting, the Commonwealth upgraded the charges to felony larceny. Whoever steals, or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretence, or whoever unlawfully, and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, or secretes with intent to convert, the property of another as defined whether such property is or is not in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting, shall be guilty of larceny, and if the value of the property stolen exceeds two hundred and fifty dollars, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars and imprisonment in jail for not more than two years. Today, despite the Commonwealth’s upgrading the charges to the felony of larceny over $250.00, Attorney Topazio convinced the Magistrate not to issue the complaint against his client.
Result: Case dismissed.