Blog Archives - Attorney Steven J. Topazio

What Is The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights, which consists of the first ten amendments. Ratified on December 15, 1791, the First Amendment protects several fundamental rights of American citizens. It reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and read More

What is White Collar Crime?

What is White Collar Crime?  White Collar Crime refers to non-violent crimes typically committed by individuals or organizations in business or professional settings, often involving deceit, fraud, or violation of trust for financial gain. White Collar Crimes are usually characterized by concealment, manipulation, or abuse of positions of power, rather than physical force or violence. Examples of white collar crimes include: Fraud: This can involve schemes like securities fraud, mortgage fraud, healthcare fraud, or insurance fraud. read More

What is a Terry Stop

A “Terry stop” allows law enforcement officers to briefly detain a person based on reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity, even if the officer lacks probable cause for an arrest. Here are the key points about a Terry stop: Reasonable Suspicion: For a Terry stop to be lawful, the police officer must have a reasonable suspicion, based on specific and articulable facts, that the person has been, is, or is about to be engaged in read More

How do you Seal a Criminal Record and what does that mean?

How do you Seal a Criminal Record and what does that mean? When we talk about “sealing a criminal record,” it means legally hiding or restricting access to certain information about a person’s criminal history. This process is often pursued by individuals who have been convicted of a crime but want to move on with their lives without the burden of their past mistakes hindering their future opportunities. Here’s a breakdown of the steps a lawyer read More

Sealing Criminal Records

A recent case requires the Court and the Commissioner of Probation to seal criminal records when a judge or jury finds a person not guilty, or when a court finds no probable cause for a criminal charge, or where a grand jury returns a no bill. Commonwealth v J. F., 491 Mass. 824 (2023 The defendant in Commonwealth v J. F., filed a petition pursuant to G.L. c.276, §100C (§100C), which was opposed by the read More

The Valor Act Allows A Judge To Dismiss Second Offense OUI Charges

The Valor Act The pretrial diversion statute, G. L. c. 276A, as amended by the so-called VALOR Act, permits a judge to dismiss a second offense OUI charge brought against a qualifying veteran upon his or her successful completion of an approved pretrial diversion program despite the fact that the 2nd offense OUI statute prohibits a second or subsequent offense, from being “placed on file or continued without a finding.” G. L. c. 90, § read More

Defining Assault and Battery

Defining Assault & Battery An Assault is an attempted battery or an immediately threatened battery. A battery on the other hand is a harmful or an unpermitted touching of another person. An assault is committed when a person is placed in fear of an immediate battery and occurs when there is no harmful or unpermitted touching of the person, which is the battery. M.G.L. c 265 § 13A (a) makes it a misdemeanor for anyone read More

A quick handshake does not justify a search

The Appeals Court affirmed the suppression of a gun seized by the police from the defendant, because the police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant. Commonwealth v. Kearse (Appeals Court No. 2018-P-1619) – April 9, 2020 After observing the defendant, standing in the vicinity of two other men who engaged in a “quick handshake,” an officer in the Boston Police Department’s drug control unit (DCU), believed he had observed a hand-to-hand drug read More

The Use of Automatic License Plate Readers by Police is Not Illegal

In a recent SJC slip decision, the court affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motions to suppress, concluding that while the defendant has a constitutionally protected expectation of privacy in the whole of his public movements, an interest which potentially could be implicated by the widespread use of [automatic license plate readers (ALPRs)], that interest is not invaded by the limited extent and use of ALPR data in this case. Commonwealth v. McCarthy (No. SJC-12750) read More

The effects of decriminalizing marijuana on the law

Under current law, it is a criminal offense to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute it. G. L. c. 94C, § 32C (a) states (“Any person who knowingly or intentionally . . . distributes . . . or possesses with intent to . . . distribute . . . [marijuana] shall be imprisoned . . .”). The act of simple possession of marijuana (over one ounce) is also a crime and is listed separately read More

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