Today on the blog, we’re looking into the potential lengths of license suspension you could receive for complying with a police officer’s request or refusing a breath test in Massachusetts. We also describe the appeals process you need to go through to have your license reinstated after a suspension.
If you comply with a police officer’s request to take a breath test in Massachusetts, you could face the following suspensions:
If you refuse an officer’s request to take a breath test, you could also face a suspension of your license:
If you are under 21 years old, you could face the following suspensions:
People of all ages could face certain, additional penalties that are associated with prior convictions:
If your license has been suspended for refusing to take a breath test, you have fifteen calendar days to file an appeal at the Boston office of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on a walk-in basis. You are allowed to have an attorney represent you at this hearing. If the registrar denies your request for reinstatement, we will be able to then challenge their administrative decision at the district court in the district where the offense occurred. This will offer the best possibility for you to have the refusal to comply suspension overturned.
There are three issues that may be challenged at the hearing for refusal to take a breath test:
You should file an appeal within the fifteen day appeal window because the suspension for refusing a breath test does not run concurrent with any license suspension that may be imposed by the court. What does this mean? As an example, if you have a prior OUI conviction and refuse to take a breath test, you will have a three-year suspension for refusing the breath test. This three-year suspension needs to run before any following suspension that may be issued by the court upon a conviction or continue without a finding. It is possible then that your license maybe suspended for up to five years for this particular example. You will not be able to obtain a hardship license during the refusal suspension period, unless the first offense OUI charge has been adjudicated.
It is important that you work with an attorney as soon as possible regarding any DUI/OUI/DWI arrest and license suspension. You need to be made aware of your rights and work with a DUI attorney with experience dealing with these types of hearings. Here at Shanley & Justin, we are available to assist you with any criminal allegation and will zealously defend any charges levied against you. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation visit with one of our experienced attorneys. Do not hesitate as time is of the essence in all legal matters. Call our office at (978) 454-3322.
According to a recent Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decision, law enforcement officers should, when practicable, record conversations between non-English speakers and translator services during interviews and interrogations. This mandate by the SJC is important because it helps to preserve the reliability of potential evidence and applies to every police department in the Commonwealth.
In Commonwealth v. Adonsoto , the Defendant was arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquors and brought to the police station, where she was subsequently read her rights and administered a breathalyzer exam. The Defendant did not speak English, which required the police department to use translator services via speakerphone to inform the Defendant of her rights, as well as walk her through the process of completing the breath test. The Defendant argued that the interpreter services used by the police department may not have been reliable or accurate, due to the relationship between the service provider and the police department.
The Court found no support for the Defendant’s argument questioning the reliability and accuracy of the translation. Furthermore, the main issue in the case was impairment, which the Court ruled there was sufficient evidence—slurred speech, smell of alcohol on breath, and running through a four-way stop intersection without stopping—presented during the jury trial to affirm the judgment. In further ruling, the Court mandated that police departments should record these interactions when translation services are utilized, when applicable, to avoid potential conflicts with the Confrontation Clause and Article 12 of the Declaration of Rights.
This new protocol provides another layer of protection for non-English speaking criminal suspect’s when being interviewed by police officers, making sure that potential criminal suspects are not unduly influenced or mislead by an improper interpretations. Although, the Court did stop short of making it mandatory policy in all interviews, this added protection when practicable will definitely benefit the non-English speaking citizens and visitors of the Commonwealth.
Practicing proper due diligence and staying on top of the ever changing legal field is one way that our office strives to provide the best service to our clients. Knowing changes and new requirements to the laws allow us to file the proper motions in a criminal proceeding, which can lead to evidence being suppressed and charges being dismissed.
Here at Shanley & Justin, we provide legal aid to a truly diverse set of clientele, and have staff members that are fluent in Spanish. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.
This blog is intended to be a very basic introduction to the process of applying for social security disability. This can be a very time consuming and confusing process for many people. In most cases, my clients are already dealing with significant mental and physical illnesses and they can very quickly become overwhelmed by this process (reason #1 why it's a good idea to have a lawyer). Most clients are also surprised to learn that they have applied for two different disability programs, SSDI and SSI. However, most clients do not know the difference between the two (reason #2 why it's a good idea to have a lawyer).
SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance): This is a program for those people who have worked and paid into the system. In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must not only be deemed medically disabled, according to social security's standards, https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/definedisability.htm , but you also need to have earned enough work credits to be covered. In general, you need to have worked 5 out of the last ten years to be covered for SSDI benefits. The problem? Your SSDI benefit coverage expires! Most people don't realize this. In order to be eligible for these benefits, in addition to the medical requirements, you must show that you became disabled PRIOR to the expiration of your date last insured.
So, if your date last insured is in the future, say 12/1/2016, then coverage will not be an issue for you, and you can feel free to concentrate your efforts on proving your medical disability now. But, if your DLI is in the past, say 12/1/2010, then you have some work to do. You must show not only that you are disabled now, but that your disability existed prior to 12/1/2010. This can be a much more difficult task.
SSI (Supplemental Security Income) This is a program for those people who do not have SSDI coverage. The medical requirement here is the same, you must be found to be medically disabled according to social security's standards. The difference here is that you must also show that there is a financial need as well (what social security refers to as limited income and limited resources).
Understanding the difference between these two programs and which one you may qualify for is an important part of your claim. Sometimes social security, or the Judge presiding at your hearing will ask you to amend your onset date (the date you claim you became disabled). In some cases this is a good idea, but, if you amend your onset date to a date that is AFTER your DLI, you may be denied benefits, even if you are otherwise disabled. This is just one of the many traps one can fall into when dealing with Social Security.
Innocence Projects have existed in this country for many years. The goal of these various innocence projects, which exist across the nation, is to free those who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit. There is a very important distinction to be made in the work that these organizations do, however. They are not looking for so-called legal loopholes, not interested in just a “not-guilty.” They are looking for, and often find, proof of actual innocence.
This blog will be used to provide updates on some of the more notable (and sometimes less notable) issues surrounding wrongful convictions.
If you believe you, or someone you know has been wrongfully convicted of a crime, a great place to start is the New England Innocence Project. For more information, visit their website, http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/
Perhaps the most notable recent case of a (potential at this point) wrongful conviction is the case of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. These cases were made popular by the Netflix series Making A Murderer. This documentary is fascinating and if you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. To read up on more recent developments, I also recommend the following articles:
These cases are fascinating and offer a glimpse into how damaged our criminal justice system can be. Check back for frequent updates on both of these cases as new developments emerge.