Defaults lead to bail


The holidays are time for family.  The last thing you want to do is to spend your holiday in jail.  One of the most important factors in determining if the judge will set a bail on you is how often you default.  The purpose of bail is to encourage a person to show up in court.  Therefore, if you have a lot of defaults or fail to show up to court when you are supposed to, it is more likely that you will be held on bail. 

Just because you have a warrant on a case doesn’t mean that the judge will automatically set bail.  As not all warrants are created equal or viewed in the same way.  There are two types of warrants on cases.  First, there are default warrants.  A default is entered when a person fails to show up to court when they have notice of court date.  When a person defaults the court will send out a default warrant. 

The second type of warrant is known as a straight warrant.  In the situation of a straight warrant, the defendant has not gotten notice of the court date.  This usually happens because the court was unable to reach the defendant with a letter regarding his or her court date.  

Most if not all judges view straight warrants in a more favorable way than default warrants.  It really makes sense if you think about the differences.  The court assumes that you didn’t know your court date when it issues a straight warrant and assumes you did get notice when it issues a default warrant. 

Essentially, the court views that it is your fault for defaulting on a case and that will increase the likelihood of bail being set.  Verses in the situation where you have a straight warrant, the court assumes you didn’t know therefore it isn’t your fault for not showing up.  In the situation of a straight warrant, the court is less likely to place a bail on you just because you have a warrant. 

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Owing the court money or community service could land you in jail


People don’t like court.  Most people want to get their criminal cases done as soon as possible.  As a result, many people are not paying attention to the judge.  Unfortunately, the clerk will reduce into writing the judge’s orders onto the docket (court’s paperwork). 

 A lot of pleas end up in court fines or community service.  Usually, the judge will allow a certain amount of time for the court fines to be paid or community service to be completed.  If the money or community service is paid by a certain date, the defendant usually doesn’t need to show up to court.  However, if the money isn’t paid or community service isn’t completed, the person needs to show up to court to address the situation. 

 If a person fails to show up to court to address the failure to pay or completion of community service, a warrant will be issued for the person’s arrest.  To add to the person’s problems, the court adds extra fees for removing a warrant. 

 Usually, a person won’t be sent to jail for failure to pay court fees or completing community service.  Most judges will give the person another chance to make good on their promise.  However, if the fines or community service have lagged in the court system for some time, judges have locked up people.  If a person is locked up for failure to pay a court fine, the person will usually get credit for about $30 a day.  Meaning if a person owes a $300 fine, the person would be sitting in jail for 10 days.  So the next time you owe the court a fine or community service, make sure you get it done or else you could end up in jail one day. 

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Assault and Battery Cases used a weapon in divorce court


A lot people nowadays are being charged with assault and battery. Sometimes, the alleged victim in an assault and battery case is using it as a weapon in divorce court or probate court. Unfortunately, this problem is not one that can be easily corrected.

Typically, the alleged victim calls the police and the defendant gets arrested. If the defendant does not make bail at the jail, then the defendant will usually be brought in the next available court date. This means that if the defendant is arrested on Friday night, doesn’t make bail and there is a long weekend, the earliest the defendant can get out of jail is Tuesday.

While the defendant is still waiting to be arraigned, the alleged victim may take this opportunity to go to probate court for emergency orders. It is pretty common to have a defendant get released and then find out that he or she has lost custody and has a restraining order to stay away.

This is not to say there are not true victims that only go to the probate court after an incident happens to gain custody of the children. However, there is also a certain population of people out there that seek to have a person arrested just so they can gain an advantage in divorce court.

As stated earlier, this problem is not one that can be easily corrected. The problem is that certain people call the police and make false allegations to gain an advantage; however, it is very difficult for the police to determine if people are telling the truth. Therefore, it is very important to protect yourself at all times and be prepared when false allegations may be brought against you.

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For more information: False charges http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2005/05/more_phony_crim.html

http://chat.lawinfo.com/any_penalties_attorneys-t22938/index.html?p=46971

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My girlfriend is not looking to press charges


 A person is charged with domestic assault and battery. In a domestic assault and battery, the defendant has an existing relationship with the alleged victim. Domestic assault and batteries most commonly happen between people in married or dating relationships. A person can also be charged with domestic assault and battery on their family member. Whether the assault and battery is characterized as domestic or not the maximum penalty is the same.

When most people get charged with domestic assault and battery they believe that the alleged victim is pressing the charges. As a result, they also believe that if the alleged victim isn’t pursuing the charges, the charges will be dismissed. In actuality, the charges usually came about because the police file application for criminal complaint. The clerk issued the complaint. And now the district attorney’s office is prosecuting the charges. The district attorney office is the entity that is prosecuting the charges and not the alleged victim.

Though the district attorney’s office may take the alleged victim’s wishes into consideration, the prosecution have to do what an allege victim wants. District attorneys around the country are increasing their pursuit in these types of cases. It is becoming much more difficult to resolve these cases even if the alleged victims want them dismissed.

Assault and battery charges are serious and many defendants are being wrongfully accused of these crimes. If you are charged with an assault and battery case, expect it to take at least a few cases even if the alleged victim wants the case dismissed.

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For more information regarding domestic violence and help MA laws about domestic violence

http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/domviolence.html

Help for domestic violence victims http://www.janedoe.org/ Executive Office for Sexual and Domestic Violence http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopssubtopic&L=4&sid=Eeops&L0=Home&L1=Crime+Prevention+%26+Personal+Safety&L2=Personal+Safety&L3=Sexual+and+Domestic+Violence

Resources for Domestic Violence and Abuse

http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=mg2subtopic&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Resident&L2=Family&L3=Domestic+Violence+%26+Abuse&sid=massgov2

Women’s Law

http://www.womenslaw.org/gethelp_state.php?state_code=MA

Counseling and Education to Stop Domestic Violence

http://www.emergedv.com/

Domestic Violence Unit

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/cyp/dv/pt4.htm

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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To plead or not to plead?


This is perhaps one of the most critical decisions on any criminal case. Last week, we talked about why a person would take a plea bargain. This week we aer going to talk about some factors one should consider in making the decision on whether to take a plea bargain.

First of all, a person should never agree to a plea bargain without the help of a defense attorney. This decision will remain with you for the rest of your life and it makes no sense to try to make it without a trained professional. It is fine to look information up on the web and read this blog to be better informed. However, if you need a new transmission for your car, would you do it yourself after reading information about it online?

Alright, so that being said, here is an incomplete list of things one should consider prior to pleading to a case. The potential penalties of the charges are one thing that should be considered by any defendant. One should be aware of what the maximum and potential consequences of the charges verses what the prosecution is offering for a plea bargain.

Another factor that people should consider is the evidence. People should look at what the prosecution has for evidence and how strength of that evidence. This isn’t something that is easy to assess. Most people believe certain aspects of a case are helpful when it isn’t, while others mistakenly believe other parts of a case are useless. This is where an experience attorney can shine and really be helpful to your case.

Finally, people should also consider the collateral consequences to a plea. Some of these consequences include license suspension, immigration issues, loss of financial aid, employment issues, providing DNA samples, GPS monitoring and needing to register as a sex offender. Today, plea bargains are becoming increasingly common, as fewer cases are going to trial. The decision to plead to a case verses demanding a trial is an important decision that shouldn’t be made alone.

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Why do people take plea bargains?


 In a plea bargain, essentially the defendant agrees to admit the charges and to receive a certain type of punishment. The punishment itself can vary from a fine, to probation and finally incarceration.

There are certain advantages to pleas that can’t all be covered in this post. However, I will try to cover a few main reasons why defendants decide to plead. First, a defendant will usually get a better deal pleading to a case before trial than if the defendant was found guilty after trial. It is common for the prosecution to recommend probation before trial, but jail time if the person is found guilty at trial. Therefore, many defendants may want to take a plea deal before trial to avoid jail time.

Second, the prosecution may be dismissing some charges in exchange of the defendant agreeing to a plea bargain. There are certain charges that have mandatory jail sentences. That means if you are charged with one of these crimes and convicted at trial, the judge can only sentence you to jail for that specific period of time. In order to avoid serving a minimum mandatory jail sentence a defendant may agree to a plea bargain.

Third, the defendant may just want the case to be over. I hear this all the time and try hard to convince a person not to plead to a case just to get the case over with. Once you plead to a case, it is very difficult to change the result. There are certain situations the case can be reopened, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. Court cases take time and people get impatient. Therefore, some people plead to cases just because they want to get the done. This is an awful reason to plead to a case and one should be careful about pleading just to resolve a case.

Finally, pleading to a case is serious business. It isn’t like impulsively going out to buy something that you can’t afford from the store and deciding to return it the next day. The criminal process is much more difficult and you can’t return a plea based solely on buyer’s remorse.

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Bully Beware


Even before the criminal bully statute was enacted, one DA office charged a bunch of teens for bully.  The alleged facts that surround the case are tragic and it ended with several teens being charged.  This case itself is quite interesting in the respect that it is the first time that teens are charged for this type of crime. 

 In the past and currently, there are intense debates regarding responsibility and ways to stop bullying.  Now, for the first time, teens are criminally charged for the bullying actions they committed on another individual.  This case is also interesting because it occurred prior to the new bullying law being enacted.  For the most part, it is unconstitutional to prosecute an individual based on a law that wasn’t in effect at the time of the offense.  As a result, the teens charged cannot be charged under the new bullying statute. 

There are still a lot of different types of charges one can be in violation of by bullying another individual.  One example is a person could be violation of the criminal harassment statute.  The harassment statute is not specific for bullying situations, but the elements of the crime usually fit.  In order to prove harassment, the state needs to show that the conduct happened more than once.  Bullying usually happens over a period of time and that usually isn’t much of an obstacle for the state. 

It will be very interesting to see what the defendants end up receiving as a punishment in this case.  This is unchartered territory and this case can be an example for others to take up similar prosecutions.  It is will also be interesting to see if these types of prosecutions will end the type of behavior that results in irreversible harm to victims.  Whatever the result of this case, hopefully the prosecutions of them will end the type of victimizing behavior instead of continuing to hinder school children. 

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For more information:
Fox News on teen bullying

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/03/29/charged-bullying-massachusetts-teen-killed/

 Boston Globe on teen charged for bullying

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/03/30/da_charges_9_teens_faults_school_officials_in_s_hadley_bullying_case/

 NY times on 6 charged for bullying

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30bully.html

 MA Anti-bullying bill

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/mass_senate_approves_anti-bull.html

 MA senate anti-bullying bill

http://www.bullypolice.org/ma_law.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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What in the world is a guilty file?


In Massachusetts a guilty finding is a pretty unique resolution to a case.  Essentially, a person is still found guilty, but there is no immediate sentence.  In order for the court to guilty file a charge, the judge needs the consent of both the defendant and the Commonwealth. 

 This type of sentence is most commonly seen when a defendant has several charges on the same docket.  If the defendant pleads out to the more severe charges, the Commonwealth will usually agree to guilty file the minor charges. 

 Technically, a defendant that has charges that have been guilty filed can be sentenced later on.  A defendant has the right to request sentencing on any filed charges at any time.  Obviously, unless there is some unique reason, most defendants will never request to be sentenced on a charge that has been guilty filed. 

The Commonwealth may request that a defendant be sentenced on a charge that has been filed for several reasons.  One way the prosecution may request sentencing is if a related conviction or sentence is reversed or vacated.  A second way is for the prosecution to prove that the defendant has committed a new offense.  Finally, the prosecution may request a sentence if the defendant has violated a condition that the filing was based upon. 

In Massachusetts, it is becoming more common to state when the charge will be guilty filed until.  On the new green sheets (sheets that are used by prosecutors and defense attorneys alike to write out plea deals) you will actually see an area in which you can write an end date for charges that are guilty filed.  Essentially, the Commonwealth has until that end date to request that a defendant be sentenced on a charge that has been guilty filed. 

Depending on the situation a guilty file could be a good way to resolve certain charges.  There are things that need to be kept in mind before trying to resolve your case in such a fashion.  Remember that a guilty file still counts as a conviction on your record.  Please don’t attempt to resolve your case without an experience professional. 

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For more information:

Massachusetts Criminal Procedure Rule 28: Judgment http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/source/mass/rules/criminal/crim28.html

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Not a good move: Listening to everyone, but your lawyer


Generally, people who are charged with a crime are concerned and want to know what is going on at all times.  The problem arises when a defendant chooses to talk to people who aren’t his or her lawyer to try to get advice.  Meanwhile the best thing to do is not to talk about your case with anyone, except your lawyer. 

 One of the major reasons why you don’t walk to talk to anyone other than your lawyer is anything you say can be used against you.  The last thing that you want to do is to have the district attorney summons a cell mate, girl friend, or relative to testify against you.  Essentially, what you say about a crime can be considered as an admission and can be used against you in the court of law.  On the other hand, if you talk to your attorney about the case the communication is privileged. 

Another reason why you don’t want to talk to others to try to get advice is because of the advice you will be getting.  Every case is different and there are many factors that go into determining the ultimate outcome of a case.  Just because your neighbor or mom told you that a certain outcome happened to another person charged with the same offense, doesn’t mean anything.  There is no guarantee that the same things will happen in your case.  The last thing you want to do is to listen to bad advice. 

 Obviously, the last thing you want to do is to talk to the police and listen to their advice.  Yes, police are very good listeners, but it won’t help you.  You don’t want to put yourself in a bad situation, so if you are charged with a crime, don’t try to get advice from the police. 

 Be smart, you need to make sure you talk to a lawyer as early as possible.  Don’t talk to anyone about your case.  You also don’t want to listen to anyone’s advice, especially those of others in jail.  Remember if your cell mate had such great advice, he wouldn’t be sharing a room with you. 

 Interes9ted twitter followers please visit- twitter: http://twitter.com/AttorneyChan

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For more information:

Working with your lawyer http://www.paulerogers.com/worklaw.htm

 Tips on working with your lawyer http://www.fatherhoodqic.org/ten_tips.pdf

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Violating probation could lead to more jail


Most people would rather be on probation than be in jail.  Therefore, most are willing to accept any terms on probation to avoid jail time.  The problem arises when the person violates probation.  If probation is violated, it is possible to serve more jail time than a straight committed sentence.

A straight committed sentence is when a person is committed to jail for a certain period of time.  It is understandable that people want to get out of jail so they want probation.  The problem occurs when people violate the terms of their probation and end up back in court.

If a person is found in violation of their probation, the judge can sentence the violator to the maximum sentence for each charge they are on probation for.  Technically if a person has 4 different charges they are on probation for, and if each charge carries a sentence of up to 2 ½, then a person could be in jail for up to ten years.  Now it is uncommon to see a judge, especially in district court to sentence a violator to serve a sentence consecutively, or one after another.  It is more common to see a judge allow a person to serve their sentences together or concurrently. 

 However, the issue still remains that under certain circumstances a short committed sentence may be better in the long run than probation.  If a person knows that they are not a good probation candidate and they are just going to end up violating then a straight committed sentence may be the way to go.  In the end, doesn’t it make sense to be in jail for a shorter amount of time right away verses a much longer period of time down the road?  This is something that you should consider prior to agreeing to probation. 

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For more information:

 http://www.jud.ct.gov/faq/adultprob.html

http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/juvenilecourt/violation-probation-order.pdf

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statuTes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0948/titl0948.htm

http://www.criminal-law-lawyer-source.com/terms/probation-violation.html

http://www.delsignoredefense.com/lawyer-attorney-1426070.html

http://www.mckennapc.com/PracticeAreas/ProbationViolation.asp

http://www.topaziolaw.com/PracticeAreas/Clerk-Hearings-Probation-Hearings.asp

http://www.expertlaw.com/library/criminal/sentences.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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