What Happens If I Don’t Respond to A Criminal Citation?

Getting a citation is never a good thing but getting a criminal citation can be especially nerve-wracking. When people receive a criminal citation, they’re often left with many unanswered questions. Let’s dig a little deeper to find out what your criminal citation means and what the possible consequences of not responding are. 

What is a Criminal Citation? 

A criminal citation is a written citation of charges being held against you. You may receive a criminal citation in person, directly from an officer, or in the mail. Typically, there will be a 4-day response window for the criminal citation from the date it’s received. That 4-day window allows the defendant to request something called a clerk magistrate hearing to settle their case. 

How Does a Clerk Magistrate Hearing Differ from a Normal Hearing? 

A clerk magistrate hearing is a type of hearing that’s less formal than a traditional court hearing. Multiple cases are over-seen by a judge in a short period of time, rather than a full-blown court hearing. A clerk magistrate hearing can help the defendant avoid jail time and make the fees (if any apply) for the citation more manageable. 

What if You Miss the 4-Day Window? 

If you don’t respond to a criminal citation within 4 days, you’ll likely receive a court summons for a trial and possible arraignment. The best way to avoid this, of course, is to respond to the citation within the 4-day window. Some cities and states are more lenient than others and if you respond to the criminal citation in person, you may be granted a clerk magistrate hearing even if the 4-day window has passed.

When to Seek Professional Advice 

You should seek the advice of an attorney if you’re facing a criminal citation you would like to fight, or if you missed the 4-day window and have received a court summons. Even in the event of a court summons and hearing, you can be acquitted of the criminal citation if your attorney is able to win the case. 

Attorney Benjamin UrbelisCriminal citations should be taken very seriously because if they aren’t, the consequences can quickly become more severe. Respond to your criminal citation as soon as it’s received or enlist the help of an attorney if you have any questions regarding the criminal citation you received. Have an attorney help oversee your clerk magistrate hearing to ensure you receive a fair ruling by the judge and avoid further trial or jail time.

The Penalties for Armed Robbery in Massachusetts

Committing an armed robbery is a serious offense in any state, but each state has a different set of consequences for those that commit an armed robbery crime. If you’re facing armed robbery charges in Massachusetts, it’s important to understand what you might be facing and what you can do to achieve the best possible outcome. 

Armed Robbery Definition 

To be charged with an armed robbery in Massachusetts the prosecuting attorney has to be able to prove a few things. These things include: 

  • You were armed with a potentially dangerous weapon during the robbery
  • You assaulted someone during the robbery
  • The robbery took place – you must have robbed, stolen, or took something from the accuser

If these things cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, you can’t be convicted of an armed robbery in Massachusetts. 

Armed Robbery Penalties

If convicted of an armed robbery, the maximum penalty is life in a state prison, although the maximum penalty is not typically applied to first time offenders. First time offenders will likely face some jail time, with a possibility of probation after your release. 

Aggravating Factors

Certain factors make an armed robbery charge worse, causing higher penalties to be assigned. A minimum 5-year sentence in a state prison will be assigned to anyone convicted of an armed robbery in which they wore a mask or disguise to hide their identity. You’ll face a sentence of at least 10 years in a state prison if this is your second offense using a mask or disguise. If the weapon used during the robbery was a firearm, you’ll face a minimum sentence if 5 years for the first offense and a minimum of 15 years for a second offense. Keep in mind these are minimum sentencing requirements, but you can receive a much higher sentence if the judge sees fit. 

Protecting Yourself

If you’re facing armed robbery charges in any state, including Massachusetts, it’s important that you have proper legal representation. Contact an experienced attorney that has handled armed robbery cases before to learn about options you may for proving your innocence, entering a plea deal, and asking for lighter sentencing.

 If you have been wrongly accused of an armed robbery, it’s important to seek legal representation right away. 

Attorney Benjamin Urbelis

Call our offices today to schedule a consultation before you speak with any law enforcement officers and say something that may incriminate yourself of a crime. 

Understanding Common College Crimes

College is a fun and liberating time when young adults can discover themselves as individuals. As great as the experience can be, it takes and unexpected negative turn for many college students. With close quarters and immature minds combined, college crimes are very common. Some of the most common college crimes include:

Theft

Theft can happen anywhere on a college campus. From petty theft of personal items in the dormitory, to a more severe case of theft such as breaking into a car or stealing textbooks and laptops, theft is inevitable. Theft is generally hard to prove without an eyewitness, physical evidence, or security camera footage of the theft taking place. 

Alcohol Crimes

Alcohol crimes are some of the most common, and frequently missed by law enforcement. Alcohol crimes is a blanket term that includes underage drinking, driving under the influence, purchasing alcohol for minors, public intoxication, and more. 

Drug Crimes

It’s no secret that drugs circulate around college campuses. Drug crimes are taken very seriously by college campuses and get reported quickly. Drug crimes are also treated very harshly by the criminal justice system, often coming with jail time, probation, and more life-altering consequences. 

Sexual Crimes

With high numbers of young people in one place, sex crimes are a regular occurrence on most college campuses. When drugs or alcohol are involved with the sex crime, a case quickly becomes more complicated. Sex crimes can have very serious consequences that will follow the accused for the rest of their lives. It’s important to ensure that both sides of the story are heard, not just that of the victim. 

If you’re facing one of these common college crimes, you need the assistance of an experienced college defense lawyer. A defense lawyer will hear your side of the story and determine if they may be able to fight and win the case. If you’re guilty of the accused crimes, a criminal defense lawyer can help to negotiate plea deals and lesser sentencing than if you attempt to face the charges on your own. College criminal defense lawyers understand that college provides a unique environment where crimes are bound to occur, but that doesn’t mean it should ruin the life of the accused individual. 

Attorney Benjamin UrbelisContact our office today to set up an appointment for your criminal defense consultation and learn more about what your options are. Just because it feels like an accusation will affect you for the rest of your life, doesn’t mean it has to! 

Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Investigation

Facing criminal charges is never a good thing. You face the possibility of jail, probation, and heft fines depending on the offense. Many people don’t realize that there are additional consequences that can follow them for years after a criminal investigation. These are just a few of the collateral consequences you could end up facing. 

Licensing Consequences 

If you hold a professional license for your profession, it can be stripped away after a criminal investigation, if you’re found guilty of the crimes. This typically will only occur if the crime is directly related to your line of work or signals the judge that you may no longer be fit to perform your job without the risk of future crimes being committed. 

DCF Investigations

DCF, also known as the Department of Children and Family Services, is responsible for keeping children in safe and stable homes. Following some criminal investigations, DCF may open a case against you. When a DCF case is opened they’ll perform a home inspection, conduct interviews with members of the household, and determine rather or not you can provide a stable home for your children. Even if the initial investigation goes well, you may be subject to random DCF visits in the future.  

Gun Possession 

Felons are not allowed to possess a firearm. After being convicted of a felony, you will no longer be able to obtain a gun license in the United States. In some cases, involving fire arms and controlled substances, your right to own a firearm may be taken away even if it isn’t a felony conviction. 

Deportation 

If you’re an immigrant in the united states, criminal conviction may be a violation of your immigration status and cause you to be deported. If you’re in the United States as an illegal immigrant, committing a crim will definitely get you deported. The deportation process quickly separates families and forces you to give up the freedoms and rights you’ve become accustomed to here in the states. 

Attorney Benjamin UrbelisIf you’re facing a criminal conviction, rather it’s a felony or not, you should seek the help of an experienced lawyer to ensure you get fair representation. Your lawyer can help to prove your innocence, negotiate plea deals, and attempt to manage the terms of your conviction. Contact a lawyer as soon as you learn you’re facing a criminal conviction to give yourself the best chance of avoiding some or all of these consequences. 

Questions to Ask A Lawyer Before Hiring Them

Hiring a lawyer to help you with your legal troubles is an important step in any criminal case. Lawyers are everywhere, so finding a good one is not always easy. Most lawyers offer free consultation services so that you can get to know them and they can briefly review your case. This is a great time to ask some hard-hitting questions to ensure you hire the best lawyer for your particular case. 

How Long Have Your Been Practicing Law? 

In general, most people facing criminal conviction feel more comfortable with an established attorney who has plenty of experience. Ask about how many years the lawyer has been practicing, and roughly how many cases they’ve handled during that time. 

What Cases Do You Handle Most Often? 

Just because a lawyer is established doesn’t mean they’re established in your area of need. Some lawyers specialize in car accidents, while others are more familiar with violent offenses like armed robbery. The types of cases they typically handle and what you’re comfortable with is up to your discretion. 

What’s Your Success Rate in Similar Cases? 

If the lawyer does have experience in similar cases, ask what their success rate for their clients is. Success typically means getting their client acquitted of the charges, but it my also include getting a plea deal or lesser sentencing. 

What Outcome Should I Expect from My Case? 

Based on the information you provide; the lawyer should be able to tell you what outcome to expect from your case. This expected outcome won’t be 100% accurate since they don’t know everything the prosecution has against you yet, but it will give you a rough idea of what to expect in the coming weeks and months. They can also tell you if you would benefit from a plea deal, or even an out of court settlement option that is potentially cheaper and less time consuming. 

Attorney Benjamin UrbelisHiring a lawyer to defend you is a serious decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Look for a lawyer that you feel comfortable talking to, and one that you’re confident in their ability to defend you. When it’s your turn to ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask hard-hitting questions to put your mind at ease. Any good lawyer understands how serious the process is and how important it is for each client to find a lawyer they’re comfortable with, so they’ll gladly answer any question you have! 

Why Was My Bail Denied?

During a criminal arraignment, it is the judge’s responsibility to consider the unique circumstances of each case and set a bail amount based on that information to ensure thee suspect appears for their trial. The defendant (or a family member) will be required to pay the bail in full or post a bond and if the individual does not appear in court, that bail or bond is forfeited.

In some cases, bail can be denied, and the individual will be held in jail until their trial.

Commons Reasons for Bail to be Denied

If bail is denied, it may be due to one of these factors:

You Are Considered a Flight Risk

During the arraignment, the prosecution will present evidence that supports the probability of the individual showing up for their trial date. If an individual has a history of not appearing to court or has excessive funds, a passport, and the means to leave the state or country easily, the judge will deny bail.

You Are Accused of a Serious and/or Violent Crime

Bail is not only put in place to ensure an individual appears to court, but they are also a way to protect the community. If an individual is accused of a serious and/or violent crime, such as murder, the judge will either set a very high bail amount or deny bail altogether. If the prosecution is seeking life in prison, bail is unlikely.

You Are Not a United States Citizen

When a crime is committed, their immigration status is also considered. If the individual is not a citizen of the United States, they are more likely to flee the country and the judge might deny bail and put an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold placed against you.

You Pose a Threat to the Public

If there is potential that an individual will commit other crimes will out on bail or if the individual is dangerous to the public, bail will be denied.

You Are Already on Parole or Probation

If an individual is already on parole or probation during the time of the crime, the judge is less likely to grant bail as that individual is considered a repeat offender and will likely break the law again.

Before your bail arraignment, contact our team at Urbelis Law at (617) 830-2188 to ensure your best chance for receiving bail.

The Hidden Costs of an OUI Conviction

While going out for a few drinks with friends isn’t very expensive, the costs of driving while intoxicated are often much higher than people realize. Not only are you putting your life and the lives around you at risk, but there are also high fees associated with legal fees, fines, license suspension and reinstation, drug and alcohol treatment classes, and more.

A blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher can result in an OUI charge and will cost you thousands more than the $30 you just spent on drinks at the bar.

What Are the Costs Associated with an OUI Conviction?

Most first and second offenses for OUI charges are charged as misdemeanors and carry lower fees and fines, but third, fourth, and fifth offenses can be charged as a felony and result in jail time.

  • Fines – The fines of an OUI depend on the severity of the charge but there is a minimum of $50 with some fines as high as $50,000.
  • Jail Time and/or Bail – There is a daily fee that adds up over time when an individual is incarcerated, and the individual is required to pay these fines. If the individual is released on bail, which the individual or family member will have to pay the entire bail or post a bond. If the individual does not appear for court, the bail or bond is forfeited.
  • Attorney Fees – When facing an OUI charge, you will need an attorney, even if it’s the first offense. These fees will vary depending on the attorney and the logistics of the case.
  • License Suspension and Reissue Fees – When charged with an OUI, there is an automatic license suspension ranging from 30 days to 10 years, depending on the charge. Once the individual’s driver’s license can be instated, they will have to pay a reinstatement fee which can range from $100 to $1,200.
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Classes – In some cases, the court will require the individual facing the OUI charge to complete drug and alcohol treatment classes, which will be part of the sentence or probation requirements. All fees associated with these classes will be paid by the defendant.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) – An OUI offender might be required to use an Ignition Interlock Device, especially if it is their second offense. These devices have an installation fee and monthly monitoring fee.
  • Higher Insurance Premiums – Once the driver’s license is reinstated, insurance companies will increase premium rates for those convicted of an OUI. These increases will depend on the circumstances of the OUI, the number of offenses, and the existing driving record.
  • Loss of Job/Income – After being convicted of an OUI, some employers will refuse to continue employment for that individual. In this case, there would be a loss of income and the conviction could make it difficult to obtain future employment.

If you are facing an OUI conviction, contact our team at Urbelis Law at (617) 830-2188.

 

What Should I Wear to Court?

It’s crucial to give yourself every advantage possible when going to court, and one of those is making a good first impression. Everyone present in the courtroom will be taking note of how you choose to represent yourself and dressing appropriately shows that you respect the judge and judicial process. To help you put your best foot forward and give a great first impression, we’ve compiled our best tips for what to wear to court below.

Courtroom Attire Guidelines

The state of Massachusetts has its own set of courtroom attire guidelines that are gender-specific and include considering court a formal event. The guidelines recommend you don’t wear:

  • Shorts, hats, or flip flops
  • A halter, tube-top, or see-through top
  • Clothing that exposes your midriff or underwear
  • Ripped or torn jeans
  • Baggy pants that fall below your waist
  • Clothing that promotes illegal or inappropriate activity
  • Clothing that promotes violence, sex acts, illegal drug use, or profanity

We suggest dressing formally, ensuring your clothing fits well, and you look neat and put together. Although dressing conservative might not be your personal style, it is expected in a courtroom setting.

Choosing Your Outfit

While it is not necessary to purchase a new outfit specifically for your court date, it is important to ensure your outfit is clean, pressed, and not too loose or too tight. The courtroom is a formal setting and you should dress as you would if you were going to a meeting at a conservative office job.

Men – Consider wearing a long-sleeve button-down shirt and tie with dress pants and dress shoes. If the weather is colder, add a solid color sweater or suit jacket.

Woman – Consider dress pants or a skirt paired with a blouse or sweater, or a conservative dress. Keep your accessories simple and avoid bold lipstick or over-styled hair.

If you have visible tattoos or piercings, considering taking them out or covering them up for your court date.

Preparing for Court

Beyond selecting an appropriate outfit, plan to get a hair cut at least a week before your scheduled court appearance, be freshly showered and neatly groomed. Facial hair should be trimmed or shaved, and makeup should be conservative. Don’t forget to brush and dry your hair, brush your teeth, and apply deodorant before your arrival.

By carrying out these tasks, you can set yourself up for success during your court hearing. Always have a great legal defense if possible, to ensure your rights are protected and a comprehensive defense is built.

For your free consultation, contact our team at Urbelis Law at (617) 830-2188.

What is an Administrative Hearing?

An administrative hearing is a trial-like proceeding prior to any formal criminal charges are filed. As far as the law is concerned, these hearings allow any potential charges to disappear as if the alleged incident never happened.

How Urbelis Law Can Help

At Urbelis Law, our Managing Attorney Benjamin Urbelis guides his clients through the administrative hearing process. Regularly representing clients at clerk magistrate hearings, probation violation/surrender hearings, and Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV/DMV) hearings, Benjamin has proven success at preventing formal criminal charges from being filed.

Whether you’re in the process of an administrative hearing or simply going through the police interview process, having our team of criminal defense lawyers on your side will increase the chances of your success.

Types of Administrative Hearings We Represent

Clerk Magistrate Hearings – Requested if you are accused of a misdemeanor criminal offense (excluding OUIs, domestic assault & battery, and shoplifting) that did not take place in the presence of a police officer.

Police Interviews/Question – When the police contact you and ask you to go into the station for questioning. Remember, when you voluntarily go into the station, they are not required to give you Miranda warnings and it’s best to have a criminal defense lawyer with you to help you determine how to proceed.

Probation Violation/Surrender Hearings – The outcome when a probation officer has reasons to believe you violated the terms of your probation. Some of these violations include missed payment to probation or the court, failure to attend a court-ordered class or community service, or failure to notify probation of an address or employment change.

Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV/DMV) Hearings – We zealously advocate for our clients throughout the RMV appeals process, whether you are facing a suspension for an OUI charge, multiple moving violations, or even a non-motor vehicle drug charge.

Restraining Orders/Abuse Prevention Orders/209A Violations – If you are served with a 209A restraining order, the first thing you should do is contact your criminal defense attorney at Urbelis Law. Your attorney will be able to investigate, prepare, and clear his schedule for your court date.

Sealing Criminal Records – If you have bee convicted of a misdemeanor conviction and your conviction date was more than five years ago or if your last felony charge is at least 10 years old, Benjamin Urbelis of Urbelis Law can help you through the process of sealing your criminal record.

Warrant Removals – If you have an outstanding warrant or believe that there is a warrant for your request, you run the risk of being arrested anytime, anywhere. By having our Managing Attorney Benjamin Urbelis evaluate the facts and circumstances, he will be able to provide you with the proper representation.

Free Consultation with Urbelis Law

Attorney Benjamin UrbelisOur criminal defense team at Urbelis Law has extensive success with administrative hearings and has worked aggressively to ensure formal criminal charges are not filed against our clients. If you have not yet been charged with a crime but are facing any of the issues or hearings we outlined above, contact our team today at (617) 830-2188 for your free consultation!

What Happens if I Violate My Probation?

With over 80,000 individuals on probation in Massachusetts alone, the main goal of the probation system is to keep individuals safe and provide those that are on probation with the tools they need to rehabilitate their lives.

Roughly 30% of individuals that are on probation are reincarcerated within three years of being released into the community.*

What Activities Violate Probation?

There are several circumstances that violate the terms of probation. They include:

  1. Failing to report to your probation officer as required by the terms of your probation.
  2. Failing to pay required court fees, fines, and/or restitution.
  3. Failing a drug or alcohol test if the terms of your probation include refraining from drugs or alcohol.
  4. Staying away from individuals from incidents that you may have been involved in.
  5. Being arrested or convicted of another crime while being on probation.

What Do I Do if I Receive a Surrender Notice?

If you have received a notice to appear after violating your probation, immediately contact our team at Urbelis Law to find out next and what your options are.

Depending on the circumstance, the probation officer may request you to be placed in jail until the surrender healing, without bond. You will then go before a judge and the probation officer will present the allegations against you before the judge makes a final determination.

If there is probable cause to show that you violated your probation, a final surrender hearing will be scheduled where witnesses will be called, and evidence will be brought forward. All witnesses will have the opportunity to be cross-examined.

Your defense attorney might also recommend stipulating the violation if it is in your best interested to do so. This can be a way to avoid returning to prison.

What Happens if the Judge Determines I Violated the Terms of My Violation?

If the judge determines you have violated the terms of your probation, the judge might allow you to continue your probation under stricter rules and violations. The worst-case scenario would be having to return to prison to serve out your sentence.

To ensure you have the best chance in your surrender healing, contact our team at Urbelis Law at (617) 830-2188.

*https://www.mass.gov/doc/three-year-recidivism-rates-2014-release-cohort/download