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5 Fletcher Street
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Chelmsford, MA 01824

Phone: (978) 341-5044
Fax: (866) 611-6173

Email: info@granthamlegal.com

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Criminal Defense

Domestic Violence

Wrongful accusation of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment will stay with you for the rest of your life.

If a former boyfriend or girlfriend, a family member, or former family member, or a family member of your former spouse or partner files a domestic violence complaint, the police are required to make an arrest.

If you are arrested on domestic violence charges, do not speak to anyone about the incident, including the police or social workers who claim to be "on your side".  Anything you say to them can be used as evidence against you in court.

Call Tameka Grantham at 978-341-5044.  I will listen to your side, explain what you are facing, and be upfront with you about what will happen next.  I will fight for your rights and freedom.

Drug Crimes

In Massachusetts, a drug crime involves illegal activity involving a chemical substance.  Some of the most common drugs used for illegal activity include heroin, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, PCP, LSD, and unauthorized prescriptions like Vicodin.  Massachusetts state and federal statutes strictly prohibit the use, manufacture, and distribution of illegal drugs. 

If you have been charged with a drug crime, you should take the charges very seriously.  The District Attorney's Office works with law enforcement and task forces to prosecute drug crimes to the fullest extent of the law.  A drug conviction may result in life-altering consequences, including a tarnished reputation, permanent criminal record, and limitations on housing and employment, not to mention judicial penalties imposed by the court.

Types of Drug Crimes

There are many types of drug crimes, including, but not limited to:

  • Possession
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Trafficking
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Distribution
  • Cultivation
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Prescription Drug Fraud
  • Soliciting Drugs/Drug Paraphernalia to Minors

Massachusetts Drug Crime Penalties

Crimes involving drugs are among the most aggressively prosecuted crimes in Massachusetts.  Drug crime punishments in Massachusetts vary depending upon the type of drug possessed, the quantity of the drug possessed, the purpose behind the possession, prior drug charges, and whether the drug was distributed or sold to minors or distributed or sold on school property or within 100' of a park.

Convicted drug offenders may be sentenced with:

  • Probation
  • Imprisonment
  • Minimum-mandatory prison sentences
  • Monetary fines
  • Drug offender registration
  • Community service
  • Court mandated drug rehabilitation programs
  • A permanent criminal record

Theft Crimes

Under Massachusetts law, there are a variety of theft crimes for which a person can be charged, including:

  • Burglary
  • Armed Burglary
  • Breaking and Entering
  • Embezzlement
  • Larceny
  • Larceny by False Pretenses
  • Shoplifting
  • Fraud
  • Drawing or Uttering Fraudulent Checks
  • Identity Fraud
  • Possession of Burglarious Tools or Instruments
  • Receiving Stolen Property

Massachusetts Theft Crime Penalties

In Massachusetts, criminal punishment of theft crimes is taken very seriously by the District Attorney's Office.  Penalties for a theft crime conviction can vary depending on the crime committed, whether the defendant has a criminal record, whether the defendant has been convicted of a theft crime in the past, and whether the defendant used a weapon.

Depending on the above factors, theft crime penalties include:

  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Monetary fines
  • Restitution to the victims
  • Incarceration
  • Restraining Orders
  • A permanent criminal record

If you have been charged with a theft crime in Massachusetts, it is important to seek sound legal advice from an attorney who will fight for your rights and freedom.  Call Tameka Grantham at 978-341-5044 today.

Violent Crimes

In Massachusetts a violent crime is considered any criminal act that involves the use of physical force, weapons, or the verbal threat of violence.  The District Attorney's Office aggressively prosecutes those defendants charged with violent crimes in Massachusetts.

Types of Violent Crimes in Massachusetts

  • Murder
  • Attempted Murder
  • Assault with Intent to Murder
  • Assault with Intent to Kill
  • Malicious Destruction of Property
  • Home Invasion
  • Mayhem
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault and Battery
  • Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon
  • Manslaughter
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • Robbery
  • Armed Robbery
  • Unlawful Sales of Firearms
  • Assault with Intent to Rob

Penalties for Violent Crimes in Massachusetts

If you are arrested and charged with a violent crime, immediately contact attorney Tameka Grantham at 978-341-5044.

Clerk's Hearings

A Clerk Magistrate Hearing (also known as a "show cause" hearing) is often the first step in a Massachusetts civil or criminal case.  Frequently, you will receive a summons in the mail instead of being arrested and arraigned on misdemeanor charges. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the Commonwealth to move forward with criminal charges against you.  You should not attend a clerk's hearing alone! A clerk's hearing can be an excellent opportunity to negotiate a plea or get the charges against you dismissed, saving you time and money.

Restraining Orders

In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 209A sets the standards for obtaining a restraining order, also called an Order for Protection from Abuse.  M.G.L. c. 209A authorizes a person in fear of abuse to apply for and obtain a restraining order against another person.  A 209A restraining order may be obtained against a person who qualifies under Chapter 209A as a family or household member. 

Family or household members is defined under Chapter 209A as person who:

  • is or was married to one another;
  • are or were residing together in the same household;
  • are or were related by blood or marriage;
  • having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; or
  • are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship

"Abuse" as defined by Chapter 209A

  1. attempting to cause or causing physical harm,
  2. placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm,
  3. causing someone to engage in sexual relations involuntarily by force, threat or duress.

Chapter 258E Restraining Orders and Recent Changes in the Law

Before the state legislature changed the law in 2010, a 209A restraining order could only be enforced against persons falling into certain categories of relationships, such as family members, current or former spouses, or people who were dating.  However, in 2010, the  state legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Chapter 258E, which expanded the reach of the restraining order to include people outside the home or a family/dating relationship. 

Now, a restraining order can be sought against almost anyone accused of "harassment," including neighbors, friends, mailmen, and anyone else who the person seeking the restraining order is in fear of.

"Harassment" is defined as

  • 3 or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person committed with the intent to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property and that does in fact cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property; or
  • an act that: (A) by force, threat or duress causes another to involuntarily engage in sexual relations; or (B) constitutes a violation of section 13B, 13F, 13H, 22, 22A, 23, 24, 24B, 26C, 43 or 43A of chapter 265 or section 3 of chapter 272″, one can now apply to the court for a harassment prevention, regardless of the presence of any family relationship.

Effects of a Restraining Order Issued Under Chapter 258E

A defendant in an action under Chapter 258E can be ordered to:

  • Not to contact the Plaintiff, regardless of whether the Plaintiff is an adult or a minor;
  • Stay away from the Plaintiff's home or workplace;
  • Pay the Plaintiff monetary compensation for the losses suffered as a direct result of the harassment.  Such compensatory damages may include, loss of earnings, out-of-pocket losses for injuries or property damaged, cost of replacement of locks, medical expenses, cost for obtaining an unlisted phone number and reasonable attorney's fees;
  • To refrain from harassing or abusing the Plaintiff.

Restraining orders in Massachusetts is a contentious topic and can result in very serious consequences for someone who is wrongly accused of harassment.  Unfortunately, a person only has to go to the police station or a courthouse and fill out a form complaining that they have suffered abuse or harassment as defined by the statute and the restraining order is issued.

In Massachusetts, it is all too common for people getting divorced or going through a custody battle to seek a restraining order as retaliation or vengeance.  Changes in the law have made it easier for a person who may not have met the standard of proof to have an order enter under Chapter 209A, to now get an order under Chapter 258E. Although the proceedings under Chapter 258E are civil in nature, a violation of the order is criminal, the same as under Chapter 209A.

Examples of Violating a Restraining Order

  • Sending flowers anonymously;
  • Texting, calling, instant messaging, emailing;
  • Having a third person tell the Plaintiff you love them ;
  • Contacting the Plaintiff using another person.

Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in Massachusetts

  • Monetary fine of $5,000.00 or less
  • Imprisonment for up to 2 1/2 years

If you believe you are about to be served with, or have been served with a restraining order, contact Attorney Tameka Grantham at 978-341-5044 immediately.  Tameka Grantham will fight for your rights and freedom!

Criminal Records Sealing

Public access to criminal records is regulated by Massachusetts law.  A Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI report is an individual's criminal record.  CORI information is kept by the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB) and anyone performing a background check can access information about your criminal convictions, arrests, dispositions, periods of incarceration or probation, restitution orders and other information. 

Waiting Periods and Recent Changes in the Law

In most instances, you must wait a certain amount of time after the final disposition of your case before you may request your record to be sealed.  A final disposition is the date your case ended in court, the date you finished probation, or the date you completed your sentence - whichever is the latest.  In other words, if you were sentenced to probation, the date of finished probation is the date of final disposition.  The waiting period begins after your probation ends.

Juvenile Records

Juvenile or delinquency records can be sealed after a three (3) year waiting period.  A juvenile is a person between the ages of 7 and 17 years old.  You cannot seal a juvenile criminal record is you have been convicted of a crime in the three (3) years before you petition to seal your record.

Newer Adult Cases

Due to a recent Supreme Judicial Court Ruling in Commonwealth v. Boe, 456 Mass. 337, (Mar. 25, 2010), a judge can no longer expunge a criminal record.  Instead, G.L. c. 276 § 100C allows a judge to seal newer, "non-aged" cases where your case ended in a dismissal, acquittal, nolle prosequi, continued without a finding, or where no probable cause was found AND where you were not on probation.  To get a record sealed under §100C you must file a Motion to Seal with the court that handled your case and go to court for a hearing where you will ask the judge to seal your case.

Older Adult Cases

For older cases which have "aged-out" and where you pled guilty or were convicted, G.L. c. 276 §§100A and 100B require that a you must wait for a significant amount of time to pass between the conviction, probation/supervision or sentence to pass before you can request that a criminal record be sealed.  After the waiting period, you may file a Petition to Seal directly with the Commissioner of Probation. 

Massachusetts has one of the strictest sealing statutes in the country and currently requires a ten (10) year waiting period for a misdemeanor and fifteen (15) years for a felony.  On July 31, 2010, the Massachusetts Legislature adopted CORI reform which will allow a petitioners to request to seal their record after only five (5) years for a misdemeanor and ten (10) years for a felony.  The reduction in the waiting period and other important changes in the law do not take effect until May 2012.  Now is the time to contact experienced criminal defense attorney Tameka Grantham to obtain your CORI and get the process started.

 

Call 978-341-5044, or email me to schedule a consultation.

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