Criminal And Trial Court Advocacy

Serpa Law Office is a Boston criminal defense law firm and Massachusetts trial court law firm with expertise in a large range of criminal cases.

What Crimes Does Serpa Law Office Defend on Behalf of its Clients?

Attorney Joe Serpa is a Georgetown Law educated criminal defense attorney located in Boston. Mr. Serpa’s expertise in Massachusetts criminal cases and procedure has come by successfully representing thousands of clients for nearly three decades in all of Massachusetts’ criminal courts, whether the Boston Municipal Court, Massachusetts District Court or Massachusetts Superior Court. Attorney Serpa’s focus is to find outcomes that preserve clients’ futures with an emphasis on dismissals of cases. Criminal records can be devastating. Mr. Serpa pursues every possible avenue to avoid a criminal record.

Mr. Serpa has defended clients over two decades over a broad range of offenses, from life felonies to misdemeanors. The following list represents broadly what we have done for our clients, but is not nearly comprehensive. You can contact Serpa Law Office at 617.936.0201 to discuss what other offenses we have handled over the years.

See real-time client reviews of Mr. Serpa’s work HERE.

Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Common charges in Massachusetts criminal defense for domestic violence include assault and battery on a family or household member, violation of restraining orders, intimidation of a witness, stalking, and harassment.  In Boston and all of Massachusetts, defending domestic violence charges requires a defense lawyer with deep skill, empathy smarts.

Massachusetts courts prioritize victim safety, as they should and must. However, defendants in criminal cases have critical rights. Boston criminal attorney Joe Serpa has repeatedly identified the most effective avenues of defense and achieved dismissals or acquittals for clients. Experienced attorneys can challenge evidence, negotiate dismissals or plea bargains, and explore self-defense arguments when applicable. Additionally, Massachusetts recognizes the potential for false accusations and mistaken identities, making a strong defense strategy crucial. Remember, domestic violence cases are emotionally charged, and legal counsel can provide invaluable support and guidance throughout the process. If you find yourself facing such charges, seeking immediate legal representation is essential to protect your rights and navigate the legal system effectively.

Chapter 209A Restraining Orders or Abuse Prevention Orders

A second consequence of domestic violence offense is a judgment under the Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Act, under Chapter 209A of our General Laws. A second relatively new law, Chapter 211E provides similar protection from harassment or violence inflicted by people who are not family or household members or romantic partners. This body of law allows judges to order individuals to stay away from domestic partners or family members, as well as to pay money damages, relinquish firearms and vacate their homes for extended periods of time or for life. While these cases are technically civil disputes, they can lead to very serious criminal prosecutions for violations of an abuse prevention order.

Operating or Driving Under the Influence

Boston criminal defense attorney Joe Serpa has deep expertise in defending Massachusetts “OUI” or DUI” cases charging Operating or Driving under the Influence. The offense occurs when someone is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance such that their ability to drive safely is impaired. Alternately, a Massachusetts DUI case can allege that a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit of .08 percent. In Massachusetts, a driver is “operating” a motor vehicle even when the vehicle is not in motion, as long as the ignition is engaged.

Even for a first offense, Massachusetts DUI penalties can include incarceration, license suspension or revocation, substantial fines, community service, mandatory attendance in a Massachusetts alcohol drivers education program and the required installation (at the your expense) of a car ignition interlocking device. In addition, a Massachusetts OUI or DUI conviction remains permanently on your driving history. An OUI or DUI conviction can also jeopardize your employment opportunities and your commercial driver’s license. Further, any OUI or DUI conviction will be far more serious for a repeat offense.

A defendant in Massachusetts will be charged with a serious felony if someone is injured or dies in an alcohol related accident. In Massachusetts, a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in state prison is the punishment for these more serious and tragic offenses.

Motor Vehicle Crimes

Motor vehicle crimes in Massachusetts can be punished in the trial courts and at the Registry of Motor Vehicles for the same conviction. The complex body of law that regulates the operation of motor vehicles on the streets and highways can be overwhelming without the assistance of a talented attorney. Examples of motor vehicle crimes include operating under the influence, operating to endanger, drag racing, and driving with a suspended license.

Firearms Possession

Massachusetts has some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws. Unlicensed possession of a gun outside of your home or business carries mandatory jail sentences. Possession of a gun at home or work without and FID card is also a serious offense. Possession of certain types of weapons anywhere, such as high capacity firearms or sawed off shotguns also carries mandatory jail time.

Sex and Computer Crimes

Sex crimes can include accusations of rape, rape of a child, indecent assault and battery, open and gross lewdness and possession of child pornography. Nearly all sex crimes are considered felonies and require convicted defendants to register publicly sex offenders with the local and state authorities where they live and work. Consequences also include prohibitions from being within a certain distance of schools, parks and other places. Charges of sexual misconduct carry extremely serious penalties and these crimes are commonly punished seriously and have severe life consequences as well.

Drugs and Narcotics Charges

Massachusetts controlled substances offenses can carry mandatory periods of incarceration, particularly for convictions of distribution-related offenses, even for very small amounts of controlled substances. Massachusetts has recently followed a national trend of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. It remains a felony in Massachusetts to distribute or to intend to distribute marijuana, however.

Driving with a Suspended License

Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a crime, and can result in heavy fines and sometimes in mandatory jail time. At worst, it may be considered a felony, and the offender could end up in state prison or with an obligation to perform many hours of community service. The penalties are typically heaviest if the license suspension or revocation was the result of a conviction for operating or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OUI/DUI).

Serious Violent Crimes and Murder Trials

Massachusetts criminalizes a large variety of violent crimes, from murder to simple assault and battery. Our office has defended clients in countless such cases over the years, including in jury trials charging murder, attempted murder, motor vehicle homicide, mayhem and aggravated assault and battery. Our clients have been found not guilty in nearly all such cases.

The most serious violent crime in Massachusetts is first degree murder, which is killing a person deliberately and with premeditation. Lesser offenses include manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide and vehicular homicide. Another type of homicide called “felony-murder” occurs when a person dies during the course of an inherently dangerous felony, whether the accused intended that person to die or not.

Fraud and Larceny

In Massachusetts, fraud is the offense of deliberately deceiving another person in order to injure them financially, usually to obtain something of value. Fraud can be committed through many methods including by mail, wire, phone and the internet. Larceny is a similar offense that can either include or not include deception. Larceny can be committed by force “from the person,” from a building or by various other means. In either example, the prosecution must prove that a person must intend to “permanently deprive” another person of something of value.

Juvenile Delinquency or Youthful Offender

Delinquency is a legal term for criminal behavior committed by a juvenile. In Massachusetts, a person who is between the ages of seven and seventeen years old is a juvenile. Juveniles are prosecuted in two categories: youthful offender prosecutions and delinquency prosecutions. Juvenile delinquency prosecutions expose a juvenile to various penalties including commitment to a juvenile facility until the age of 18. Youthful Offender prosecutions are for more serious offenses that expose a juvenile between the ages of 14 and 17 to adult penalties including imprisonment in adult prisons up to and including life in prison.

Attorney Joe Serpa is a well-regarded and highly-skilled Boston criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Serpa represents clients across eastern Massachusetts including all of Boston Municipal Court’s divisions, all of Massachusetts’ Superior Courts and most Massachusetts district courts, including:

  • Brighton Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • Central Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • Charlestown Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • Dorchester Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • East Boston Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • Roxbury Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • South Boston Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • West Roxbury Division, Boston Municipal Court
  • Brookline District Court
  • Dedham District Court
  • Quincy District Court
  • Stoughton District Court
  • Wrentham District CourtAyer District Court
  • Cambridge District Court
  • Concord District Court
  • Framingham District Court
  • Lowell District Court
  • Malden District Court
  • Marlborough District Court
  • Newton District Court
  • Somerville District Court
  • Waltham District Court
  • Woburn District Court
  • Gloucester District Court
  • Haverhill District Court
  • Ipswich District Court
  • Lawrence District Court
  • Lynn District Court
  • Newburyport District Court
  • Peabody District Court
  • Salem District Court
  • Brockton District Court
  • Hingham District Court
  • Plymouth District Court
  • Wareham District Court
  • Attleboro District Court
  • Fall River District Court
  • New Bedford District Court
  • Taunton District Court

Massachusetts has a long tradition of fairness and equality in its trial courts. Massachusetts’ Constitution, which includes the Declaration of Rights, is the oldest functioning constitution in the world. Attorney Joe Serpa is proud to have been a part of that tradition, fighting for the liberty of individuals against the government and businesses for nearly two decades with remarkable results. He represents clients in the Massachusetts trial courts and courts of appeal, as well as in the United States federal courts.

Serpa Law Office’s practice includes:

  • Trial Court Litigation, Both Criminal and Civil
  • Serious Felony Defense, Including Murder, Drug Crimes and Sex Offenses Including Date Rape
  • Misdemeanor Defense
  • Domestic Violence Defense
  • DUI | OUI | Drunk Driving
  • Juvenile Court Litigation
  • Appeals and Post-Trial Litigation
  • Traffic Violations
  • Administrative Hearings
  • Family Court Disputes
  • Registry of Motor Vehicles Hearings

If you or someone you know in Massachusetts needs the assistance of an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney, call Serpa Law Office at 617.936.0201, or complete the contact form provided on this site for a free conversation.

Client Reviews

He's one of the best people I've met. I'm really appreciative of all the help I received. If you have a serious case, he'll work hard to make sure you have the best outcome. I highly recommend him. You will not be disappointed.


Mr. Serpa was very helpful with my family member ‘s case. He was able to get it dismissed quickly and easily. He is very professional and very good at what he does. I’m so glad he hired him. You will be glad too if you hire him.


Serpa law office was my attorney of choice for 2 seperate cases I had last year. With both situations, Joseph not only treated me great, delivered the results I was hoping for, and was extremely professional and genuine. I would definitely recommend this law office to anyone in need of legal help.


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  1. 1 Individual, Hands-On Approach
  2. 2 Winning Trial Record
  3. 3 24+ Years Experience
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