What We Do
What Crimes Does Serpa Law Office Defend on Behalf of Its Clients?
Serpa Law Office has defended clients over two decades over a very 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.
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.
Massachusetts considers crimes of domestic violence to be very serious and our courts push them severely. Domestic violence can include threats, intimidation of a witness, assault and battery and stalking. A conviction of domestic violence may result in a lifetime prohibition of owning any firearm, mandatory deportation, loss of employment and loss of student benefits. You should consult with a lawyer immediately if your are charged with a crime of domestic violence.
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.
“OUI” or DUI” are 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 to the extent that their ability to drive safely is impaired and/or their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit of .08 percent. In Massachusetts, a driver is “operating” a motor vehicle even if the vehicle is not in motion, as long as the ignition is engaged.
Even for a first offense, penalties can include incarceration, license suspension or revocation, substantial fines, community service, mandatory attendance at a state approved alcohol program and the required installation (at the offender’s expense) of a car ignition locking device. In addition, an OUI or DUI conviction stays on a driving record for several years, and typically results in higher insurance premiums. 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.
If someone is injured as a result of the drunken driving accident, it is possible the defendant will be charged with a serious felony, and if the individual dies, the driver will be charged with felony motor vehicle homicide, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in state prison.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.