Massachusetts Community Order crimes in Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex counties include the crimes of:
Under Massachusetts law, if you cause a disturbance which creates a public hazard, and serves no legitimate purpose, you can be charged with a disorderly person offense, also known as disorderly conduct. A “disorderly person” is defined as one who with purpose to cause public in inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, does recklessly creates a risk thereof, engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or creates a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.
Disturbing the Peace
Disturbing the peace falls under the same chapter as Disorderly Conduct, with similar penalties. In order to be convicted of disturbing the peace, the Commonwealth must show that the defendant engaged in unreasonably disruptive conduct, that the actions were done intentionally and that the Defendant did annoy or disturb at least one person. To amount to disturbing the peace, the acts must have been voluntary, unnecessary and contrary to normal standards of conduct.
It is likely evident through the above listed elements that this crime is often an issue of perspective. It is important to retain counsel early on in order to discuss the case with the Commonwealth and arresting officers to determine the level of involvement, extenuating factors and how to garner the most favorable disposition. Punishment for Disturbing the Peace is up to 6 months in jail.
Under Massachusetts law, Trespass is defined as entering or remaining on the property of another after having been forbidden to be there by the person who has lawful control of such premises, either directly or indirectly through posted signs. It is not imperative that the person actually see any posted “no trespassing” signs as long as they are in a visible location that would serve notice to the population. A person convicted of trespassing could serve up to 30 days in jail and/or receive a $100 fine.
Giving a False Name
Chapter 268, Section 34A of the Massachusetts General Laws governs the crime of Giving a False Name. The statute defines said offense as occurring when a person, upon arrest, gives a false name, assumed for a dishonest purpose, to a police officer knowing that name to be false and does do willingly for a dishonest purpose. While the law does allow a person to change their name at will, the major factor that the Commonwealth must prove is that this name was adopted and conveyed to police for a dishonest purpose. Some stated purposes may include concealing a criminal record for purposes including exposure to enhanced charges, outstanding warrants and obtaining favorable bail.
Penalty for conviction of this charge can be up to a $1,000 fine, and/or one year in jail. However, penalties can be significant – this sentence must be imposed from and after the underlying offense. That means that whatever sentence you receive on the charge you were arrested for at the time you gave the false name must be served before you begin your sentence for this charge.
Intimidation of a Witness
If police believe that an individual is interfering with a criminal investigation, trial or other proceeding, that person change be charged with Intimidation of a Witness. Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 268, section 13B mandates that the Commonwealth prove three elements prior to conviction on Intimidation of a Witness charges. Specifically, they must show that the Defendant either directly or indirectly threatened, attempted to cause physical, emotion or economic injury, bribed, harassed a potential witness, person involved in the criminal investigation, a keeper of records, officer of the court or other individual involved in said proceeding, with the intent to.
As one would expect, the Commonwealth considers violation of this chapter and section egregious and sentences accordingly. If convicted, the defendant will face up to 2 ½ years in the House of Correction, or 10 years in State Prison and between $1,000 and $5,000 in fines.
If in any judicial proceeding, under oath, a person swears or affirms falsely to a material point, that person can be facing charges of perjury. A criminal trial or proceeding is premised on preconception that the individual giving testimony in said proceeding is doing so truthfully. The Commonwealth views perjury very seriously. A conviction for perjury under chapter 268, section 1 of the Massachusetts General Laws carries with it harsh potential penalties allowing the judge the discretion to sentence based upon the level of violation.
It shall be a defense to an indictment or complaint made pursuant to this section that the defendant, at the time he made each declaration, believed each such declaration to be true or its falsity was the result of a good faith mistake or error.
If convicted, a person faces up to 2 ½ years in the House of Correction, up to 20 years in state prison, and/or up to a $1,000 fine. If said perjury is committed at the trial for a capital crime, then the potential penalty is a life sentence.
Massachusetts General Laws chapter 268, section 32B states that a person commits the crime of resisting arrest if he (she) knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer, acting under color of his (her) official authority, from effecting an arrest of himself or another either by using or threatening to use physical force or violence against the police officer or another; or by using any other means which creates a substantial risk of causing bodily injury to such police officer or another. A police officer acts “under color of official authority” when, in the regular course of assigned duties, he (she) makes a judgment in good faith, based on the surrounding facts and circumstances, that he (she) should make an arrest. The Commonwealth must prove that the defendant knew that the person seeking to make the arrest was a police officer. The Commonwealth must either cite the officer in uniform, or that he (she) exhibited credentials as a police officer.
Destruction of Property
General Laws Chapter 266 §127 makes it a crime to maliciously and willfully destroy the property of another. To find you guilty of this crime the prosecution must prove that the destruction of or injury to the property was willful and malicious, not simply wanton. The terms willful and malicious require proof of a cruel, hostile or vengeful intent in addition to the intentional doing of the act itself. The value of the property destroyed or injured is critical to the charge itself.
Massachusetts Penalties for Malicious Destruction of Property
The Massachusetts Legislature takes seriously the destruction of property. Prosecutors in Massachusetts look to punish those convicted of this crime in several ways. They seek to deter future similar conduct and to compensate the victims for the damages sustained. Punishments permitted by law in Massachusetts for a conviction of this offense are:
- If the destruction of the property is willful or malicious then you can be punished as follows:
- Incarceration in state prison for up to 10 years;
- A fine of up to three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) or three times the value of the property destroyed, whichever is greater;
- Incarceration in the county house of correction for up to two and one half 2 ½ years
- If the destruction of the property is wanton then you can be punished as follows:
- A fine of up to one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) or up to three times the value of the property, whichever is greater;
- Imprisonment in the county house of correction for up to two and one half 2 ½ years
- If the value of the destroyed property does not exceed $250.00:
- A fine of up to three times the value of the property;
- Imprisonment of up to 2 ½ months in the county house of correction