Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime!

In Massachusetts, if you are involved in an accident and there is any evidence of property damage or personal injury, you are responsible for making your identity known to the other parties.

In most cases, what that involves is stopping, exhanging your telephone numbers, license information, and insurance information, then contacting your insurance company.  But what do you do if it is not a typical accident situation?

In many cases, a person will strike an object such as a telephone pole, a building, curbing, a fence, a parked car or something similar.  There isn’t any identifying markers saying “If you hit me please call.”  If it is a parked car, some people will leave a note with contact information.  That isn’t a viable option in cases of a pole or a fence.

If you are involved in an accident with an object, call 911 and immediately report the matter to the police.  They will come, fill out an accident report, and you will be on your way.  If you do not, you risk being cited with leaving the scene of property damage, which is a criminal matter.  You can expect to receive a summons from the police for an arraignment or show cause level hearing.

If you hit a car with passengers and you do not stop to exchange information, you are subject to being charged with leaving the scene of personal injury.  Because there are victims that are physically hurt, rather than property that was damaged, these cases are treated very seriously.  If you leave the scene of a person that was injured without exchanging information or calling the police, you can expect to be charged under this statute.

If you are charged with leaving the scene of property damage or personal injury, you should contact an attorney immediately.  Make sure your insurance company is aware so that any damage can be covered as soon as possible.

Contact Broadbent & Taylor if you have been charged with these crimes.  Broadbent & Taylor represents clients across Massachusetts in motor vehicle matters.

 

 

THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  IT IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.

 

 

 

 

 

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Prince died without a Will… what now?

There has been a lot of chatter and speculation surrounding the death of music legend Prince. The latest detail to come out after the singer’s death is that he apparently died without a will, essentially leaving his $300 million estate up for grabs.  So what happens with his fortune and future royalties?

Dying intestate can certainly leave quite a mess for the family and courts to clean up. In Prince’s case, it may be years before an accurate value of the estate can be determined. Then the intestacy statute (in Minnesota for Prince since that is where he resided and the bulk of his estate is located) will determine his heirs at law – likely to be his siblings as his parents are no longer living and he does not have any surviving children. Another unfortunate fallout of Prince’s untimely passing without a will is that the value of his estate will be drastically reduced due to State and Federal Estate Tax. He had no protections in place to protect his estate from taxation. The 2016 Federal exemption amount is $5.45 million individuals, less lifetime taxable gifts. Such a large estate is subject to the top taxation bracket at a whopping 40% in 2016. This means that Prince’s estate is likely to pay over $100 million to the Federal government in taxes. Ouch.

What could the beloved musician have done to protect his hard earned assets? The simplest solution would have been a trust. Trusts are excellent estate planning tools that provide individuals with flexibility in distributing their estate, as well as a number of protections (from creditors and taxes, and from prying eyes as trusts generally do not become part of the public record). The musician could have also laid out charitable contributions, which would certainly reduce the estate’s tax liability. One will never know why such a high profile figure with such a vast estate did not engage in even the simplest estate planning, but let this be a lesson to us all: tragedy can strike at any time and we should be prepared.

Rest in Peace, Prince Rogers Nelson.

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY CATHERINE TAYLOR. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

 

 

 

Naturalization

Naturalization is the process of a person becoming a United States Citizen. There are certain requirements that need to be met in order to naturalize:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY:  You will need to be a legal permanent resident or green card holder for at least five years. If you gained your legal permanent residency through marriage, there is an exception and it allows you to be a legal permanent resident for at least three years before applying to naturalize. If your spouse naturalized also then he/she must be a citizen for at least three years in order to use the 3-year exception. Also if you divorce or separate then you cannot use the 3-year exception. The date for the 3 or 5 years begins on the date on the green card.
    • During your legal permanent residency you must not have taken trips outside the United States for six months or longer.
  • GOOD MORAL CHARACTER: This part can be a little tricky. If you have any kind of criminal record, whether the charge was dismissed or it was only an arrest, it is important that you speak with an attorney before you file the application for naturalization. There are also certain crimes that if you were convicted will bar you from applying for naturalization.

After sending in your application, you will be asked to do biometric fingerprinting. Then there will be an interview. Next you will have to pass a basic English skills test and a basic civics exam. If you pass both exams, then you will become a citizen and take the oath at a ceremony!

There are many benefits in becoming a citizen, such as the right to vote or bring immediate relatives into the United States. You can apply for federal jobs and become an elected official. The application process can be rather lengthy, but definitely worth it!

If you have any questions or concerns about your naturalization application, feel free to contact us!

This post was written by Attorney Jamie Cosme. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is NOT legal advice.

 

 

 

 

Navigating a Criminal Citation in MA

In Massachusetts, there are 2 types of citations that are handed out: civil and criminal.  If you receive a citation for a criminal violation, it is important to take the steps to best defend the citation.

With any criminal matter, it is important to contact an attorney at your earliest oppurtunity.  While a criminal citation may seem trivial, they can in fact impact your criminal history.

Read the citation.  In MA, you have 4 days to return the criminal citation to the court that has jurisdiction.  While it is not necessary to do so, it gives you the added benefit of the scheduling of a show cause hearing.  A show cause hearing is a preliminary hearing in front of a magistrate where the magistrate has the chance to NOT ADVANCE THE MATTER.  If the matter is disposed of at the show cause level, it will not appear on your criminal history.

As with any criminal matter, anything you say can be used against you.  This goes for any statements made by you at the show cause hearing.  Because of this, it is strongly advisable to have an attorney with you at the show cause level to speak on your behalf.

Broadbent & Taylor handles the criminal citations at every level, from the show cause, to the arraignent, up to the trial.  Contact us if you have received one of these citations to discuss how you should proceed going forward.

 

THIS POST IS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  IT IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.

Known Sperm Donor Agreements

In today’s day and age, many individuals choose to use sperm donation in order to conceive. Often, a woman may choose to use a known sperm donation rather than an anonymous donor from a sperm bank. There are many benefits from using a known sperm donor, but it also opens the door to many potential pitfalls. A multitude of protections are provided when using a sperm bank, including, but not limited to anonymity of the donor, genetic screening and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. These protections are not necessarily present when using a known sperm donor; however, that does not mitigate the necessity of these protections. In these situations, it is essential to enter into a sperm donor agreement.

A Known Sperm Donor Agreement will contain the terms of the arrangement and should outline, at a minimum, the following:

  • Whether the donor will  sever all legal rights to the child and the responsibilities associated therewith, including: visitation, decision-making regarding the child’s health, religion, schooling, or anything else, and child support;
  • What medical and genetic information the donor will provide;
  • whether the donor will undergo any pre-donation testing (medical, genetic, STD) and who will pay for the testing;
  • Whether the donor’s identity will be shared with the child, and at what point this information will be shared.

The use of a Known Sperm Donor Agreement will assist in preempting any future disagreements between the donor and the Mother. It is important that there be a mutual feeling of trust between the Mother and the donor. Thorough discussions are imperative, and it is highly recommended that both sides engage private counsel to assist with all negotiations.

This post was written by Attorney Catherine Taylor and is for informational purposes only. Nothing contained within this post should be construed as legal advice.

 

Defending CDL Traffic Violations

While a speeding ticket is an expensive nuisance for most drivers, a driver with a CDL license has added consequences when dealing with a moving violation.

If you receive a ticket in Massachusetts and you have a CDL license, you should strongly consider appealing the ticket.

  1. Your employer may suspend or terminate you because of the citation.
  2. Costs for insurance may skyrocket.
  3. The DOT considers number of miles over when dealing with points or suspensions.  If you are driving a CDL vehicle and are cited, the number of miles over the limit can greatly impact the consequences on your license.

If you have received a citation in Massachusetts and you have a CDL license, contact Broadbent & Taylor  at (508) 438-1198 to schedule a free consultation.Having an attorney to represent you and guide you through the options with these tickets increases your chances of a favorable outcome.  .  We represent commercial drivers across Massachusetts.

Automatic Defense in MA to traffic ticket with MGL 90c S2

In Massachusetts, an officer is required to provide you a copy of the citation at the time of a motor vehicle stop.

MGL Chapter 90 c Section 2 outlines the requirements of the officer to give the ticket in hand:

Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law, other than a provision of this chapter, to the contrary, any police officer assigned to traffic enforcement duty shall, whether or not the offense occurs within his presence, record the occurrence of automobile law violations upon a citation, filling out the citation and each copy thereof as soon as possible and as completely as possible and indicating thereon for each such violation whether the citation shall constitute a written warning and, if not, whether the violation is a criminal offense for which an application for a complaint as provided by subsection B of section three shall be made, whether the violation is a civil motor vehicle infraction which may be disposed of in accordance with subsection (A) of said section three, or whether the violator has been arrested in accordance with section twenty-one of chapter ninety. Said police officer shall inform the violator of the violation and shall give a copy of the citation to the violator. Such citation shall be signed by said police officer and by the violator, and whenever a citation is given to the violator in person that fact shall be so certified by the police officer. The violator shall be requested to sign the citation in order to acknowledge that is has been received. If a written warning is indicated, no further action need be taken by the violator. No other form of notice, except as provided in this section, need be given to the violator.

A failure to give a copy of the citation to the violator at the time and place of the violation shall constitute a defense in any court proceeding for such violation, except where the violator could not have been stopped or where additional time was reasonably necessary to determine the nature of the violation or the identity of the violator, or where the court finds that a circumstance, not inconsistent with the purpose of this section to create a uniform, simplified and non-criminal method for disposing of automobile law violations, justifies the failure. In such case the violation shall be recorded upon a citation as soon as possible after such violation and the citation shall be delivered to the violator or mailed to him at his residential or mail address or to the address appearing on his license or registration as appearing in registry of motor vehicles records. The provisions of the first sentence of this paragraph shall not apply to any complaint or indictment charging a violation of section twenty-four, twenty-four G or twenty-four L of chapter ninety, providing such complaint or indictment relates to a violation of automobile law which resulted in one or more deaths.

In the instance a defense is raised under MGL 90 c Section 2, the officer or representative must then meet a test as to whether a) the violator could not be stopped; b) where additional time was needed to determine the nature of the violation or the identity of the violator; or c) the court deems some other circumstance was present that may justify the faulure.

If you were mailed a citation by the police in Massachusetts, contact our office for a consultation as to whether this defense may pertain to your case.  Broadbent & Taylor offers a free consultation to all clients at (508) 438-1198.