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Criminal Law FAQ
 
I have been arrested, cited to appear in court or charged with a crime in Massachusetts, should I hire a criminal defense attorney?

 

After you have been arrested, cited to appear in court or charged with a criminal offense, the best thing you can do is to consult with an experienced Massachusetts Defense Attorney. You want to speak with a criminal attorney who has successfully handled cases involving the same crime that you have been charged with. Additionally, you want to retain the services of a lawyer who is familiar with the courts and laws of the state where you were charged or arrested. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is the best decision you will make. By hiring an attorney, you ensure that you will receive the representation and resources you will need to successfully fight your criminal charges both in and out of court. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

What are the penalties for a OUI/DUI in Massachusetts?
​ 

It depends...

  • 1st DUI/OUI offense  You can be sentenced to jail for up to 30 months, fines and penalties range from $500 to $5,000, and your license is suspended for 1 year.

  • 2nd DUI/OUI offense  Your jail sentence ranges from a 30 day period up until 30 months, fines and penalties range from $600 to $10,000, and your license is suspended for 2 years.

  • 3rd DUI/OUI offense Your jail sentence ranges from 150 days to 5 years, fines and penalties range from $1,000 to $15,000, and your license is suspended for 8 years. 

  • 4th DUI/OUI offense Your jail sentence ranges from 1 to 5 years, fines and penalties range from $1,500 to $25,000, and your license is suspended for 10 years

  • 5th DUI/OUI offense Your jail sentence ranges from 2 to 5 years, fines and penalties range from $2,000 to $50,000 and you lose your license permanently. 


 How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a OUI/DUI in Massachusetts?
 Under 21                               0.2%     
 21 or older                            0.8%        
Commercial                           0.

 

 
The person that called the police does not want to prosecute, does that mean that no charges will be filed and that I will be released from custody?

 

Not necessarily. There are many reasons why the alleged victim or reporting party may have a change of heart. It may be that the report of crime (violence, theft, or other violation) may have been false or inaccurate. It may also be that the person is scared to proceed with a prosecution. The police and the prosecutor's office are aware of all the reasons, and do not just "drop charges" especially in domestic violence cases. They attempt to re-interview the reporting party to understand the reason behind the change of heart.

 What is a misdemeanor?

 

Crimes that are not punishable under Massachusetts' statutes by confinement in a State prison are misdemeanors. If the punishment described in the law for a particular crime does not include the possibility of state prison time, it is a misdemeanor. Examples of misdemeanors are disorderly conduct, fishing and hunting violations, first or second drunk driving offenses, most criminal motor vehicle offenses, etc.

 What is a felony?

 

The following definition applies only in Massachusetts courts, the Federal courts may use a different definition. Any crime punishable by confinement in a State prison are felonies; all other crimes are misdemeanors. You can find the punishment for a crime in the Massachusetts' statutes, the laws written by legislature. The law will set forth the maximum punishment that you can receive for a crime but the law will not list the many alternative or lesser punishments that are often actually imposed.  Therefore, if the crime you are charged with allows you to be sent to state prison as a punishment, it is a felony regardless of the actual punishment you receive. Examples of felonies are murder, arson, rape, drunk driving 3rd or more offense, kidnapping, etc.  

 What is a civil infraction?

 

A civil infraction is a minor violation. Many traffic violations are civil infractions, such as speeding, failure to signal, etc. The punishment for a civil infraction is usually a fine, there is no jail time. 

 

 

Do I need a lawyer?

 

When you are charged with crimes it is almost always in your best interest to obtain a lawyer. In fact, most criminal defendants are represented by a lawyer, especially when jail or a prison sentence is a possible result. It is very difficult for a person to competently handle his or her own criminal case. While there is real, accurate statistic on how many people choose to represent themselves in criminal cases, it is estimated to range well below 1%. Without a lawyer your as sever disadvantage in your case. Experience attorneys at our firm will be able to see that your charges are either completely dismissed or reduced. Your freedom is at risk when your are charged with a crime, do not hesitate to reach out to us, we are here to help you. 

What happens after someone is arrested?

 

The police officers involved write reports about the crime, obtain witness statements, run a background check of the suspect, and do further investigation as needed before submitting their work to the prosecuting authority. A prosecutor reviews the documents to determine whether criminal charges - a misdemeanor or a felony - are warranted. The prosecutor has the option of rejecting the case for criminal prosecution, filing a misdemeanor, or filing a felony charge. If charges are filed, the next step in the criminal process is in court, at an arraignment.

Do I need a criminal defense lawyer if I have been falsely accused?

 

Many cases are resolved with police just closing their files, because the evidence of a crime is simply insufficient. The court system does not get involved. However, as with many things in life, the world is not perfect and police officers do make mistakes. People have been falsely accused of rape, domestic violence, murder, and even drug possession because officers were either making negligent mistakes in their investigation, intentionally framing suspects, or intentionally lying about probable cause to justify an otherwise unlawful search of a home, car, or even of someone's person. Innocent people have served years in prison only to be released upon DNA testing. We have heard clients say "Hey, I am innocent! I figured I would go explain the events to the police and this would all go away!" Unfortunately they were wrong. At times police officers are inclined to disbelieve what a suspect tells them, and they may not have the time or motivation to fully investigate a client's story. What happens? The next thing the suspect knows is that he/she is arrested, placed into custody, and does not know how to clear his/her name. Our attorneys have had personal experience with representing clients who are simply innocent — these have proven to be some of the most difficult cases. In sum, someone who is completely innocent may be in the greatest need of representation. We have experience with client's who have been arrested and jailed pending a trial, who we have ultimately proven did not commit the offense at all.

Assault, Battery, and Domestic Violence Offenses.

 

 A defendant commits assault by:
attempting to use physical force against another, or
demonstrating an intention to use immediate force against another.

Assault and battery. A defendant commits assault and battery by deliberately touching the victim:
in a way that is likely to cause bodily harm, or
without the victim’s consent.

For example, hitting someone would be assault and battery. The victim does not need to sustain injury, as long as there is physical contact.

(Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13A, Mass. Crim. Model Jury Instructions, Nos. 6.120, 6.140.)

Serious Bodily Injury, Substantial Bodily Injury, and Bodily Injury (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, §§ 13A, 13J.)
Assaults and batteries that cause injury can be punished more severely.

Serious bodily injury creates a substantial risk of death, or causes permanent disfigurement, loss, or impairment of any part of the body.For example, hitting someone so hard that they suffer permanent scarring would be considered inflicting serious bodily injury.
Substantial bodily injury creates a substantial risk of death or causes permanent disfigurement, or lasting loss or impairment of any part of the body.For example, breaking someone’s leg would probably be considered causing substantial bodily injury.
Bodily injury is any burn, fracture, bruise, internal injury, any injury that results from repeated harm to the victim, or any physical condition that endangers a victim’s health or welfare. For example, striking a person in the chest and causing a bruise could be considered bodily injury.

Assault on a Child (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13J.)
Any assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 that causes bodily injury or substantial bodily injury can be punished as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Wanton or reckless behavior
A person who has care and custody of a child (parent, guardian, or employee of the child’s home or institution) and wantonly or recklessly causes injury or permits another to cause injury against the child is guilty of a crime.
People act recklessly or wantonly when they are aware of (or should be aware of) and disregard the risk of harm their behavior (or inaction) poses to the victim. Reckless and wanton behavior is always a gross departure from how a reasonable person would act.
(Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13J, Mass. Crim. Model Jury Instructions, No. 6.250.)
For example, leaving a child in the care of a sitter who had hit the child in the past would be reckless or wanton behavior.

Assault and Assault & Battery Against Certain Victims or for Certain Purposes  (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, §§ 15, 29, 20, 13A, 13C, 13D, 13D 1/2, 13I, 13K.)
The following crimes are punishable as misdemeanors or felonies:

assault with intent to murder, maim, or disfigure
assault with intent to commit a felony
assault by force or violence with intent to steal (robbery)
assault and battery committed in order to collect a loan
assault and battery if the victim is pregnant and the defendant knows or has reason to know of the pregnancy
assault and battery against a public (government) employee, emergency medical technician, an ambulance operator or attendant, firefighter, or a health care provider
assault and battery against an elderly person (over the age of 60), or
assault and battery against people with disabilities (physical or mental impairments that prevent the people from being able to care for or protect themselves).
People who wantonly or recklessly cause (or allow another to cause injury) to an elderly person or disable adult in their care can also be convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor. 


Domestic Violence or Assaults by a Person Under a Restraining Order (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, §§ 13A, 13M.)
Second and subsequent assaults and batteries against family or household members are also punished more severely. Family and household members include people who are or were married, people who live together or lived together, people related by blood, people who have children together, and people are who are dating or have dated. The relevant period of time to consider is the past five years. Any assault or assault and battery committed by a defendant who knows that he or she is under a restraining order or no contact order is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Punishments

The crime of assault and the crime of assault and battery are punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail or a fine of up to $1,000. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13A.)
Causing bodily injury to a child is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail or up to five years in prison. Causing substantial bodily injury to a child is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail or up to fifteen years in prison. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13J.)
Recklessly or wantonly causing bodily injury on a child is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail. Recklessly or wantonly causing substantial bodily injury to a child is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail or up to five years in prison. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13J.)
Assault and battery against a public (government) employee, emergency medical technician, ambulance operator or attendant, or a health care provider engaged in the performance of his duties is punishable 90 days to two-and-a-half years in jail or a fine between $500 and $5,000. If the victim is a firefighter acting in the performance of his duties or if the offender attempted to disarm a police officer during the assault, penalties include up to ten years in prison or up two-and-a-half years in jail and a fine up to $1,000. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, §§ 13D, 13D 1/2, 13I.)
Assault that causes serious bodily injury, assault against a pregnant woman, or assault and battery by a defendant under a restraining order is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail, or up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $5,000. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13A.)
Second and subsequent assault or battery on a family or household member is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail, or up to five years in prison. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13M.)
Assault and battery to collect a loan is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail or three to five years in prison. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13C.)
Assault with intent to murder, maim, or disfigure, or commit a felony is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 or up to ten years in prison. Assault by force or violence with intent to steal is punishable by up to ten years in prison.  (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, §§ 15, 29, 20.)
Battery on an elderly or disabled person is punishable by anywhere from two-and-a-half years in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, depending on the degree of injury sustained by the victim and the relationship (if any) between the victim and the defendant. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 265, § 13K.)

 

 

Drug Offenses

MARIJUANA 
Marijuana possession- M.G.L.c. 94C § 32C
Marijuana is a class "D" substance. Penalties can lead to up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500 for first offenders. Second offense can result in up to 2 years and a $2000 fine. First time offenders with no previous convictions can have their case continued without a finding, but face a 1 year loss of license. Possession of less then 1 ounce is a violation only that carries a fine of up to $100. If you are under 18, you are required to attend a drug awareness program. No such violation shall be grounds for denial of student aid.

Marijuana possession with intent to distribute - M.G.L.c. 94C § 30,
Intent to distribute can be inferred from various sources such as amounts involved, drug paraphernalia found or associations with known narcotic informers. The penalty for first time offenders is 2 year jail sentence and a $500 fine or both. Second or subsequent offenders face a minimum 1 year jail sentence and a 2 ½ year maximum jail sentence. There is also a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $10,000 dollars for anyone convicted of a second and subsequent possession with intent to distribute marijuana offense. There is also a mandatory loss of license for 2 years for first time offenders.

Marijuana distribution or trafficking falls under M.G.L.c. 94C, § 32E.
If you possess between 50 lbs and 100 lbs., then the penatly is a state prison term for not less than two and one-half nor more than fifteen years or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not less than one nor more than two and one-half years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this section shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year and a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than ten thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum one year term of imprisonment, as established herein.

COCAINE
Cocaine possession - M.G.L.c. 94C § 34
Cocaine is a class "B" substance. If you are convicted of cocaine possession for the first time you could face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. You also face an automatic loss of license for 1 year.

Cocaine possession with intent to distribute - M.G.L.c. 94C § 32A
The penalty for this offense is a 2 ½ year jail sentence and a fine of not less than $1,000 and up to $10,000. Second and subsequent offenders can face a 3 year mandatory state prison sentence and a maximum sentence of 10 years. Fines in the range of $2,500 to $25,000. You also face a mandatory 3 year loss of license.

Cocaine trafficking - M.G.L.c. 94C § 32E 
(1) Fourteen grams or more but less than twenty-eight grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than three nor more than fifteen years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a minimum term of imprisonment of three years, and a fine of not less than two thousand five hundred nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(2) Twenty-eight grams or more, but less than one hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, and a fine of not less than five thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(3) One hundred grams or more, but less than two hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than ten nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than one hundred thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

HEROIN
Heroin possession M.G.L.c. 94C, § 34 
Heroin is a class "A" substance. Any person who violates this section by possessing heroin shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars and imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years.

Heroin Possession with intent to distribute - M.G.L.c. 94C, § 32
If you are found guilty of this offense you face up to 2 ½ years in jail or 10 years in state prison for a first offense. There is also a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. If you are convicted of this crime a second time you are looking at a mandatory minimum 5 year prison sentence and as much as 15 years.

Heroin Trafficking- M.G.L.c. 94C, § 32E
(1) Fourteen grams or more but less than twenty-eight grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of not less than five thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(2) Twenty-eight grams or more but less than one hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than seven nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of seven years and a fine of not less than five thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars may be imposed, but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(3) One hundred grams or more but less than two hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than ten nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years, and a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than one hundred thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established therein. 


DRUG CLASSIFICATIONS
Drug classifications generally fall into Class A, B, C, D, and E. The following is a brief listing of controlled substances in the State of Massachusetts for the purposes of drug penalty classification.


Class A substances include Heroin & other opiates such as Morphine; some designer drugs such as GHB; and Ketamine (Special K).
Class B substances include Cocaine; prescription opiates such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone (Percodan/Percocet),and Codiene, Methadone; LSD; MDMA; Ecstasy (XTC); PCP; Amphetamines (speed) ; & Methamphetamine (meth).
Class C substance examples include prescription tranquilizers and narcotics diazepam (Valium), Librium, Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Dolacet, Hydrocet, Lortab, Codiclear DH, Tussionex, Cogesic, Anexia), mescaline, psilocybin/mushrooms, peyote, STP, other hallucinogenic substances, some medium doses of prescription narcotics.
Class D substances include marijuana / pot (most common), chloryl hydrate, phenobarbital, and some lesser doses of prescription narcotics.
Class E substance charges are typically for lighter doses of prescription narcotics containing codeine (Tylonol #3), morphine, or opium.


CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE DRUG LAWS - M.G.L.c. 94C § 40. 
 "Whoever conspires with another person to violate any provision of this chapter shall be punished by imprisonment or fine, or both, which punishment shall not exceed the maximum punishment prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy. " Often times this charge is used in connection with possession or intent to distribute when it is unclear as to who or to what extend a defendant is involved when two or more suspects are arrested on a drug charge.

About Federal Drug Conspiracy Massachusetts
For those who are facing serious drug charges in the state of Massachusetts, which can include drug trafficking and related felony charges, there is a very good chance that you will also be charged with conspiracy.

According to state and federal law, a drug conspiracy is where there is an agreement between two or more individuals to commit a crime involving the sale and/or transfer of narcotics.

For state prosecutors in Massachusetts to prove that you are guilty of a drug conspiracy in this state, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following in state court:

That you had an agreement with at least one other person to violate any federal drug statute. This can be either a written or oral agreement. Note that the vast majority of drug conspiracies are not written down; the state prosecutors will go to great lengths to bring witnesses against you who can testify that you were part of a drug conspiracy.
That all conspirators knew that they were part of a drug conspiracy and joined willingly.

You should note that you do not have to have known everyone who was involved in the drug conspiracy to be so charged. In fact, drug conspiracy charges are one of the most effective ways that prosecutors at the state and federal levels prosecute serious drug crimes. Massachusetts state prosecutors and federal prosecutors find it quite easy to convict large groups of people under one drug conspiracy charge.

There sometimes are cases in Massachusetts where a person convicted of drug conspiracy did not even know most of the others involved in the plot. If you are involved in a drug trafficking case but the state lacks enough evidence to charge you, they may bring drug conspiracy charges.

Drug Conspiracy Laws and Charges in Massachusetts 
As in all states, drug laws for conspiracy in Massachusetts are based upon federal statute 18 USC 371. This is a federal law that makes it illegal to engage in any conspiracies that attempt to defraud the US, as well as any other conspiracies that violate any other federal statute.

 

 

 
Driving/ Operating Under The Influence 

 

 

While most OUIs involve driving, it’s possible to get an OUI without actually moving your vehicle. For instance, you might be culpable for OUI if—while under the influence—you get into your car, start the engine, and turn on your headlights. To make an arrest, police don’t have to wait for you to put your car in gear. In certain situations, this rule might allow police to stop drunk driving before it begins.

And the law in Massachusetts says that if you’re operating a vehicle, you've given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Massachusetts and other details about Massachusetts OUI law.

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Massachusetts, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:


1st offense - 180-day license suspension
2nd offense - 3-year license suspension with a prior OUI conviction
3rd offense -  5-year license suspension with two prior OUI convictions


It's important to note that the suspension period imposed for refusing a chemical test is in addition to any other suspension that might be imposed for an OUI charge or conviction. And if your license is suspended for a refusal, you can’t get a hardship until you complete the refusal suspension period. A hardship license is typically for driving to and from work, school, and medical appointments.

In Massachusetts, when do police have to measure your BAC?
In Massachusetts, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC within a “reasonable time” of when you were driving. Generally, a chemical test conducted within three hours of when you were driving meets this criterion. But, depending on the circumstances of your case, a reasonable time could be more or less than three hours. (See Com. v. Colturi, 448 Mass. 809 (2007).)

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, the maximum BAC for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is .02%.

Here are the minimum jail times for an OUI in Massachusetts, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense - No minimum jail term required
2nd offense - 30 days jail, or 2-year probation including 14-day inpatient alcohol treatment program
3rd offense - 150 days jail


Alternative “24D Disposition”
For a driver who’s convicted of a first-offense OUI (and some drivers convicted of a second OUI), the judge can impose an alternative disposition, sometimes called a 24D disposition. This disposition requires the driver to participate in a “driver alcohol education program,” which typically consists of 16 weeks (usually 32 to 40 hours total) of alcohol education and group therapy. But a 24D disposition also has some significant benefits.

A driver with a first-offense OUI generally faces a one-year license suspension and won’t be eligible for a hardship license for three months. However, with a 24D disposition, the driver's license will be suspended for only 45 to 90 days and the driver can get a hardship license immediately after starting a driver alcohol education program. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 90, § 24D (2016).)

A judge can order a 24D disposition for a driver with a second-offense OUI only if the prior OUI/DUI conviction occurred more than ten years before the current offense. For second offenses, a 24D disposition is usually called a “Cahill disposition.” (See Com. v. Cahill, 442 Mass. 127 (2004).)

How long will prior OUI/DUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, for most purposes, prior OUI/DUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another OUI offense) forever.
However, if you have only one prior OUI/DUI conviction that occurred more than ten years ago, the judge can order an alternative disposition, often called a Cahill or 24D disposition (see above). 

Can an OUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Massachusetts?
A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which an OUI charge is reduced to reckless driving. Massachusetts has no law prohibiting plea bargains in OUI cases. So, depending on the circumstances of your case, it might be possible for a lawyer to plead your OUI down to a reckless driving charge.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted OUI offenders in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, IIDs are required for all drivers who are convicted of a second or subsequent OUI. For these drivers, IIDs are mandatory for getting a hardship license during a suspension period. And all drivers with two or more OUIs must have an IID on all their vehicles for two years after completing a suspension.

 

 Larceny and Theft In Massachusetts

 

The crime of larceny also covers the following actions:

fraudulently obtaining another person’s property
unlawfully converting another person’s property with the intent to steal or embezzle, and
hiding another person’s property with the intent to convert and steal it. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 30.)

Massachusetts has enacted a number of laws that identify very specific theft and larceny-related offenses. Those specific laws are too numerous to list here, but here are a few examples (with the citation to the relevant section of the Massachusetts General Laws in parentheses):

obtaining computer services by fraud (§ 33A.) 
fraudulent use of credit cards (§ 37C.) 
larceny of bicycles (§ 41.) 
fraud or embezzlement by city, town, or county officers (§ 51.), and
buying or receiving stolen goods. (§ 60.)

Classification of Larceny Offenses and Punishment in Massachusetts
Unlike many states, Massachusetts law does not divide theft or larceny offenses into misdemeanors (which are typically less serious crimes) and felonies, which are typically more serious offenses. Different rules apply depending on:

the dollar value of the property involved,
the type of property stolen, and 
in some cases,  the characteristics of the theft victim (i.e. special rules apply if the victim is elderly).

Most Massachusetts theft convictions are punishable by imprisonment for a certain time period, either in local jail or state prison. However, Massachusetts law provides that if a theft is a simple larceny, the person has no prior theft conviction, and the person makes full restitution to the victim of the theft, then the person shall not receive a sentence of imprisonment in state prison. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 61.) With all this in mind, let's look at how theft offenses are classified in Massachusetts.  

Larceny Based on Value of Property in Massachusetts. 
If the property stolen is valued at $250 or less, theft is punishable by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than $300. This is the lowest-level theft offense in Massachusetts, and is sometimes referred to as "petty larceny" or "petty theft." (§ 30.) If the property stolen is valued at more than $250, theft is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than $25,000 and imprisonment in jail for not more than two years. (§ 30.) 

Larceny Based on Type of Property in Massachusetts. 
If the property is a firearm, theft is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than $25,000 and imprisonment in jail for not more than two years. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 30.) Similarly, theft of a motor vehicle or trailer will result in a sentence of imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 15 years, imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or payment of a fine of no more than $15,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. (§ 28.)

The theft of merchandise from a store constitutes shoplifting under Massachusetts law. 

Shoplifting of items valued at less than $100, if a first offense, is punishable by a fine of no more than $250 (and no jail time). However, if the retail value of the goods obtained is $100 or more, the shoplifter will receive a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years, or both. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 30A.) 

Larceny Based on Type of Victim in Massachusetts.
 If the theft involves property taken directly from the person of another, the offense carries a sentence of no more than five years in state prison, or no more than two and one-half years in jail. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 25.) Furthermore, if the theft involves a victim who is 65 years of age or older, the person who committed the theft will receive a sentence of imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or in jail for not more than two and one-half years. (§ 25.) If the person has a previous theft conviction involving a victim who is 65 years of age or older, the person will receive a minimum sentence of imprisonment of two years.

Civil Liability for Larceny in Massachusetts
A person who commits shoplifting shall be civilly liable to the store owner for damages of not less than $50 and not more than $500, in addition to any actual damages suffered by the store owner. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231 § 85R ½.)

Effect of Prior Convictions on a Larceny Charge in Massachusetts
For a second shoplifting offense, a person will receive a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500. For a third or subsequent shoplifting offense, a person will receive a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than two years, or both. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 30A.) For the effects of previous convictions on other types of theft offenses

 

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