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December 27, 2019

Holidays, New Years, Superbowl Cheer – Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication

Winter brings with it some of the calendar’s most-anticipated holidays. In colder parts of the world—of which Massachusetts is certainly one, as anyone who has lived through a nor’easter will tell you—people draw together inside to escape the falling snow and the quickly-falling, long winter nights. The winter holidays have something for everyone: the religious and cultural observances of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa; the universal excitement of New Year’s Eve; the shared experience of Super Bowl Sunday. For many people, with celebration there comes alcohol. And with alcohol there comes additional responsibility and potential criminal prosecution. Driving under the influence can have deadly consequences and as such has been targeted by numerous public awareness campaigns. However, even if you leave your keys at home, designate a driver, or plan to take a cab back at the end of the night—which you always should, for safety’s sake–you can still be held criminally liable for your conduct under the influence of alcohol. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “public intoxication” is not, in and of itself, a crime. It is treated as a nuisance offense. So long as an intoxicated person is not causing harm to others, and is not being disruptive, the […]
December 20, 2019

Holiday Custody

The winter holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they are also a top contender for the most stressful time of the year. Regardless of family structure, holiday gatherings and visits can be contentious. Under the stress of cleaning and cooking and visiting in-laws, even close-knit nuclear families, amicably divorced co-parents, or happily mixed step-families might experience some tension and conflict around this time of the year. Given the stress of preparing for holidays, and the emotions invested in family celebrations, it is more important than ever for there to be good channels of communication about scheduling. When child custody agreements are involved, communication is even more important, especially if custody arrangements or their enforcement have been contentious issues in the past. Many shared custody agreements drawn up as part of the divorce settlements will specify holiday visitation and custody rights for each parent. For example, one parent may have the children for Thanksgiving and New Year’s, with the other parent having Christmas and the surrounding days. In the next year, the parents might swap time periods, following an alternating schedule laid out in the custody agreement. Changes happen, however. A flight back from a visit […]
November 6, 2019

A Six Year Fight To Reinstate Alcohol License

The call came in when I was on vacation, while I was relaxing by the pool with my family, The caller said this was an emergency.  The new client was the owner of a small-town convenience store. His livelihood and family’s future was on the line, He was the underdog.  What I could not anticipate was the number of appeals, emergency stays, and bureaucratic hoop-jumping we would face together over the coming six years of litigation. My client was a family-run convenience store in the town of Grafton, located in Worcester County.  The convenience store had a package store license to sell alcohol. In April of 2013, a police sting operation sent in an underage person to buy beer or wine. She was not carded by the staff, however, and succeeded in buying the alcohol. Unfortunately, this was not the first time such a violation had occurred at the convenience store.  The customary penalty for this infraction was a few days’ to a few weeks’ suspension of liquor sales. In August of 2013, however, the Grafton Board of Selectmen voted to revoke the convenience store’s license entirely. The owner then had only a few days to make an appeal to […]
April 19, 2019

Attorney Rubin Wins Liquor License

Attorney David Rubin wins liquor license case for a South Grafton, Massachusetts business owner. Grafton selectmen OK Village Dairy’s alcohol license, with conditions By Richard Price | Worcester Telegram GRAFTON — The Village Dairy, a South Grafton convenience store that was cited five times for liquor sale violations over the years, will get its license back — but with conditions agreed to by the owner. Selectmen voted Tuesday night to allow the renewal of the store’s beer and wine sales license under an agreement that stipulates the owner will install and maintain a scanner to verify the ID of every customer who asks to buy alcohol; that cameras will be installed to review the transactions; and that police will be allowed to conduct quarterly inspections. The owner also agreed to stop sales and notify the chief of police if the equipment is not functioning. The vote was 4-1, with Selectman Craig Dauphinais opposed. He said the store and its owner had too much history. The business owner, Amjad Chaudry, agreed to the terms with his lawyer, David Rubin, who was present. The store will be run in the daytime by a new manager, Mariam Anwar, who the board also met […]
November 26, 2018

Judge favors Village Dairy in Grafton liquor license dispute

By Lisa Redmond | The Grafton News WORCESTER – A superior court judge has ruled in favor of the owner of Village Dairy saying Grafton officials improperly withheld an alcohol license from the South Grafton convenience store, and that the state Alcohol Beverages Control Commission failed to respond to the town’s “willful thwarting″ of the licensing procedure. In a legal battle that began in 2014, Amjad Chaudry, owner of Arslan Inc., d/b/a Village Dairy at 167 Main St., filed a 2017 lawsuit against the Town of Grafton and the ABCC claiming he was improperly prohibited from renewing his liquor license. In April, each party asked Worcester Superior Court Judge William J. Ritter to rule on a request for a judgment. In his August decision, Ritter allowed Village Dairy’s motion for a favorable judgment and denied motions by the town and ABCC, sending the license back to the selectmen. Instead, on Oct. 10 the town filed a notice of appeal to the state Appeals Court, according to the court docket. In his decision, Ritter chastised the town for its actions in this case. Ritter accused town officials of “willful thwarting of the license renewal process.″ Ritter wrote in his decision that […]
November 14, 2018

How Are Child Custody and Visitation Established?

If you are going through a divorce and have children, child custody is arguably the most important matter you will have to deal with during the divorce proceedings. Although custody arrangements can be reviewed and modified until the child turns 18, it is very rare for custody to be changed from one parent to the other after the initial order has been established. This is why it is important to understand how custody and visitation (more often referred to as parenting time) will be determined. There are two types of custody, legal custody and physical custody. The parents may share both legal and physical custody, share legal custody but give one parent sole physical custody, or have one parent have sole primary and physical custody. As you will see below, even when one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent will still retain rights to the child. Legal Custody Legal custody relates solely to the decision-making rights regarding the child. A parent can have legal custody of a child without having physical custody. The parent with legal custody will have the authority to make decisions about the child’s medical, religious, and educational needs. If one parent is awarded sole […]
November 1, 2018

Would we benefit from a prenup?

My fiancé and I are not particularly wealthy, but we are established professionals. Should we get a prenup? You and your fiancé would be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” as it has come You and your fiancé would be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” as it has come to be known. In fact, most, if not all, couples would benefit from a prenuptial agreement. Objections to getting a prenuptial agreement usually come in one of two categories. The first kind asserts that there is no pressing need for the contract: “We don’t have anything financial worth fighting over.” The second appeals to sentiment: “It ruins the romance to talk about money” or, even more wishful, “We’re sure we won’t get divorced.” While no one goes into a marriage planning to get divorced, even the most optimistic couple should acknowledge that divorce is a possibility. While the statistics vary, a good number of American marriages will end in their dissolution by divorce. The wise bride and groom will have to address this possibility on their way into matrimony, rather than deal with the consequences of exiting matrimony unprepared. Even if you have “nothing worth fighting […]
October 14, 2018

Massachusetts Law: Divorce, Custody, and Child Protection

Massachusetts General Law (MGL) 208 covers divorce. This chapter of the laws of the Commonwealth describe everything from the definition of divorce to alimony, child support, and custody issues. Section 31A pertains to visitation and custody in the best interest of a child and covers abuse of parent or child. The best interest of the child is the primary determining factor in awarding custody. An abusive parent may not be awarded sole custody, shared legal custody, or shared physical custody. Custody arrangements must be in the best interest of the child. If one of the parents in a divorce or custody dispute has a history of being an abusive parent, then the court may deny custody or visitation or place restrictions. The court may order supervised visitation for the abusive parent. The abusive parent may be ordered to attend a certified batterer’s treatment program. They are often ordered to refrain from alcohol and other controlled substance during and up to 24 hours before a scheduled visitation. They may also be restricted from overnight visitation. The court may impose any other condition to provide for the safety of the child. Restraining orders are often issued when there is a request for […]
October 2, 2018

Understanding Your Rights in a Car Accident: Massachusetts Personal Injury Claims Explained

You could be driving down route 9 in Framingham during rush hour when suddenly a person driving a large SUV whips into your lane and causes you to rear-end him. However, there were multiple witnesses who reported to Massachusetts State Police that the other driver was speeding. Three witnesses reported he was weaving in and out of traffic. Suddenly, what could have been your fault is a clear case of reckless driving, but, thank goodness, people were willing to share what they saw with the police. Now, you’re laid up in a nearby hospital awaiting surgery for multiple hip and leg fractures. This type of car accident is more common on Massachusetts highways than one might think. How Much Time Do You Have to File a Lawsuit? A car accident can be devastating, causing you and your dependents to lose your economic stability due to debilitating injuries. In Massachusetts, there is a statute of limitations that limits how long you have to file your claim. Here, as an injured victim, you will typically have three years beginning on the accident date to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and his or her insurance company. Your lawsuit may be for […]
August 8, 2018

Mediate, Collaborate or Litigate in Divorce?

There are three ways to get divorced. The first is mediation. The husband and wife meet with a third party neutral, who is usually a lawyer or retired judge, to craft a Separation Agreement that meets their needs. Customarily, the issues are child support, alimony, parenting plan and division of the marital estate. The marital estate may include the marital home, investment accounts and marital debt. Sometimes the lawyers play an important role behind the scenes advising their clients on whether the proposed agreement is in their best interests. If the husband and wife trust each other, and that is a big “if,” then mediation can work. When the issues get complicated or more contentious, however, the husband and wife should consider a second option. This is the collaborative approach where they retain their own legal counsel through-out the entire negotiation. The trust factor is as critical here as it is in a mediated divorce. In a collaborative divorce, the husband and wife have their own legal counsel but agree not to litigate or threaten to go to court if the negotiations go sideways. If one party goes to court, then the collaborative law agreement states that the parties will […]
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