Massachusetts Criminal LawyerMassachusetts Attorney Skilled in Criminal, DCF, and Family Matters
George N. Papachristos is a Milton criminal defense lawyer who puts insights and experience gleaned as a former prosecutor to work for his clients. He understands the intricate, complex aspects of police investigations and the techniques used by prosecutors to obtain convictions. Knowing the challenges that criminal defendants face, he works tirelessly to protect his clients' rights in cases involving charges such as OUI or assault and battery. He also handles DCF cases, family law matters, and guardianships for Massachusetts residents.Criminal Defense
Criminal charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. This is a strict standard. However, it is wise to seek out a knowledgeable attorney as soon as you realize that you are being investigated. Criminal charges are often brought through a grand jury indictment. We can help you protect yourself if you are the subject of a Massachusetts grand jury investigation process. A grand jury is responsible for deciding whether there is enough probable cause to justify a criminal charge. The grand jury will need to decide whether there is enough evidence to support the elements of a criminal charge, but it does not actually decide the guilt or innocence of the accused.
The elements of the criminal charge vary depending on which specific crime is at issue. A criminal defense attorney can advise Milton residents on what the prosecution may need to prove in their case. Often, a crime includes an intent element, which means that the defendant not only took certain actions but also had a certain mental state at the time. After the prosecution presents its evidence, the grand jury votes about whether there is probable cause. It is possible to challenge grand jury proceedings for lack of probable cause. When a judge agrees that there was not enough evidence for the grand jury to determine that there was probable cause, it is possible to get an indictment dismissed.OUI
Serious penalties may be imposed for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OUI), particularly for repeat offenders. It is possible for first offenders to face a license suspension for a maximum of a year, with a hardship license after three months. Many first offenses are resolved through alternative disposition, with a license suspension of 45-90 days and immediate eligibility for a hardship license. However, the penalties for an OUI can be more serious in some cases, which makes it important to retain a Milton criminal defense attorney to help fight them. For example, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence that cannot be served concurrently with another sentence if you are convicted of operating on a suspended license while committing an OUI offense. For another example, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to $25,000 in fines if you are convicted of manslaughter while operating a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs.Assault and Battery
Many people are surprised to learn that assault does not require you to have made physical contact with a victim. Instead, assault requires you to have perpetrated an act that put somebody else in imminent apprehension or fear of offensive or harmful contact. In this way, an assault charge is different from assault and battery, which does require physical contact. Under MGL c. 265 s. 13A, you can face up to two years’ incarceration and a $1,000 fine if you are convicted of assault and battery. Certain circumstances can result in more serious penalties, such as assault and battery on a public employee. The situation is more complicated if you are charged with domestic violence, in which you have a family or household relationship with the victim. Aggravated assault and battery is a felony charge, which means that you can face time in state prison for a conviction, rather than a sentence to a county jail or house of correction. Our Milton criminal defense lawyer can provide vigorous representation to people fighting any of these charges.DCF Cases
We also handle DCF cases, including 51A and 51B investigations, emergency removals, and 72-hour custody hearings. Under Massachusetts law, certain people are mandated reporters and are required to report when they have reasonable cause to believe that a child under 18 is suffering from serious emotional and physical injuries arising from neglect or abuse. Mandated reporters include doctors, EMTs, public or private school teachers, social workers, and others. An abuse report by a mandated reporter is a 51A report. Once a 51A report is received, DCF conducts a 51B investigation. An emergency order of removal is followed by another hearing, a 72-hour hearing.Family Law
There is a low divorce rate in Massachusetts compared to other states. If you are contemplating a divorce, it can be important to retain an experienced attorney who can talk to you about your options for resolving family law disputes. Many family law matters are suitable for mediation or arbitration. There are other situations in which no agreement can be reached about one or more aspects of the divorce, whether it is property distribution, spousal support, or child custody. If a divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement, the court will make decisions by applying Massachusetts law. For example, when determining a division of property, the court will consider numerous factors under M.G.L. c. 208 s. 34, including how long the marriage lasted, how the spouses acted in the marriage, their income, their jobs, their health, and their ages.Guardianships
Guardianships are legal relationships in which the court orders one person to take care of another person. People petitioning to become guardians must be at least 18 years old. A minor may be appointed a guardian if her legal parents are not fit to parent. An adult may be appointed a guardian if she is mentally incapacitated. Sometimes a guardianship is restricted. For example, if a limited guardianship is ordered, the ward can participate in making decisions to the extent possible. Limits to a guardianship are assessed by a court by looking at the individual ward's abilities.Consult an Experienced Attorney for Dedicated Representation
Attorney George N. Papachristos represents people who need a criminal defense lawyer in the Milton area or who are looking for assistance in DCF or family matters. He understands the high stakes in these cases and the impact that they can have on your family and your future. Call us at (617) 328-7100 or use our online form to set up an appointment to find out more about your options and what we can do for you.