Please call us if you have questions or if you require legal representation. Our telephone number is 617 366-2200
Bassil & Budreau serves both individuals and corporations accused of serious criminal offenses in state and federal courts throughout New England. While we do not shy from litigating the tough cases–as our record with sex offenses shows–Bassil & Budreau works confidentially, efficiently and effectively for all our clients. Our dogged work ethic, “thinking outside the box” creativity and ability to breakdown complex legal issues has translated into success in the court room, on appeal and though negotiations.
Our lawyers have won acquittals or dismissals in their last eighteen sexual assault cases and four oui trials, multiple homicide cases and federal prosecutions and dozens of post conviction cases. James Budreau and Janice Bassil manage the criminal litigation group for the firm, which was selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top law firms beginning in Boston for 2015.
James Budreau regularly represents clients in complex federal and state criminal trials and appeals. Jim has won dozens of cases and appeals across Massachusetts and New England including acquittals for the same client in two separate murder trials, a federal trial prosecution of a Canadian businessman and a drug trafficking case for the script writer of Miami Vice. Recently, Jim won an acquittal in a first degree murder case, after deadlocking two juries in another homicide case. He then went on to win a complex drunk driving trial and a drug forfeiture case in the same week. Mr. Budreau, like his partner, Janice Bassil, excels in the courtroom and regularly represents juveniles accused of serious criminal offenses. See The Boy Who Burned Inside. He was recently selected by Martindale Hubbel as a premier litigator in Massachusetts and was named a Super Lawyer in Massachusetts.
Janice Bassil has tried dozens of high profile cases and routinely represents executives and their families accused of state misdemeanors and felonies. While Attorney Bassil excels at representing men accused of sexual assaults and other crimes of violence, her track record representing women is equally impressive as demonstrated by her acquittal using an insanity defense for a woman accused of killing her children. Attorney Bassil was named Lawyer of the Year by Lawyers’ Weekly for her persistent style that has led to acquittal after acquittal. She teaches criminal law at Boston University and is considered to be one of the most effective legal advocates and creative minds in the field. See Seeking Justice.
Bassil & Budreau regularly represents students before college disciplinary boards for various infractions including allegations of sexual assault. Our lawyers have represented adults and juveniles in virtually every Massachusetts state court and in federal court throughout New England.
Collateral consequences of all criminal cases can have devastating effects on our clients and no case is considered inconsequential. Our firm manages client problems with creativity, compassion and an eye toward results. We are constantly monitoring legal trends across the country and bring cutting edge legal analysis to all of our cases.
Members of our firm are licensed in Massachusetts, Maine, New York and are members of the federal bar in Massachusetts, New York, Maine and Vermont.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I need an attorney?
As soon as you become aware that the police or another state agency is looking for or investigating you, or if you believe that you may have committed a crime. The earlier you contact a lawyer the better. This will enable you to understand all your legal options and the best manner to respond to law enforcement. An attorney can also intervene with the police and either prevent an arrest or, if you are going to be arrested, arrange for your surrender at a time and in a manner that minimizes embarrassment to you or your family.
What should I do if the police want to question me?
You have an absolute right not to speak to the police, although at times it can be difficult to remain silent when they ask you questions. It is best to seek a lawyer’s advice before speaking to the police to ensure that you are not a target of their investigation. You should be polite and cooperative and tell the police that you do not want to speak to them without an attorney. Under our Constitution, the police cannot force you to answer questions and your refusal cannot be used against you in court. If, however, you do talk, your words can be used to prosecute you. While the police might tell you it would be in your interest if you speak with them, they do not have the authority to “make things easier” for you or to control the outcome of your case. They are allowed to lie and they are allowed to use trickery to get you to provide information or contradict and incriminate yourself. It may feel uncomfortable saying “I want a lawyer” and you may feel that you look a guilty by requesting a lawyer, but that is your absolute right and the wisest course of action.
What if I am told I am just a witness?
If you are clearly a witness to a crime or even a victim, obviously you should talk to the police. If, however, there is any concern that you are a target or a person of interest then it is best to consult with an attorney to review all the facts and legal implications. Many cases can involve lengthy investigations and you will not know if you are a target of the investigation unless you sit down with a lawyer.
What should I do if I am stopped by the police and accused of driving while impaired?
The police will first ask for your license and registration. If they perceive that you are impaired or that there is an odor of alcohol they may ask you to step out of the car to perform what are called field sobriety tests. You may refuse to comply with the sobriety tests. They may also ask you to perform a field or portable Breathalyzer test and a Breathalyzer test at the station. If you refuse to take the Breathalyzer at the station you will lose your license for at least 180 days, but that refusal cannot be used as evidence against you. If you do take and fail the breathalyzer then you are guilty as a matter of law unless your lawyer can show that the breathalyzer or the process used was flawed or that other factors contributed to the higher result. The legal limit for alcohol consumption while driving is .08 which may translate to as little as two glasses of wine, depending upon your size and consumption of food.
What should I do if the police ask to search your car, house, personal effects, etc.?
The police must have probable cause in order to search your car (unless you are crossing a border, etc), personal effects, house or even your pockets. While they need a warrant to search your house (under most circumstances), they can most times search your car if they have probable cause to believe that it contains evidence of a crime. The point is, if they are asking to search your car or house or your personal effects they probably do not have probable cause. Otherwise they would not be asking for your consent. The best manner to handle this situation is to always tell the police “Sorry Officer, I do not consent to searches.” This does not imply that you are guilty but tells them that as a matter of personal policy you do not agree to consent searches. Always be polite and courteous. If they do arrest you, it is not because you refused their request. It is because they already had sufficient evidence to support an arrest and were looking to gain additional evidence to prosecute you.
What are the federal sentencing guidelines?
The federal courts use advisory sentencing guidelines to gauge the length of a defendant’s sentence. These are advisory and are not mandatory. The court must calculate a person’s guideline range and then has the discretion to increase or reduce the sentence based upon various factors including those identified in Title 18 U.S.C. §3553(a). The guidelines are often driven by loss amounts, drug weight or harm to institutions or individuals as well as your criminal history. Often the reasons for higher sentences per the guidelines are sometimes irrational, not based upon any empirical evidence or are simply more severe than necessary. This subjects the guideline sentence to criticism and allows the Court to exercise significant discretion.
What should I do if my spouse or significant other calls the police and accuses me of assault or threats?
If you have an argument and the police are called by your spouse or significant other or by a neighbor, the police will come. If the call is not completed or a party hangs up, the police will come. They will typically separate the two of you and ask each of you to explain what happened. It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to talk yourself out of this situation and it would be best to agree to leave. The police will likely escort you from your home, no matter what you say. They may help your spouse or partner obtain an emergency restraining order and the entire issue may be litigated in court in approximately 10 days. If a restraining order is issued, even temporarily, do not call, text or email the other person. Do not let someone else try to talk to them for you. You do not want to get charged with violating a restraining order or even potentially, intimidation of a witness.
What happens if I am arrested?
You will be brought to the police station and “booked.” This procedure will include fingerprinting and photographing and obtaining your biographical information. You will be able to make a telephone call (make it either to a lawyer or a family member who can call a lawyer and who has the funds necessary to come bail you out). Depending on the crime with which you have been charged, a bail commissioner should be able to look at your criminal record, if any, and release you from the police station. He or she will require a nominal fee (usually $25) and sometimes will set a bail amount. Once the bail is received by the police, you should be released. You must appear at Court at the time told to you by the police and written on your “Recognizance Form.”
If you are not allowed to be bailed from the station you will be brought before the Court the next business day. At that time, a lawyer will argue for your release. A judge may release you on your own recognizance, which simply means that you must show up for each court date and not commit any new crimes. A judge may also require an amount of bail which typically includes a cash amount. If you or someone on your behalf provides the amount to the court, it will be returned as long as you appear for your case.
A judge may also set conditions of your release which minimally include no personal contact with any witnesses and no new arrests. In federal court, conditions can get complex and onerous depending upon the accusations and your background. These can be reviewed in the context of your situation.
How can I post bail?
The form of bail differs from court to court in Massachusetts. In state court they generally require cash. If the amount of bail in state court is over $10,000.00, the guarantor may need to show that the source of the cash was legitimate at some later time. Some courts will accept certified checks, but you are better off always speaking with an assistant clerk in that Court about the form of bail.
In federal court, bail can be much more complex. Often times, the Court requires collateral for bail in the form of a house or stocks to ensure the defendant’s return. The process for securing bail is complex and can take weeks as home appraisals and title certifications may need to be performed among other tasks before a Court will accept the collateral.