Criminal Defense

The Law Office of Ruth O'Meara-Costello is ready to assist clients facing criminal charges by providing experienced legal counsel and personalized defense strategies.  

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

Ruth’s criminal defense practice encompasses trials and appeals in both state and federal court. She has represented defendants facing various charges and possible consequences, from misdemeanors to murder charges carrying a mandatory life sentence. 

Pretrial and Trial Criminal Cases

Ruth has secured favorable depositions for many clients short of trial or even before charges were brought. Working with clients and their families and friends to craft powerful sentencing presentations, she has persuaded many judges to impose sentences without jail time. She has secured pretrial probation—which does not require a conviction or guilty plea—even for clients charged with serious violence. In some cases, she has convinced judges to simply dismiss charges against her clients because the evidence did not justify the issuance of a complaint. 

Representing clients facing trial, Ruth is thorough and tireless in advocating for her clients, thoroughly investigating the facts of their cases, and communicating with them about their options at every stage.  

Criminal Appeals

Ruth has a very active post-conviction practice. She represents numerous defendants in appeals from their convictions and has successfully overturned convictions for clients convicted of serious charges, including sex offenses and criminal motor vehicle infractions. She is a member of CPCS’s post-conviction panel and the First Circuit’s Criminal Justice Act appellate panel, taking appointed appeals for indigent defendants in state and federal criminal cases. In addition to direct appeals, she can help with other post-conviction challenges, including motions for new trial, motions to vacate GPS monitoring as a condition of probation, or motions seeking post-conviction testing of DNA or other forensic evidence. 

Pre-Arraignment Cases

In Massachusetts, many defendants are entitled to a hearing before a clerk magistrate to determine whether there is probable cause to bring charges against them, known as a “show cause” hearing. These hearings are an essential opportunity to prevent a criminal complaint from issuing, either by convincing the magistrate that there is no probable cause or by using the hearing to advocate for a resolution of the case outside of the criminal system. Ruth has a strong record of success at these hearings. 

Criminal Exposure and Campus Disciplinary Matters 

In addition to her criminal practice, Ruth represents students facing accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct in student disciplinary proceedings, including Title IX cases. Many allegations of sexual harassment involve claims of verbal or physical conduct that could also potentially qualify as criminal behavior under Massachusetts criminal laws concerning harassment, stalking, or threatening to commit a crime. Students facing Title IX charges for alleged sexual assault often must confront accusations that could also lead to criminal charges of rape or indecent assault and battery. 

Even outside the Title IX context, there can be an overlap between university codes of conduct and criminal law regarding drug possession or distribution, physical violence, and alcohol-related offenses, including the distribution of alcohol to minors. Unfortunately, students who are facing disciplinary charges often do not realize that they are at risk of criminal prosecution and may strengthen the criminal case against them by making unguarded admissions in the school’s conduct process. Students facing allegations of serious misconduct should consult a criminal defense lawyer before participating in any interview or making any statements in a school disciplinary process. Ruth has dual expertise in criminal defense and campus discipline. 

Facing criminal charges? Tenure being threatened? Unsure of how you should handle a Title IX matter? The Law Office of Ruth O'Meara-Costello can help.
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