Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Straight Pride Counterprotestors Litigation

Last weekend Boston hosted the straight pride parade.  It was not recieved well. That appears to be the point.  As was the case with past demonstrations of nationalist animosity, the straight pride parade drew substantially more counterprotestors than it did participants.  Some of these counterprotestors were arrested for various offenses, and arraigned in the Central Municipal Court on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two of the judges in the Central Municipal Court took steps during the arriagnments of the counterprotestors that call into question the limits of the judicial power.  In one example, Judge Horgan ordered the counterprotestors to stay out of the city of Boston while their cases were pending.  So-called "stay-away" orders are common where the alleged crime is related to a particular location.  In Boston, in particular, orders to remain out of the city entirely are more common than in any other metro-area in Massachusetts.  In this case, where the Court's order is to remain out of the entire city of Boston for reasons that have almost nothing to do with the city itself, the order seems pretty clearly overbroad and unconstitutional.  Since at least some of the people who are subject to the order were presumably engaged in deliberate civil disobedience, it would seem like an opportune time for someone to file an interlocutory appeal of the Court's order.  After all, picking fights and taking names is kind of the point of civil disobedience, and it is long since time call attention to, and hopefully end, the practice of banishing people from the city while their cases are pending. 

In another example, Judge Sinnot refused to accept the request of prosecutors in Rachael Rollins' office to dismiss certain charges prior to arraignment.  Rollins was recently elected with a notorioius policy of declining to prosecute certain kinds of cases, including cases in which someone is charged with only resistig arrest (the point being that an arrest should be premised on an actual crime before it becomes a crime to resist it).  In this case, prosecutors moved to dismiss certain cases but the judge refused to allow their motion to dismiss.  Former federal judge Nancy Gertner called the refusal to grant the Commonwealth's request "lawless."

It is hard to find accurate information on what exactly happened, but certain reports suggested that prosecutors had moved to dismiss the cases upon the completion of community service. Other reports suggested that Rollins' peitiotn to the SJC alleged that the judges refused to accept something called a nolle pros.  It seems that some of the confusion over these cases depends on the difference between the two.  A dismissal is an act of the Court. It can be conditional or unconditional, but when the prosecutor moves to "dismiss" a case they are asking the Court to invoke its authority to order charges dismissed. A "nolle pros" (latin) is different because it is not an act of the Court. A "nolle pros" is an act of the prosecutor, which has the effect of unilaterally terminating the prosecution.  Filing a nolle pros might be less desireable for a prosecutor because it cannot be conditioned on any terms that are enforceable by the court. 

Two rock-solid propositions: First, a judge definitely has the discretion to refuse to dismiss a case, even where that request is made by the prosecution.  Second, a judge also has absolutely no authority to refuse to accept a nolle pros.  The trick here may be that a third rock-solid proposition is that the court never has to explain to a party that its action is based on the way the party phrased its motion.  It may simply be that the prosecutor in the room used the words "move to dismiss" when they should have moved to "nolle pros."

Can Law Enforcement Pull You Over for No Reason?

Law enforcement officers in Brockton were recently driving behind a vehicle when they suspected that the car windows were tinted darker than what was allowed by law. They also noticed that the vehicle lacked a front license plate. Law enforcement then became suspicious due to the driver’s peculiar movement. 

This resulted in the driver being arrested after a loaded and stolen firearm was discovered under one of the vehicle’s car seats. The driver was subsequently charged with possession of a firearm without an FID card, possession of ammunition without an FID card, improper storage of a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm, receiving stolen property over $1,200, having a window obstructed, and a license plate violation. 

A law enforcement officer’s decision to pull you over represents a detention. While you are not free to leave, you also have not been arrested. To perform this type of detention, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion that you were committing a violation. 

In the case above, the violation that amounted to reasonable suspicion was that the driver’s car had windows that were tinted to an illegal degree. The purpose of requiring reasonable suspicion to stop a motorist is that this prevents law enforcement from stopping a person on a whim. 

How the Supreme Court Influenced this Area of Law

In the case of Delaware v. Prouse, the Supreme Court considered the arguments of a man prosecuted for marijuana possession. During a traffic stop, law enforcement spotted marijuana on the floor of the man’s vehicle. Law enforcement argued that defendant had not been seen committing any traffic violations. There were also not any equipment violations involving defendant’s vehicle. 

Instead, law enforcement had only made the stop to examine the driver’s license as well as to inspect the vehicle’s registration. The Supreme Court consequently held that this type of stop was unconstitutional. 

Be Wary of Evidence Seized During Stops

There are a number of tactics that the Supreme Court of the United States has found are permissible for law enforcement to employ  to obtain evidence against a person. There are also rules that restrict the way in which law enforcement can obtain this evidence. 

For example, the exclusionary rule requires that evidence obtained during an unlawful arrest or detention be excluded from a court of law. The United States Supreme Court, however, has held that law enforcement officers who learn about arrest warrants only after having made a stop can use this knowledge to justify an illegal detention. 

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Being suddenly stopped by law enforcement can be frightening, particularly when you were in the commission of a criminal offense or have something illegal on you. During these times, however, it is important to remember that you have rights. It is also important to remember that law enforcement must follow restrictions regarding how evidence must be handled. 

If you have been arrested following a vehicle stop, contact criminal defense attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

 

Law Enforcement Arrests 16 Individuals on “Methadone Mile”

Law enforcement recently made arrests around the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Southampton Street, which is a part of the area referred to as “Methadone Mile.” These arrests are part of Boston law enforcement’s efforts to make the neighborhood safer following an attack in which a correction officer was beaten with a metal pipe. In total, 16 people were arrested. Seven individuals who were arrested have arrest warrants for missing court appearances in criminal trials, while six others were arrested for new drug offenses. Four other individuals were picked up on straight warrants and have not yet gone to court. 

There a number of reasons why people miss court appearances. Some people are just perpetually late. Other people have a tendency to get lost on the way to court. Some people think that court actually begins at a different time. There are other people who have personal matters like those involving children spring up suddenly and interrupt a planned court appearance. No matter the reason why you have missed a court appearance, it is important to know how to respond if you miss an appearance. 

Contact Your Attorney Immediately After Missing a Court Appearance

Once you realize that you missed your court appearance, the best step that you can take is to contact your criminal defense attorney. Many times, your lawyer will instruct you to go back to court as soon as possible to inform the judge about your reasons for missing your appearance. 

If you appear in court to explain yourself with a lawyer, you might be able to avoid the most serious penalties. For one, your lawyer will likely be able to better justify why you missed court. In some situations, you attorney might also be able to contact the district attorney to explain the situation. 

Understand the Judge’s Perspective

Judges do not like to see people imprisoned or sentenced to large fines. Instead, many judges would rather help individuals rehabilitate and successfully navigate the criminal justice system. Many judges understand that humans sometimes make mistakes and will accommodate you if you had difficulty getting to court or forgot about your appearance. 

Avoid Bad Excuses and Blaming Others

It is critical to avoid non-excuses or explanations that a judge is not likely to believe. For example, you should never blame your court appearance on the fault of your attorney unless you have a very good excuse. These excuses will not work, particularly if they are not supported by your lawyer or the opposing side. 

The judge similarly does not want to hear you blame someone else for your mistake of not making a court appearance. Instead, it is best to own up to your mistake and only provide an excuse if you have a legitimate one. 

Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney

One of the best ways to respond if you have missed a court appearance is to immediately obtain help. If you need the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer, do not hesitate to contact attorney Edward R. Molari.

 

What You Should and Should Not do While Being Arrested

A fugitive on Massachusetts’ Most Wanted List was recently arrested in Arizona. The suspect is wanted in multiple sexual assaults against a child younger than 10 over an extended period of time. The arrest occurred at an abandoned house. Massachusetts law enforcement first obtained a warrant for the man’s arrest in 2013, but he fled after learning about the investigation. The man was subsequently added to Massachusetts’ Most Wanted List. Fortunately, the suspect was taken into custody without incident. 

One of the most important things to do if you have been arrested is to remember that you have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to an attorney. You should refrain from doing things that could only make your case worse, like fleeing. The following will discuss some of the other important information that you should know in case you are arrested. 

Understand What Constitutes an Arrest

A person is considered to be arrested when law enforcement takes that individual into custody. Custody is determined to have occurred when a person does not feel free to leave. Although many people who are arrested are taken to jail, the arrest actually often begins at a much earlier point in time. 

Law enforcement is only able to arrest an individual if the officer witnesses the individual commit the crime, the officer has probable cause to believe that the person committed a crime, or a judge has issued an arrest warrant supported by probable cause.

Avoid Using Force 

In most arrest situations, a person does not have the right to resist an arrest, even if the arrest is illegal in nature. An individual who uses force can be charged with resisting arrest, battery on an officer, or even worse offenses. That individual can face serious injuries, as well. 

If you are arrested without probable cause, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you pursue these matters in court.

Do Not be Afraid to Invoke Your Rights

During an arrest, it is important to remember your Constitutional rights. For one, you have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to speak with an attorney. After asserting your rights, you should then remain quiet. By continuing to talk to law enforcement, you risk saying something that could incriminate you and eventually be used against you in a court of law. 

While you should tell law enforcement your name or contact details, if asked, you should refrain from sharing any other type of information. You should be similarly cautious about talking with other prison inmates, who might disclose confidential information. 

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Being arrested is a frightening experience. If you have questions or concerns about what you should do following or if you anticipate that you are about to be arrested, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. 

Contact criminal defense attorney Edward R. Molari immediately to obtain the assistance you need.

 

When an Inoperable Gun is a Dangrous Weapon

In Commonwealth v. Buttimer, the Supreme Judicial Court recently revisited a legal question that has arisen in the past, and which has been previously resolved, but never in a satisfactory way.  The issue in Buttimer was whether someone could be convicted of armed assault to rob, or assault with a dangerous weapon, where the weapon was a firearm that was not capable of discharging a shot.  It may seem like an academic question, but it comes up more than you might think. If the police allege that someone displayed or pointed a gun at someone else, the fact that the thing they pointed was a gun significantly increases the potential penalty, and moves the case from a misdameanor to a felony.  However, in order to prove that the object was an actual gun, the Commonwealth has to prove that it was actualy capable of discharging a bullet.  That means the object has to be recovered -- which happens a lot less than number of instances where someon points a gun at someone else.

An assault is an act that puts another person in reasonable fear of an imminent battery (a harful or offensive touching).

So, if someone points a gun at someone else, the fact that it appears to be a firearm is enough to make that person afraid, but is that enough to also make out an additional element that -- beyond just causing someone fear -- that the defendant did so with a dangerous weapon?

In 1970, the Supreme Judicial Court said it was, but the decision never made much sense to me. What the Court said was this:

The fundamental reason for permitting a conviction for simple assault on proof of apparent ability of the assailant to accomplish the attempted or threatened battery is that the public peace and order is affected by and dependent upon what is reasonably apparent, and not upon secret fact or reason rendering the assailant incapable of accomplishing the battery. The reason applies with even greater force to a case of apparent ability to accomplish a battery attempted or threatened by means of a firearm. The threat to the public peace and order is greater, and natural reactions thereto by the intended victim and others may be more sudden and violent than in cases where no weapon is involved. There is no reason why the rule of apparent ability should not apply to charges of aggravated assaults by means of weapons. It is sufficient to prove such a charge if the evidence shows an apparent ability to accomplish the battery by means of the particular weapon used. Thus, the mere fact that a firearm brandished by an assailant is known by him to be unloaded, or to be loaded with blank cartridges, does not entitle him to an acquittal on a charge of the aggravated offense of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.

The above analysis is essentially a non-sequiter. The Court observes that “the threat to the public peace and order is greater, and natural reactions thereto by the intended victim and others may be more sudden and violent than in cases where no weapon is involved,” and uses this observation to obviate an element of the crime -- that the alleged dangerous weapon was, in fact dangerous. This is the kind of mistake lawyers frequently try to teach juries to avoid -- using the excess of evidence of one element as a reason to fail to observe the complete absence of another.  The Court starts with the observation that an otherwise non-criminal act becomes an assault without regard to the secret knowledge of the perpetrator because the act is a breach of the peace. If that reasoning is bolstered by the fact that the victim perceived a weapon, that makes the assault a more serious assault, but it does not justify a finding of an additional element that the weapon was, in fact, dangerous.

And now, with Buttimer, the SJC has reaffirmed this line of thinking that what matters is the apparent ability of the object to cause harm.  That's a fine and good reason to warrant the victim's fear that they will be hurt -- making an otherwise non-crimnal act a crime. But the SJC uses the same evidence to establish the further element of the armed nature of that assault, which makes the crime a felony.  It might make more sense if the Court were not explicitly doing so in an analysis of the degree to which the "public peace" is breached, but that's the ground on which the SJC decided to defend its decision.  The answer should be that since what we are talking about is the degree of the breach of the public peace, the Court should only count the fact that the thing the defendant was holding appeared to be a weapon once -- to make the conduct an assault.  To count it again toward a second element is unfair; the Court should have to look to some additional fact, like the operability of the gun, to prove that the conduct was not just a crime, but also a felony.

 

 

Murder Conviction Reversed Due to False Testimony

A defendant's conviction cannot stand based on false testimony, even if he did not challenge the testimony at the time of trial, and even when the Commonwealth made no attempt to cover it up.  That is the result of the decision in Commonwealth Ware, decided by the SJC on July 26, 2019.  In Darryene Ware's case, the defendant was convicted of murder based, in part, on testimony by a police officer that the defendant had given contradictory statements about where he was immediately prior to the murder.  The officer testified that the defendant had initially told him that his friend had picked him up near a Dunkin Donuts, but that the defendant later changed his story and said he was picked up at his house.  A recording of the interview showed that the Defendant had never said he was picked up near the Dunkin Donuts, and "pointedly denied on at least four occasions picked up there despite the police officers' questions and comments suggesting that he was." 

The Commonwealth argued to the SJC that becasue the defendnat did not object to this tesimony or try to counter it at trial, the implication must be that there was a strategic reason he did not challenge it, and that as a result he should not be able to challenge it on appeal.  The SJC acknowledged that there were some cases that suggested that was a rule, but held that "where the testimony is blatantly false and pertains to an issue central to the Commonwealth's case, a defendant's ability to discern thestatement's falsity does not absolve prosecutorsof theirdutyto correct."

There are a number of things to observe about this. First, even though the SCJ reached the right result, it still did it in terms of addressing the obligations of the prosecutor, rather than the rights of the Defendant. Too often the courts get wrapped up in the question about whether a police officer or a prosecutor acted malicously, and when the court (inevitably) finds that the police officer or the prosecutor may have just made a mistake, the court then denies any relief to the defendant.  The better answer in a case like this would have been to simply say that whatever the obligations of the Commonwealth might have been, the Defendant has a right to a fair trial, and that one aspect of fairness is that the jury only hear evidence that is not demonstrably false.  I quite doubt we will ever get there.

This case also illustrates the reason why talking to the police in the context of a criminal investigation is never a good idea. Look here -- the defendant "pointedly" and "repeatedly" denied the suggestions made by the police, but apparently that was not enough to stop the officer from testifying that he did, in fact, say something he did not say.  Furhter, that was enough to satisfy a jury, and the defendant was convicted. Of murder.  It is only because of the happenstance that the interview was recorded that the truth came out.

If you or someone you know is the subject of a police investigation, contact a lawyer before saying anyting to the police.

SJC Orders Suppression of Evidence

On July 26, 2019,the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court took the unusual step of overturning a trial court order denying the defendant's motion to suppress. The trial court in a criminal case has the authority to exclude from evidence any evidence that is obtained illegally.  However, the rules governing police conduct in the acquisition of evidence are so shot through with exceptions that any trial judge who is inclined to uphold the conduct of the police as a general matter will probably be able to find an exception that fits any case in front of him/her.  On appeal, the court of appeals and the SJC usually defer to the trial court, saying that whatever their view of the evidence may be, it is for the trial court to make determinations about credibility of the evidence.

It is not terribly uncommon for the SJC to reverse a trial court's order granting a motion to suppress evidence, but it is extremely unusual for the SJC to reverse a trial court's order denying one.  That's what it did in Commonwealth v. Tavares.

In Commonwealth v. Tavares, the police were investigating a murder, and received information that a Chevy Malibu had been involved. The next day, an officer saw a Chevy Malibu and pulled it over.  He could not justify the stop of the Malibu on the basis of the murder investigation because there are thousands of such vehicle, and this one didn't even fit the description.  However, the officer decided to stop the Malibu anyway because he said that he saw someone in the back seat that he had a warrant for.

After he stopped the Malibu, as he was walking up, the officer realized that the person he had a warrant to arrest was not present.  The officer then engaged in small talk with the driver, and learned that the Malibu was a rental, and that no one in the car was listed on the rental agreement.  He then told everyone to get out, and held the car to be picked up and returned to the rental company.  After that, a witness identified it as the vehicle involved in the murder, at which point the police got a warrant to search it.

The SJC held that "the stop should have concluded as soon as Detective Schaaf realized he had mistakenly identified the rear passenger, and nothing else had caused concern."  The SJC also held that the Detectiv's knowledge that the vehicle was rented "derived solely from an 'investigatory conversation for which [he] had no lawful basis.'"  Therefore, the reason to order its occupants out, and search the car, was itself derived from the unlawful continued seizure of the vehicle and its occupants after the Detective realized he had no reason to hold them.

Here, the SJC came very close to -- but held back from -- establishing a rule that the fact that a person other than the one listed on the rental agreement is driving a vehicle establishes probable cause for the charge of using a motor vehicle without authority. This is a favorite trick of the Boston Police, in particular.  Boston Police routinely pull over rented vehicles for minor or made up traffic infractions because they think that rental vehicles are often used to transport drugs.  They then use the stop to try to generate a reason to arrest the driver and search the car, hoping to find drugs.  They are wrong because most rental agreements explicitly permit the renter to give permission to any licensed driver, but the police just ignore that part of the contract and say that the rental is limited to the person whose name appears on the paperwork.

This trick has been used to justify countless unlawful stops and searches.  The SJC almost had a chance to address the issue, but ultimately passed because whether the renter had the right to lend the car to a friend or not, that fact was the fruit of the unlawful detention of the vehicle and its occupants, so even if the police were right about their reading of the law, it didn't matter.

As a result, Mr. Paulo Tavares will have a retrial of his 2011 murder conviction.

If you or someone you know has been the subject of a criminal investigation, contact us immediately for a free and private consultation.

Responding to Massachusetts Arrest Warrants

Massachusetts law enforcement recently added an accused child rapist to the state’s Most Wanted list. The suspect is accused of committing multiple sexual assaults against a child who was under the age of 10. 

In 2013, after an investigation by Leominster law enforcement, a warrant was issued charging the individual with the rape of a child. The suspect is then reported to have fled the area and remained at large. 

There are two types of “body” warrants in Massachusetts — arrest and bench warrants. Both of these warrants are capable of being used as legal tools to bring a person into custody. The following takes a brief look at the difference between these two warrants and offers some advice about what to do if a warrant is issued for your arrest.

The Difference Between These Two Warrants

Arrest warrants are most often requested by courts of law in combination with the district attorney’s office when law enforcement has probable cause that a criminal offense was committed by the individual named in the warrant. 

Bench warrants, however, are connected to some type of court-related offense like failure to appear before the court following a summon. If you fail to appear in court, a judge might issue a warrant and enter it into a database informing law enforcement that they have the ability to arrest you for this violation. 

The primary difference between arrest and bench warrants is that law enforcement is much more likely to locate a person if an arrest warrant is issued. 

How to Respond if a Warrant is Issued for Your Arrest

There are only a few ways to respond if a warrant is issued for your arrest. Some of the steps that you should take include:

  • Make sure that there is actually a warrant issued for your arrest before deciding what to do.

  • Realize that trying to not think about the warrant will not make it go away

  • Do not run because this will only result in additional charges being brought against you

  • Avoid traveling because security personnel likely has access to a warrant database

  • Do not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, particularly before you decide to turn yourself in to law enforcement

How to Determine if a Warrant is Issued for Your Arrest

To determine if a warrant in Massachusetts has been issued for your arrest, it is possible to pay to obtain a copy of your criminal offense report. This document can be obtained online or through writing. If you retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, the lawyer will be able to make a determination for you about the types of warrants that have been issued in your name. 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense

Having a warrant issued for your arrest can be frightening. If you need assistance navigating this situation, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Being Charged with a Criminal Offense Out of State

Last month, state law enforcement arrested a man in New Mexico who is wanted in connection with a homicide that occurred in Massachusetts. The arrest occurred after law enforcement received a tip that the man was traveling through the state. They then conducted a high-risk traffic stop on the vehicle and the man was taken into custody without incident. At the time of the arrest, the man was traveling with his five children, who range in age from 3 to 17. 

Being charged with a criminal offense is an overwhelming event, and it is common for the person charged to be unsure of how to proceed. These circumstances can become much more difficult to navigate when a person is charged with a criminal offense in one state for an offense that occurred in another state. 

If you are facing criminal charges in Massachusetts while living in another state, it can help to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. It also helps to follow a few established strategies, which we will review below.

Jurisdiction Issues

Jurisdiction refers to the ability to make legal decisions as well as judgments. States have jurisdiction over any criminal offense that occurs within the state. 

States additionally have jurisdiction over criminal offenses even if the person never set foot in that state. For individuals who have committed serious criminal offenses in one state, however, it is also possible for a person to be arrested in another state.

Court Appearances can be Complicated

For some criminal offenses in the state of Massachusetts, it is possible for a Massachusetts attorney to appear before a court of law to resolve the case. The defendant him or herself may not need to appear in court. 

When more serious offenses are involved, however, it is likely that you will have to appear before a court of law in the state where you are being charged. To determine whether it is possible to have an out-of-state attorney entirely handle matters for you, the best solution is to speak with a knowledgeable Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer first. 

Posting Bail

If a felony is involved, a court might required an out-of-state person to post bail, which can be particularly expensive. 

Bail refers to money paid to the court as assurance that the person charged will return to court to face these charges. Once a person returns to court, the bail is returned. 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

You should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with an offense. If you are charged with an offense in Massachusetts but live in another state, you should consider speaking with a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. If you fail to resolve matters properly, it is possible that you could end up facing a number of much more serious legal penalties. 

During an initial free consultation, Attorney Edward Molari will explain the various charges against you as well as explain your various available legal strategies. Contact Attorney Molari today for assistance.

Entrapment and Drug Stings

Multiple law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts recently broke up a massive drug trafficking ring, which resulted in the arrest of 14 individuals and confiscated about 35 pounds of fentanyl and heroin as well as 15 pounds of cocaine and four handguns. 

The investigation first began in 2017 and led to a joint effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement. The effort marks the first major investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team. 

The bust involved the simultaneous execution of 14 search warrants in Methuen and Lawrence. While two suspects were arraigned in Ayer District Court, the rest of the individuals who were arrested were arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Law enforcement has already stated that by reducing the availability of these drugs, it will greatly improve the lives of many addicts and their loved ones. 

As the state of Massachusetts continues to combat the ongoing drug crisis, it is likely that the state will use a number of tactics to combat drug usage. Despite efforts by law enforcement to combat drug use, there are a number of Constitutional and state rights that law enforcement is still required to follow. 

If a law enforcement officer arrests you for a drug related offense, you likely have questions about the validity of your arrest as well as the availability of possible defenses. To respond to these situations, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be particularly helpful. 

How Sting Operations Work

During drug stings, law enforcement officers sometimes pose as drug dealers to catch other people who are involved with the sale or purchase of drugs. For these stings to work, law enforcement sometimes even interacts with real drugs. 

If an officer has arrested you as a result of one of these operations, it is common to be uncertain about what is happening. By creating the fear that you might be arrested for buying or selling drugs, law enforcement hopes to greatly reduce the number of drug transactions that occur. 

The Potential for Entrapment

Entrapment is a common defense after a person is arrested in relation to a drug sting. If a court of law determines that entrapment was involved in your arrest, it is likely that you will be able to create a strong enough defense to either reduce your charges or have them dropped entirely. 

The burden is on the person charged, however, to demonstrate that entrapment occurred. In these cases, it is critical to remember several important factors:

  • Law enforcement is prohibited from using unreasonable methods to convince you to commit a criminal offense. This includes harassing or threatening you.

  • A person must not have any predisposition to commit a criminal defense. In situations in which a person already has a criminal record in relation to drug offenses, it is more difficult but not impossible to successfully argue entrapment. 

  • Despite the availability of the entrapment defense, law enforcement can sometimes use deception in stings, which might include presenting as drug dealers or buyers or hiding the fact that a person is a police officer. Many people, however, still believe the long held myth that law enforcement must reveal their identity or risk entrapment allegations.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Following a drug-related arrest, it is common to experience a number of fears and uncertainties. One of the best steps to make sure your charges resolve in the best possible manner is to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

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