A Massachusetts man was arraigned in court on drug and OUI charges after he was arrested early Thursday morning. Fortunately, the man was released on personal recognizance after being charged with a marked lanes violation, operating under the influence of alcohol, possession of cocaine, possession of MDMA (Ecstasy) and possession of amphetamine salts (Adderall) with intent to distribute. According to police, he also failed three sobriety tests and had $1,792 in cash at the time of his arrest.
In Massachusetts, the maximum penalty for being found guilty of a 1st offense OUI is 2.5 years in jail, up to $5000 in fines, and license suspension for up to one year. According to MGL Chapter 94C 32(A), the maximum penalty for drug possession with the intent to distribute is imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years, or in a jail or house of correction for not more than 2.5 years, $10,000 fine, or both. Based on the information released, it is not clear as to whether this was the man’s first offense or if he has any other drug or alcohol related charges on his record. These factors have the potential to play an important part in determining what penalty the man will end up facing.
In this situation however, a few facts imply that there could have been some questionable police behavior involved. The information released informs us that the police officer found the drugs but waited until after the man had failed not one, but three field sobriety tests to inform him he was being charged with a drug crime. In my opinion, it seems as if the police officer had every intention of arresting the man and purposely withheld the fact that he had found the drugs in order to obtain more incriminating evidence against the man.
When a person is involved in a custodial interrogation by a police officer or law enforcement official, they must be provided with Miranda Warnings. (Right to remain silent, Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, Right to an attorney, If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you.) Miranda Warnings are only necessary if the person is in custody and being interrogated.
In this case, if the police officer had informed the man that he found the drugs, it is likely that the man probably would have reasonably believed that he was in custody and not free to leave and the Police officer would then have had a duty to provide him with Miranda warnings. Giving Miranda warnings would have increased the possibility that the man would have refused to participate in the field sobriety test and therefore, provided the police officer with less incriminating evidence for conviction.
In my opinion, this man should attempt to have the evidence found against him suppressed (kept out of trial.) Many arguments could be made by a skilled defense attorney at a Motion to Suppress hearing in front of a Judge in order to suggest that the incriminating evidence was obtained unconstitutionally and must be kept from being used at trial.
If you have been charged with an OUI, drug offense, traffic offense or other criminal offense in Massachusetts, contact my office immediately for your free initial consultation:
(617) 830 – 2188