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Worcester Criminal Defense Law Blog

4 taken into custody after police raid Massachusetts store

According to reports, after law enforcement officials conducted a drug raid of a Worcester city antiques store on March 10, they detained four individuals on suspicion of possessing and distributing drugs. Police allege that the store was used as a place where drug deals were made.

Investigators claim that during their search of the antique store they found a variety of drugs, such as heroin, anti-anxiety medications, synthetic painkillers, drugs for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy and medications used to fight opium addiction. Just prior to the store raid, officers assert that they found prescription drugs, heroin and crack cocaine in a vehicle that was leaving the antique store. The four men were taken into police custody on drug-related charges that include drug possession with intent to distribute. The men were to have their hearing March 13.

Black Americans more likely to be convicted and exonerated

Massachusetts residents may be interested to learn that, according to a study, black Americans are more likely to be wrongfully convicted of drug crimes and violent crimes, such as murder and sexual assault. The study suggests that the wrongful convictions may be caused by racial bias and official misconduct.

The study analyzed 1,900 defendants who had been wrongfully convicted between 1989 and 2016 and were later exonerated. Of these defendants who were exonerated, 47 percent were black Americans, three times their representation in the U.S. population. When the numbers were broken down, black Americans were seven times more likely to be convicted on murder charges only to be exonerated later. Black Americans were also 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted on drug crimes.

3 elements of a traffic stop that could violate your rights

Serious criminal charges often stem from a simple traffic stop. Because of this, it is understandable that people get scared or nervous when they are pulled over by police. However, you must remember that you have rights during a traffic stop.

From the moment you see the red and blue lights in your rear view mirror, there are specific procedures that police are required to follow. Unfortunately, drivers don't always know the law as thoroughly as the officer making the stop does. Because of this, you may not realize if your rights have been violated during a traffic stop. Thankfully, you can work with an attorney who can scrutinize the various elements of the stop and identify any wrongdoing.

Three critical elements in particular should be examined.

Getting a hardship license after a drunk driving conviction

Massachusetts has some of the harshest drunk driving penalties in the country, and these types of charges or a conviction can have a long-reaching impact on various aspects of your life. If you are currently dealing with the repercussions of a DUI or OUI conviction or loss of driving privileges, you may be eligible for a hardship license.

Hardship licenses are available to those convicted of DUI or OUI. This allows you to drive during certain hours for the duration of your license suspension, enabling you to take care of important matters such as work, school and even transporting your children.

2 men arrested for allegedly trafficking heroin

According to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, two men were taken into custody on Feb. 22 on charges of trafficking heroin in the Merrimack Valley. The men were allegedly responsible for dealing more than 250 grams of the drug in the area.

The two men were taken into custody are ages 33 and 27. Both were charged with conspiring to violate the drug laws and with trafficking drugs. The 33-year-old-man is also facing charges of possessing a stun gun and possessing heroin with the intent to distribute it.

Michael Floyd pleads guilty, faces multiple penalties for DUI

Massachusetts pro football fans may have heard that Michael Floyd, who was an Arizona Cardinals player at the time of his arrest, has entered a plea of guilty to his DUI charge. After being released from the Cardinals in December, Floyd played for the New England Patriots and earned his first Super Bowl ring.

Floyd was handed a 120-day jail sentence. He will serve 24 of those days in jail and the remaining 96 days on home confinement. In exchange for his guilty plea to extreme DUI, six additional charges against him were dropped by the prosecutor.

3 people charged with drug crimes after hotel raid

Three Massachusetts residents were taken into police custody after a SWAT team executed a search warrant at a hotel in Peabody. According to the Peabody Police Chief, the three accused people are suspected of being drug distributors, and police believe that they may have been selling narcotics from the hotel room where they were staying. The accused individuals are a 30-year-old man, a 51-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman, all from Lynn.

Police officers called the NEMLEC SWAT team to assist with the search warrant because they believed that the 30-year-old man had a firearm. The man had reportedly violated the terms of his probation for a firearm charge. Before the man was found in Peabody, the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad had located him in Danvers.

Truck driver charged with OUI following crash

On Feb. 1, it was reported that a tractor trailer crash that occurred in Massachusetts the previous day caused a fire and left dozens of Chelsea residents without power. The accident took place on Library Street at about 11:22 p.m.

Authorities stated that the driver, a 46-year-old Ohio man, appeared to have gotten lost on the small street. The tractor trailer he was driving struck the pad-mounted transformer that supplied the power. He also struck vehicles, fences and a telephone pole. Following the incident, he reportedly fled from the scene of the crash. He was taken into police custody near the Library Street and Broadway intersection a short time later.

No reliable test for marijuana intoxication

When Massachusetts police officers suspect that a driver is intoxicated by alcohol, they often ask the motorist to perform a standard field sobriety test. If the driver has trouble walking in a straight line or reciting the alphabet, the police officer may have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is drunk. A breath test or a blood test can also be used to measure the driver's blood-alcohol content.

Because there is no good test for marijuana intoxication, police officers have a lot more difficulty proving that drivers are stoned. A Massachusetts public defender has asked the state's Supreme Judicial Court to disallow the use of field sobriety tests as evidence for marijuana intoxication. According to the attorney, there is no proof that flunking a field sobriety test indicates marijuana intoxication.

Obama commutes sentences of 330 inmates

Massachusetts residents may have heard that, in one of his final acts as president, Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 330 federal prisoners who had been convicted of drug crimes. The commutations were handed down on Jan. 19.

Over the course of his presidency, Obama granted commutations to 1,715 federal inmates, which is the most of any president in U.S. history. Of those inmates, 568 had been sentenced to life in prison. According to Obama's White House counsel, the former president made it a second-term goal to correct what he saw as systemic injustice that led to onerous sentences for thousands of drug offenders. Congress never acted to address the problem.

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