Just after noon on Monday, Maximo Velasquez, a twenty-seven year old man from Dorchester, Massachusetts was stopped after he supposedly drove through a stop sign in Quincy. At the time Velasquez was driving a Mercedes that had been rented to someone else. The police asked Velasquez to produce his driver's license. When he did officers learned that he had a pending Massachusetts Drug Case open against him. Subsequently the car was searched. During the search officers found seventeen grams of Heroin. The drugs were concealed in condoms hidden in the rear brake light compartment. It is further alleged that Velasquez had in his possession one gram of Cocaine. Right now he has been charged with Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and a Massachusetts Cocaine Charge. The case is pending in the Quincy District Court.
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As a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer I am always suspicious when I read an article like this one. I ask myself why it is that all drug dealers caught in a car with drugs commit Motor Vehicle Offenses that justify the initial stop of the car. Rarely is that actually the case. Most of my clients insist that they were pulled over for no reason at all. Prior to 9/11 this was difficult to prove. It was the police officer's word against my client's. But now things have changed. Almost everywhere you look you can find a video security camera. If you figure out which business or entity owns the camera you can ask for footage or get a subpoena from the judge to access this material. And guess what? You will be surprised at just how many of these "Motor Vehicle Offenses" never actually occurred.
Relative to this case however, even going beyond the stop I am wondering what grounds the police had to make Velasquez wait while they went to get a dog to search the rental car. An open case does not give the police the right to detain someone and to search their property. Nor for that matter does driving a rental car that has been rented to someone else. It is conceivable that Velasquez's name was on the rental car contract as someone permitted to drive the car. A challenge to the Search and Seizure in this case might prove fruitful for Velasquez. Here is something else to consider. Even if this case goes to trial, what evidence is there that Velasquez knew about the Heroin in the tail light compartment. Absolutely none. On so many grounds it appears that case might be very difficult for the district attorney to prove.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, PC has been defending people accused of committing crimes in Massachusetts for over twenty-five years. We continue to maintain that there is a defense to every case. We know that we can help you with your criminal case. Call us at 617-263-6800 or send us an email.