A Melrose man recently found himself arrested and inviolation of his probation when he was caught drug dealing by Lawrence police. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that Mohamed Soltani had previously been prosecuted in Boston for drug dealing and was placed on probation and ordered to wear a GPS Monitoring Bracelet on his ankle. But authorities claim he continued drug dealing and engaging in a variety of other illegal activities.
Police took notice of Soltani when he was parked at an intersection stop sign. When police approached Soltani in his vehicle, they found an intoxicated Soltani and detected the strong scent of fresh marijuana. Upon questioning, the police quickly observed that Soltani had slurred speech and had glassy eyes, red with irritation. After Soltani became agitated and yelled at the officers, he was arrested and charged with marijuana possession with the intent to distribute, drinking in public, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license, and a drug violation near a public park. Police found over a pound and a half of marijuana and large sums of cash in the vehicle.
Although possession of an ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, a person can be charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana or distribution of marijuana in certain circumstances. Depending on the circumstances, if the police find large sums of money, plastic baggies and/or scales a charge of intent to distribute a controlled substance will likely be lodged. If the offense is alleged to have been committed in a school zone a defendant faces the possibility of being sentenced to two years in jail upon conviction. In this case, because the only component that may make this case an “intent to distribute case” is the money; if there is a reasonable explanation for this a successful defense can be mounted on this charge.
What Is Expected From Someone Who Is On Probation?
When a defendant is put on probation, he or she must comply with certain conditions as part of the probation contract. These conditions vary based on each case, but usually include things like: obey all state, federal and local laws, report to your probation officer at set intervals of time, do not leave the state without permission of the Court or the probation officer, wear a GPS tracking bracelet and/or mandatory attendance at rehabilitation programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. So long as the defendant complies with the terms of his or her probation, he or she is generally free to do as he or she pleases.
Probation Violations and Surrender Hearings
When a defendant violates the terms of his or her probation, including being arrested on a new offense, the defendant will be subjected to a probation violation hearing. When a probation officer becomes aware that a probationer may have violated his or her probation the officer will file a “surrender notice.” This notice requires the defendant to appear before the court for a probation violation hearing.
Probation violation hearings have more lax evidence rules than a normal trial, meaning that the burden of proof is lower than the normal “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for criminal offenses. A skilled and practiced probation violation attorney will be best able to prepare a strong case that the evidence supplied by the probation department for the hearing is not reliable and that a defendant should not be surrendered.
Our Attorney brings her experience as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney to the courtroom when defending clients facing drug charges and probation violations/surrenders. If you have been accused of violating your parole, have been rearrested for the same crime that you are on probation for or are being subjected to a probation violation hearing, lease do not hesitate to contact Our Attorney