On July 3, 2014, Wicked Local Cambridge reported Cambridge Police arrested Abdul Omer for carrying an illegal firearm.
According to the article, police stopped Omer on a belief the windows on his car were excessively tinted. When the officer spoke to Omer, he discovered his license was suspended. Omer was placed under arrest. After the arrest, the car was searched. Police reported a handgun “which was concealed was seized from the car.
The seizure of the gun sounds questionable. Under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, §1, an officer is permitted to search a person or a car where the defendant was a recent occupant incident to the arrest. The search parameters under this exception to the warrant requirement are limited in scope. The purpose is to search for evidence of the crime for which the defendant was arrested, or for the purpose of removing weapons the person could use to resist arrest or escape.
In this case, the defendant is arrested for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. It appears unlikely the seizure of the gun would be justified as a search for evidence relating to the crime of operating with a suspended license.
The government may also try to justify the search under the inventory exception to the warrant requirement. If the police department has a written inventory policy, they may search the car. The purpose of the search is to safeguard the contents of the car and to protect the police from allegations of misappropriation. THE SEARCH IS NOT INVESTIGATORY IN NATURE. The fact that the gun was described as being “concealed” raises questions about the constitutionality of the seizure.
A skilled Cambridge, MA criminal defense lawyer will analyze the facts surrounding the seizure when preparing a motion to suppress. This could lead to suppression of the evidence and ultimately, dismissal of the gun charges. Suppression of the gun is no small victory as a conviction under the Massachusetts gun laws carry mandatory minimum sentences.
TOP MASSACHUSETTS SUPPRESSION LAW FIRM
Cambridge, MA Gun Defense Lawyer Jeff Miller has successfully suppressed guns seized as a result of unlawful searches. CLICK HERE to read about cases where Attorney Jeff Miller has successfully suppressed evidence the government sought to introduce against his clients. If you have been charged with carrying an unlawful firearm, contact Jeff Miller at 617-482-5799 to schedule an appointment.