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Framingham Woman Charged with Driving to Endanger

crashed-car-921217-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a Framingham woman was arrested after crashing her car into an apartment building this past week. The article states that the woman was driving her car in the area of Beaver Terrace Circle. She was reportedly circling through the area repeatedly and then parking and revving her car loudly. At one point, the woman apparently lost control of the car and crashed into a building at 107A Beaver Terrace Circle. She then reportedly reversed over the curb and hit a tree. The police were called to the scene and found the woman behind the wheel of the car with a bloody nose. She was reportedly speaking slowly and having trouble communicating, but she told police she had not been drinking and was not under the influence of drugs. Despite this statement, an officer overheard the woman tell a paramedic that she had taken Xanax. She was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to be treated, but police issued a summons for her to appear in court on a charge of driving to endanger. At the time that this alleged offense occurred, the woman was out on bail in a case out of the Marlborough District Court for charges of uttering and larceny. Because she was out on bail on the uttering and larceny case when she was charged with this new offense, the judge revoked her bail for ninety days at her arraignment on the new charge.

Under G. L. c. 276, § 58B, if a defendant is released on bail in a criminal matter and is subsequently charged with a new offense, a judge can revoke the defendant’s release on the open case and hold the defendant without bail for up to ninety days as long as three conditions are met. First, the court must find that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new offense while he or she was out on bail – generally a new arrest will satisfy this requirement. Second, the court must find that the defendant was given his or her “bail warning” at the arraignment on the pending case. In other words, the court must have warned the defendant that if s/he was arrested on a new case while s/he was out on bail then the bail in the pending matter could be revoked. The fact that such a warning was given should be marked on the court’s docket, and therefore a copy of the docket is generally sufficient to satisfy this requirement. Third, the court must find that there are no conditions of release that can satisfy the safety of the community, or a specific individual in the community. In other words, the court must find that there are not any conditions of release that could be imposed by the court that will ensure the community’s safety, or a particular person’s safety.

Although it appears that the judge in the woman’s case was not swayed by any of the arguments that her lawyer may have made against revocation, there are several different ways that lawyers can attack this issue generally. First, if the new case appears to be weak, the lawyer can argue that even though the person was charged, the information contained in the police report is not sufficient to establish probable cause, and therefore the first requirement has not been met. As to the second requirement, prosecutors will often attach the docket of the open case to their motion to revoke to show that the bail warning was given. If the prosecutor fails to do so, however, then an argument can certainly be made that the defendant was not properly notified of his or her bail warnings, and therefore that the judge should not revoke the bail. Lastly, as to the third argument, an attorney can and should always argue that there are conditions of release that will ensure the safety of the community – for example, the woman’s attorney could have argued that the court could order the woman to abstain from drugs and alcohol, seek substance abuse treatment, and/or refrain from driving, and that the imposition of any or all of these conditions would ensure the safety of the community.

Motions to revoke are typically filed every time that a defendant is released on an open matter and is subsequently arrested on a new offense. While arguing against a motion to revoke may seem like an uphill battle at times, judges may be swayed by the right arguments. If you or a loved one is facing a bail revocation, you will need an attorney who knows how to make such arguments. Attorney Daniel Cappetta is well versed in the law and knows what to say to the court when a client is facing a bail revocation. Call him for a free consultation today.