My boyfriend was arrested on charges related to a drug bust in PA. Charges were brought against him based on wiretap evidence recovered from the target of the investigations cell phone. He has been charged with criminal use of communication facility - felony, possession of a controlled substance - misdemeanor (not Marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia -misdemeanor. He has no prior criminal history. These charges are all based on heresy and the detective's interpretation of “code language" used during the calls. The affidavit of Probable Cause states that it is the detectives “belief” my boyfriend purchased a small amount of drugs based on wiretap and surveillance evidence. It can not be proven that he had control or possession of any drugs (and/or paraphernalia). My boyfriend was contacted via phone by the detective heading the case and informed that he was being charged with drug crimes related to drug trafficking and that he had two days to turn himself in or a warrant would be issued for his arrest. The detective who called him did not go over the actual charges or explain anything to him. I immediately started contacting attorneys and we retained the first one to call me back, since my boyfriend had to turn himself in the following day. This is high profile case and has been in newspapers and on in the news for months and as such, my boyfriend has lost his job, I have been alienated at work, we can no longer afford our home (b/c he is out of work), he can potentially lose parental rights of a child from a previous marriage, we have been shunned and alienated by people in our community and some of our family members. The amount of misery and depression this has caused him is almost unbearable.So far, the majority of other defendants in this case (other than the major players) had felony charges dropped at the preliminary hearing (one had all charges dropped) and will face the misdemeanor charges in Court of Common Pleas. Our attorney however, told my boyfriend that he is waiving the preliminary hearing. He said he could get the felony dropped and Section 17 for the misdemeanors and that this would be done at the arraignment. Our attorney sounds very confident that this will be the outcome, but I have doubts. Also, I don't understand why we couldn't request a preliminary hearing or why at the very least we couldn't waive the preliminary to have the felony dropped and then apply for Section 17 at the arraignment. I informed our attorney that the other defendants had most of their felony changes dropped and his response was that they may have cooperated in order to get charges dropped, but that my boyfriend would not be doing that and therefore will face the charges at the arraignment (however, my boyfriend would have agreed to cooperate to get charges dropped, but he was not offered that option). I was not charged in this case, but my name is XXXXX XXXXX affidavit of probable cause issued to make the arrest (in connection to my boyfriend). This case has ruined both of our lives. I’m at the point now where I can’t sit back and continue to let things just happen to us anymore. I feel like we are being railroaded, so my question is (I apologize for the lengthy explanation and background) – can I inform DA or police that I have witnessed illegal activity conducted by the target of their investigation (over the course of a 2 year period of time) and that I would be willing to testify at trial in exchange for my boyfriend’s charges to be dropped and no charges brought against me. I believe the information I can provide is more valuable then a “decoded” phone call between the main defendant and my boyfriend. So far, we have not been asked to detail any events regarding our association with the target from our attorney or the police and I have not been called to testify in either case. No one has asked us our story yet, at all (which I find extremely odd). If I do this, do I run the risk of being arrested and charged (for admitting to knowing about illegal activity and not informing police)? Again, I’m just trying to find anyway possible out of this, his name cleared, reputation recovered (what’s left of it) and to get his job back if possible.
State/Country relating to question: Pennsylvania
Thanks very much for your question.
I am reading your question and once I have gotten through it will be glad to answer it
Oh boy. This is really a tough situation. If your boyfriend's attorney is local or familiar with local practice, which it sounds like he is, and is familiar with these kinds of cases, which it also sounds like he is, then what his recommendation is is very reasonable.
As for waiving the prelim, often what happens is there is a "pre-prelim" offer, which is less than the offer after the prelim. In other words, don't make the DA work too hard and the case is reduced. Getting a Misdemeanor is not the end of the world, and often this is the best resolution. It sure beats a Felony.
I understand your concern over the content of the call, and it is possible that there is more evidence that would show up at prelim and at trial.
Your boyfriend really has two options, plead, or go to trial. It is pretty common to accept a lowered charge than to go to trial and risk a felony conviction.
As for you going to the DA, I am sorry, but that is NOT the thing to do, ever. Anything you say and/or do will be used against you and possibly against your boyfriend. In 30 years in this business, I have never heard of a successful attempt at what you are suggesting. They may take your information but probably not, and in any case, it won't help, but will involve you in the process and potentially hurt you and/or your boyfriend.
I would go to the lawyer representing your boyfriend and talk with him, with your boyfriend, and make your concerns known there. Also, you can offer him what you have to offer the cops. Talking to the cops is a really really bad idea. The rule is to stay away from law enforcement, generally. Going to them is going to be a bad idea.
Your BF's lawyer is going to want your BF's facts, and possibly yours, but the most important thing to him is the evidence that law enforcement has against him.
Sometimes I won't even take my client's statement until I have a chance to look at the police reports, and then ask my client what is wrong with them rather than taking the statement up front. The important thing is what evidence there is, and how bad that is for you (or your boyfriend in this case) and then, it can be defended against.
There is a slim chance that you could be charged with what they call Misprision of a Felony, which is knowing about a felony but not doing anything about it.
I am sorry but clearing a name and jobs recovered, social standing, and all that, are beyond the scope of a lawyer. I so appreciate your concerns and the problems with this case, and appreciate your being there to help your boyfriend in this difficult time.
I recommend you talk with your boyfriend, talk with his lawyer, and stay away from the police. It is a bump in the road, but hopefully there is a not too bad solution, and recovery definitely can happen.
I hope this answers your concerns.
Please let me know if this has answered your concerns. Thanks very much.
Thank you very much for your advice and feedback, it is much appreciated.
Good luck to you. I am sorry that you have this tough situation, really. I hope it all turns out ok.
Licensed since 1985 representing those accused of crime.
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