May 24, 2013
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Driver facing threat charges says vehicle wrongly searched
Michael Bontaintes, 20, of Derry is facing two counts of criminal threatening for allegedly accosting the female driver and a male passenger in her car after the crash last June 12. Defense lawyers want a judge to throw out drug evidence collected from Bontaintes' truck during the investigation of the crash, saying police needed a search warrant before going through the vehicle.
Derry police responded to the crash at about 10:30 p.m. But when they arrived at the traffic circle, Bontaintes wasn't there, according to court documents.
An officer found Bontaintes and his truck at a Fairway Drive residence and took him into custody a short time later, according to public defender Emily Sieber.
Sieber said in court papers that the officer then searched the truck - following a department policy to take an inventory of the vehicle - but never obtained a search warrant. Police found a knife, a digital scale, aluminum foil with burnt residue and two orange pills later identified as burenophine, according to court records. Bontaintes is arguing that seizing evidence from his truck without a search warrant violated his constitutional rights.
Prosecutors have objected to Bontaintes argument. A judge has scheduled a hearing on the matter for Feb. 21.
In additional to the criminal threatening charges, Bontaintes was also indicted for possession of a controlled drug, conduct after an accident and driving after revocation.
The criminal threatening charges are class B felonies, punishable by up to 3½ to 7 years in state prison. Bontaintes is scheduled for trial the week of March 11.
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