Drug Offense Defense Lawyer

Drug offenses in Massachussettes involve the possession and/or distribution of unlawful possession of illegal substances like heroin or cocaine, or the possession and/or distribution of controlled substances that require a valid prescription to possess, such as Adderall or gabapentin. 

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What are drug offenses in MA?

In Massachusetts, the laws categorized all unlawful substances in Classes A-E, with Class A drugs receiving the harshest penalties. The relevant statutory sections (G.L. c. 94C, §§ 32 [Class A], 32A [Class B], 32B [Class C], 32C [Class D], and 32D [Class E]).

Section 34 of chapter 94C of Massachusetts General Laws provides as follows: “No person knowingly or intentionally shall possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly [from], or pursuant to a valid prescription or order from, a licensed practitioner [who was] acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized [by law].”

 

Common Massachusetts Drug Offenses

In order to convict someone of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, the Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the substance in question is a controlled substance;
  2. That the defendant possessed some perceptible amount of that substance; and
  3. That the defendant did so knowingly or intentionally.

In order to convict someone of possession with intent to distribute or distribution, the Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the substance in question is a Class [A, B, C, D, or E] controlled substance;
  2. That the defendant (distributed some perceptible amount of that substance to another person or persons) (possessed some perceptible amount of that substance with the intent to distribute it to another person or persons); and
  3. That the defendant did so knowingly or intentionally.

Drug trafficking is the possession with the intent to distribute or the distribution involving high quantities of drugs. Trafficking is the most serious of all drug crimes. Drug trafficking offenses are prosecuted in the Superior Court or federal court and if convicted, there are mandatory minimum prison sentences that must be served before parole is possible.

 

Bail/Release Conditions for those Facing Drug Offenses in MA

If you have been arrested for a drug trafficking offense in MA, the Commonwealth may request bail or may move for a 58A or “dangerousness” hearing to hold you without bail.

Given the current Opioid Epidemic, prosecutors are treating drug distribution and trafficking offenses, particularly those involving heroin and fentanyl, extremely serious. You will likely be subject to a 58A hearing or excessive bail even if you have no prior drug convictions. Ashley knows which factors are important to prove at these MA drug offense hearings in order for clients to keep their liberty while preparing for trial.

Case Strategy for Drug Distribution and Trafficking Offenses in MA

While drug crimes are prosecuted aggressively, there are often many steps to the underlying police investigation which can be attacked in defense. For example, were drugs seized with or with a warrant? If not, was the stop and search of the defendant constitutional? Even if there was a warrant, was it supported by probable cause? With respect to testing, were mistakes made at the lab, or is the substance different than what the state charged? The list goes on.

Another issue that often arises with drug offenses in MA is whether the Commonwealth will be able to prove the illegal drugs belonged to you. Where exactly were the drugs found? Did you own the home or car? Did you share the home or apartment with another person? Etc.

Retaining experienced counsel to represent you early in your case is crucial. Call McCormack Law today to discuss whether there is a basis for a motion to dismiss or suppress in your drug offense and to start preparing your defense.

Sentencing for Massachusetts Drug Offenses

The sentencing guidelines for drug offenses in MA can be found here.

What To Do If You Have Been Charged With A Drug Offense

If you have been charged with a drug offense in MA, call McCormack Law today to begin preparing your defense.

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