Fighting Drug Charges in Massachusetts
According to federal and state law, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or LSD. Under Massachusetts law, the police can charge a defendant who is caught in possession of a controlled substance with felony intent to sell charges if the police believe that the defendant intended to sell the drugs in his or her possession. The state uses a classification system to determine the penalties applicable to certain charges. For example, Class A substances include heroin, which is one of the most widely used drugs in Massachusetts. The penalties for this class are the highest because these drugs are deemed to be the most dangerous. Penalties include a maximum sentence of two years in prison for first-time offenders, and up to two and a half years for a second offense. Class B substances include ecstasy, oxycodone, methamphetamine, and many other drugs. Penalties include a maximum sentence of one year for the first offense and up to two years for the second offense.
Class C drugs typically include painkillers, with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of two years. Additionally, Class D substances include any drugs containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana carries a one-year driver’s license suspension and a two-year penalty if the offense occurred near any school property. Although Massachusetts has reduced penalties for possession of one ounce of marijuana or less to a civil infraction, possessing larger amounts still constitutes a criminal offense.
Fortunately, there is a wide array of defenses available to individuals who are facing drug charges. One of the most common defenses is the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The police must comply with specific rules regarding when and how they can search someone in custody. If the police violate these rules, any evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful search and seizure can potentially be suppressed in court. In many instances, the substances involved in a drug possession case belong to someone else. This is frequently the case in situations that involve a traffic stop, when multiple people are in the same vehicle. Many defendants can truthfully say in their defense that they were unaware that the drugs were located in the vehicle.
The police must also conduct a crime lab analysis to confirm that the substance in question is a controlled substance. Attacking the crime lab report is another commonly used defense in drug crime cases. Other defenses include entrapment, in which the police induce a suspect to commit a crime that he or she would probably not have otherwise committed, and asserting that the drugs were planted in the defendant’s possession.
Seek Legal Representation When Charged with a Crime in Boston
If you are facing a drug crime charge, it is critical to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and the police cannot later tell a jury that you refused to speak with them until your lawyer was present. We offer a flexible fee schedule and accept a wide variety of payments, and we can work with you and your family to ensure that finances are not the reason that you forgo legal representation. At Lowney Law, LLC, our Boston attorneys have represented many people facing charges of drug crimes, domestic violence, assault and battery, OUI, and other offenses. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime or is being investigated for potential charges, call 1-617-364-8000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We also assist residents of Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, West Roxbury, and Roslindale, as well as communities throughout Suffolk County.