Arrested on a Massachusetts Drug Possession Charge? Many Cases Can Be Beaten!
Drug possession is a serious criminal charge. Any conviction can follow you and impact your life. No one wants to try to find a job with a drug charge that shows up on a background check. And then there are fines, treatment programs, or risk of jail time.
But we can often beat these charges, or reduce the most serious consequences and protect your rights and your freedom. I can help you determine your legal options, and suggest ways we can try to get the charges dismissed. Please call me for a consultation, whether or not you think you want to fight the case in court, or are prepared to plead guilty and want an experienced negotiator to work out the best possible deal.
How to Beat a Drug Possession Charge
If you are issued a criminal citation for a drug possession charge, and not arrested, you will need to appear at a Clerk Magistrate’s hearing. I have represented people at many of these hearings and have a great record of success.
In fact, I wrote an entire book on winning at a Clerk Magistrate’s hearing, which I will give you if you end up hiring me to represent you.
If you are arrested or formally charged with a crime, the next first step in defending a drug possession charge is often a motion to suppress the evidence on grounds of unreasonable or illegal search and seizure. The Massachusetts state Constitution has very strong laws against violating your rights and personal freedom, which the police are often guilty of disregarding.
I will also often file a motion to suppress any statements incriminating yourself that you may have made before the police read you your Miranda rights. If the police do not have a search warrant, they have to establish probable cause for the search. They must have what are called articulable facts to assume that you have drugs in your possession or on your person.
This means that during a motion to suppress hearing, the police officer will have to take the stand and explain why they wanted to search you, and for what reason they suspected you of being in possession of a controlled substance.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer such as myself will aggressively challenge any information that the police officer tries to present as facts in a cross-examination. If the police officer doesn’t have a legitimate reason for searching you, then the judge must dismiss the case.
If the judge allows the search to stand as valid, the district attorney still has to prove that the substance involved actually was an illegal controlled substance, and that they drugs belonged to you, the defendant – all beyond a reasonable doubt.
There are also other motions we can file depending on the circumstances of the case. A person accused of drug possession has rights and protections available under the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments to the US Constitution, as well as similar rights under the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The specifics will vary considerably depending on you case. Your best bet for honest answers about your situation is to call me for a free consultation. I’ll look over the police report and give you my advice, in plain English, about the drug possession laws, and what your options and your chances are.
Drug Possession Penalties in MA
Massachusetts Drug Possession Laws list the following maximum penalties:
Possession of a Class A Substance (Heroin, Morphine, GHB, Special K) under Mass laws carries with it the following penalties:
First Offense – Class A Drug
- Maximum sentence of 2 years in jail
- Fines up to $2000
Second offense – Class A Drug
- Maximum up to 2 1/2 years in jail, or up to 5 years in state prison.
- Fines up to $5000
Heroin arrests are a high priority for police these days, due to extensive publicity about increased availability, addiction rates and overdoses. See my heroin possession info page for more details.
Possession of a Class B substance (Cocaine, LSD, Ecstasy, Oxycontin/oxycodone hydrochloride, Amphetamine, & Methamphetamine) under Massachusetts drug laws carries with it the following penalties:
- For a First offense, a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail,
- For a Second offense, up to 2 years in jail.
There have been a number of high-profile incidents involving overdoses of MDMA, a pure form of ecstasy, or “Molly”, so it would not be surprising to see a big push to bust people in possession of or particularly selling ecstasy.
Possession of a Class C substance (Various tranquilizers, narcotics, and hallucinogens including, Vicodin, Valium, ativan, mescaline, psilocybin/hallucinogenic mushrooms) under Massachusetts drug laws carries with it the following penalties:
- For a 1st offense, a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail
- For a 2nd offense, up to 2 years in jail.
Possession of a Class D substance under Massachusetts drug law has the following penalties:
- Maximum up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine
- For a first offense you will typically get a CWOF (continuance without a finding) 6 months probation, and then a dismissal if there are no other violations.
- Possession of Class D / possession of marijuana drug penalties become increasingly serious for second and third offenses, which can include drug treatment programs (inpatient or outpatient), fines, or jail time.
Possession of a Class E substance (Examples: prescription narcotics with codeine, xanax, seroquel, Klonopin/clonazepam/clonidine, wellbutrin) under Massachusetts drug law has the following penalties:
- Maximum up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine
For a first offense you will typically get a CWOF (continuance without a finding) 6 months probation, and then a dismissal if there are no other violations.
While it is true that marijuana was decriminalized for possession of less than 1oz, the police will still arrest people and charge them with distribution in cases where the facts don’t support that charge.
Police also illegally use the smell of marijuana as a pretense for illegal searches, that can result in arrest for other drugs or related charges.
And there are other circumstances that can land you a criminal marijuana possession charge.
Possession of Prescription Drugs
Prescription drug possession charges are becoming much more common in Massachusetts. The penalties vary based on the complicated way that the state classifies the different substances according to the chemical compound. Call me for a free consultation and case evaluation if you are facing a charge of possession of any of the following prescription drugs: Dilaudid, Duragesic, Hycodan, Tussionex, Klonopin, Methadone, MS Contin, Percodan, Percocet, Tylox,, Adderall, Tylenol No. 4, Vicodin ES, Xanax, and more.
There are a number of very strong defenses for possession of an otherwise legal prescription drug. These cases can absolutely be beaten at trial, or dismissed. Call me for details on how I can help defend your case.
Avoiding a Criminal Record With a Drug Possession Charge
There are also sentencing alternatives and deals that we can work out to try to avoid a permanent criminal record.
Massachusetts has drug dependent diversion programs, where if you complete a drug rehabilitation program, and stay out of trouble, the charge can be removed from your record.
That way, when you apply for a job, no evidence of a drug charge will appear on any background check an employer might do.
Free Legal Consultation on Massachusetts Drug Laws
If you are charged with drug possession or selling drugs/intent to distribute, you need an experienced MA criminal attorney to work you and protect your rights, whether you intent to fight the charges at trial, or want to negotiate a deal with the DA. I am in courts all across Massachusetts every day defending clients accused of criminal charges. Contact me immediately. The sooner I get on a case, the more opportunities we’ll have to try to get the case dismissed in the early stages.
By calling, you have nothing to lose. I’ll be happy to talk with you and discuss your case before you decide if you want to hire me. Defending people accused of crimes is what I do for a living. Call to set up a free consultation now.
Massachusetts General Laws
Chapter 94C: Section 34: Unlawful possession of particular controlled substances, including heroin and marijuana
Section 34. “… any person who violates this section shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Any person who violates this section by possessing heroin shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars and imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years. “
Call me about your drug possession, distribution charge or any other criminal case. I can help!