Drug Crime Lawyers of Melrose Vigorously Defending Individuals Charged With Drug Offenses
The state of Massachusetts has extremely strict guidelines that it imposes on individuals who are convicted of drug crimes. Drug crimes compose the vast majority of criminal offenses and, by far, are some of the most serious in nature due to the fact that many drugs are highly addictive.
Of the drug crimes that are committed in Massachusetts, the common offenses are those of drug possession and drug trafficking. The most common drug possession charges typically involve the use of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs.
One aspect of Massachusetts law that makes penalties for drug crimes so strict is the fact that the state will apply minimum mandatory drug sentencing laws in cases that require a specific sentence to be imposed. These sentences must be handed down by the court even if the judge feels that the penalty is too severe. Sentencing guidelines in Massachusetts greatly depend on the type of drug that is involved as well as the quantity.
Even if you are arrested with drugs that are solely meant for your personal use, depending on the quantity, you could easily be charged with drug trafficking. It is in your best interest to obtain legal representation as soon as possible if you have been charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts.
What Elements Must be Present in Order to Prove a Drug Crime?
As with any drug crime case in Massachusetts, the basic elements that must be present are essentially the same. The Commonwealth must be able to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance. If the drug charge includes possession with the intent to distribute or drug trafficking, the elements are simply modified to add any additional factors.
Knowledge involves an act that is carried out by voluntary means that is not due to a mistake, accident, negligence, or any other honest reason.
This element is typically easier to prove than the element of knowledge. Massachusetts defines intent as “a person’s purpose or objective” and is demonstrated by the actions, words, and all the circumstances that surround the case.
The element of possession can be proven in a drug case in a variety of different ways. For example, drugs can be considered to be in an individual’s possession without physical custody simply because they have knowledge of them. In addition, if the defendant has the ability to exert control over the drugs, whether by direct means or through another person, then they are also considered to be in possession of narcotics.
What are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in Massachusetts?
Drug convictions, no matter what type of drug was involved, have profoundly serious consequences and can result in hefty court fines or lengthy prison sentences. All drug offense crimes are carefully examined by the state prosecutor, with special attention paid to the type of drug and quantity involved.
Drug crimes that involve transactions in which a person is charged with the intent to distribute in a school zone or if drugs were sold to a minor will be held to a higher level of accountability on the part of the defendant. These types of criminal drug offenses are aggressively prosecuted due to their serious nature.
Conversely, if you are a first-time drug offender who has been charged with possession of drug considered to be less serious, you may be eligible to have your case continued without finding (CWOF). If so, it can be dismissed after completing certain steps, and after a specified period of time, you may request that your criminal history be sealed.
If you are convicted of a drug crime in Massachusetts, you run the risk of being incarcerated, being placed on probation, having to pay hefty fines, and submitting to ongoing random drug tests and/or treatment. In addition, you may lose your driver’s license for a period of 1 to 5 years, depending on the circumstances of your particular case.
It is essential that you have a highly skilled drug crimes lawyer representing you in your criminal case. Your future, ability to gain employment, hold a professional license, and your freedom are too important to risk by not having competent and experienced attorneys fighting for you.
Is There a Difference Between Trafficking and Distribution?
Massachusetts law is clear as to what the state deems to be trafficking versus distribution of drugs. The difference between the two charges is the amount and the quantity of the drugs involved in the criminal case.
Both criminal offenses do require that the individual who is being charged be in possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute those drugs to others. However, a trafficking charge is considered to be appropriate when there are significantly high quantities of a controlled substance involved in the criminal offense.
For example, if you are caught with 14 or more grams of heroin, you may be charged with trafficking. If convicted, you could face the possibility of a mandatory prison sentence of 5 to 20 years. However, if you are caught with less than 14 grams but with an amount the state determines is greater than would be reasonable for personal use, you could be charged with possession with the intent to distribute.
How Can a Drug Crimes Lawyer Help Me With My Case?
Massachusetts is known for having some of the toughest penalties for drug crimes in the United States. As such, being convicted of a drug crime can bring serious and long-lasting legal consequences.
An experienced drug crimes lawyer can thoroughly examine your case and determine the strengths and weaknesses that are present. Using this information, they can launch an aggressive defense on your behalf. Oftentimes the police have performed illegal searches and seizures, or there was no probable cause for a search warrant to be issued in the first place.
The criminal defense lawyers of the Martino Law Group, LLC of Melrose, MA, are highly qualified in all aspects of drug crimes and the laws that govern them. Our main objective is to have your charges dismissed or significantly reduced. Contact us today by calling (781) 531-8673 and ask to schedule a free consultation with an experienced member of our legal team.