When it comes to sentencing on drug charges, certain guidelines are in place in the state of Massachusetts. Minimum sentencing requirements are based on whether it is a defendant’s first offense or subsequent offense. In a recent case, a judge deviated from the minimum guidelines, resulting in a MA Supreme Court case evaluating whether mandatory minimum sentences are required for MA drug offenses.
The Case of Commonwealth v. Laltaprasad
In this particular case, a defendant was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The law states that the mandatory minimum for this charge is 3.5 years in state prison. The judge, instead, sentenced the defendant to just 2.5 years in a house of correction. The judge elected a less severe sentence based on it being the defendant’s first offense and his medical condition.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences Are Required for MA Drug Offenses
The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that judges may not use their discretion in interpreting minimum sentences. Mandatory minimum sentences are required for MA drug offenses. There are rare instances where a judge may deviate from sentencing guidelines, but he/she must specifically follow MA General Law Chapter 211E when doing so. That was not done in the particular case above.
Fighting Drug Charges in the State of MA
Hoping for a more lenient sentence in a MA drug charge is unlikely given the information above. Having proper legal representation is even more important if you are facing drug charges. Every drug case is different, therefore the approach to fighting your particular drug charge will be unique. It is important that you know your rights and understand all of your options. Contact the attorneys at the Martino Law Group at (781) 531-8673 for a free and private consultation on your MA drug case.