Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

225 W. Squantum St., Suite 100, Quincy, MA 02171

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Drug Crimes and How to Fight the Charges

Have you been charged or do you know someone who has been charged with a drug-related crime? Whether you are charged with Possession, Possession with Intent to Distribute, Trafficking, School Zone Drug Violations, or Conspiracy, we can help you. Most drug arrests come from observations of the police, hand to hand sales or search warrants. All of these issues present sophisticated defenses that a good attorney can use to fight the charges against you.

When it comes to drug offenses, the charge and possible punishment you face will primarily depend on two things: the class of drug and the quantity of drug.

In Massachusetts there are five classes of drugs and the penalties depend on the class of drug you are charged with.

What Are The Different Classes of Drugs In Massachusetts

  • Class A drugs include heroin, ketamine, morphine, and GHB.
  • Class B drugs include cocaine, crack, speed, methamphetamine, ecstasy, oxycodone, and methadone.
  • Class C drugs include peyote, clonazepam and mescaline.
  • Class D drugs include marijuana and nitrites (poppers).
  • Class E include small amounts of drugs including codeine and other prescription drugs not covered by Class A-D.

Possession with Intent to Distribute Narcotics

  • If you are charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A or B drug, then you face up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction or up to 10 years in state prison.
  • If you are charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class C drug, then you face up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction or 5 years in state prison.
  • If you are charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class D drug, then you face up to 2 years in the house of correction.
  • If you are charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class E drug, then you face up to 9 months in the house of correction.

Narcotic Trafficking Penalties

The amount of prison time you face depends on the class of drug and the amount of drug at issue.

For example:

  • Any person who traffics in Heroin in 18 grams or more but less than 36 grams of Heroin faces 3 ½ to 30 years in state prison.
  • Any person who traffics in Heroin involving 200 grams or more of Heroin faces 12 to 30 years in state prison.
  • Any person who traffics in 50 pounds or more but less than 100 pounds of marijuana faces 2 ½ to 15 years in state prison or 1 to 2 years in the house of correction.

School Zone Drug Violation

Any person charged with Selling Drugs in a School Zone in violation of M.G.L. c. 94C section 32J faces two-year minimum mandatory sentence and up to 15 years in prison.

Conspiracy

Any person charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Drugs Laws in violation of M.G.L. c. 94C section 40 faces up to the maximum punishment of the drug law they are convicted of violating. For example, if you are charged with Conspiracy in relation to Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A drug such as Heroin then you will face up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction or up to 10 years in state prison if you are convicted because Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A drug is punishable by that amount of time.

Marijuana

The marijuana laws are continuously evolving in Massachusetts. While marijuana is still illegal under federal law, Massachusetts law now allows persons 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public and up to 10 ounces in your own home. It is also legal to grow up to six plants per person with a maximum of twelve pants per household. While possession and use of marijuana for persons 21 and over is legal, selling marijuana is not. You can and will be prosecuted for selling even small amounts of marijuana.

At Sweeney & Associates, we recognize that drug crime charges affect not only the person charged but also the person's family, friends, and their future. Every drug crime case is different and our strategy in each case will depend on the facts of the individual case. We can evaluate your case for you based on the unique circumstances present. In some cases, we can attack the search warrant executed on your home. If the search warrant was defective or illegal, we can move to suppress the search warrant and if we win, then the drugs seized from the search are suppressed and cannot be used against you in your case. This often leads to dismissal of the charges.

In many drug cases, if we cannot challenge the evidence against you, we pursue a Continuance Without A Finding disposition. This type of plea allows you to admit to sufficient facts that the crime was committed and then you are placed on probation. If you successfully complete probation, then your case is dismissed! No conviction will show up on your record. At the end of your probation, we can even ask the court to seal your record so no future employers will see the charges.

If you have an addiction problem there are early interventions in the system designed for you tyo get help and avoid a criminal record. Treatment is valued by the court system and a good attorney can work with you and the courts to reach a good outcome in your individual case.

At Sweeney & Associates, we have obtained great results for our clients accused of drug crimes. Please see our results page for cases where we have successfully attacked the search warrant or the initial stop and had the evidence against our clients suppressed and the cases dismissed. We have won many others outright at trial. When cases are overwhelming we can negotiate for pre-trial probation (stay out of trouble for a few months and the charges get dismissed- no finding of guilt on your record), Continued Without a Finding (CWOF) with probation and ultimately dismissed without a finding of guilty on your criminal record or treatment through drug court. We have successfully negotiated pleas in many cases to get rid of mandatory minimum drug sentences. For instance, many clients are charged with Selling Drugs in a School Zone in violation of M.G.L. c. 94C section 32J. Under the statute, you face a two-year minimum mandatory sentence and up to 15 years in prison! In nearly all of our cases, we have been able to negotiate with the District Attorney's Office to have them dismiss the school zone charge or have won a not guilty on that charge at trial.

At Sweeney & Associates, we represent people accused of every kind of drug crime. We represent people accused of Possession, Possession with Intent to Distribute, Distribution, Trafficking, and Conspiracy to Violate the Drugs Laws all in violation of M.G.L. c. 94C. If you have been charged with a drug crime or believe you are under investigation contact us at Sweeney & Associates for a free consultation. We can be reached at (617) 328-6900 or mail@rsweeneylaw.com.

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