Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

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Fun Facts about Trafficking and Other Drug Crime in Massachusetts

Whether you are charged with Trafficking, Possession with Intent to Distribute, a School Zone Violation, or Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws, we can help you. Most drug arrests come from observations made by the police, confidential informants, hand to hand sales, and search warrants. When it comes to drug crimes, the charge and possible punishment you face will primarily depend on: the class of drug and the quantity of drug.

What Are the Different Classes of Drugs In Massachusetts

In Massachusetts there are five classes of drugs ranging from Class A to Class E. Class A drug violations have the longest term of possible imprisonment attached while on the other end of the spectrum are Class E drug violations which have the shortest possible imprisonment attached.

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.

Narcotic Trafficking Penalties

The possible punishment for trafficking in different types of drugs in violation of M.G.L. c. 94C section 32E depends on the class of drug and the amount of drug at issue. Below is a sample of possible punishments for trafficking.

Cocaine or Methamphetamine Trafficking

Any person who trafficks in Cocaine or Methamphetamine in 18 grams or more but less than 36 grams faces not less than 2 nor more than 15 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in Cocaine or Methamphetamine in 36 grams or more but less than 100 grams faces not less than 3 ½ nor more than 20 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 ½ years imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in Cocaine or Methamphetamine in 100 grams or more but less than 200 grams faces not less than 8 nor more than 20 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in Cocaine or Methamphetamine in 200 grams or more of Cocaine or Methamphetamine faces not less than 12 nor more than 20 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years imprisonment.

Heroin, Morphine, or Opium Trafficking

Any person who trafficks in Heroin, Morphine, or Opium in 18 grams or more but less than 36 grams faces not less than 3 ½ nor more than 30 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 ½ years imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in Heroin, Morphine, or Opium in 36 grams or more but less than 100 grams faces not less than 5 nor more than 30 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in Heroin, Morphine, or Opium in 100 grams or more but less than 200 grams faces not less than 8 nor more than 30 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in Heroin, Morphine, or Opium involving 200 grams or more faces 12 to 30 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years imprisonment.

Fentanyl Trafficking

Any person who traffics in Fentanyl of more than 10 grams shall be punished by not more than 20 years imprisonment.

Marijuana Trafficking

Any person who trafficks in 50 pounds or more but less than 100 pounds of marijuana faces not less than 2 ½ nor more than 15 years in state prison or not less than 1 nor more than 2 ½ years in the house of correction. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in 100 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana faces not less than 2 nor more than 15 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment.

Any person who trafficks in 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana faces not less than 8 nor more than 15 years in state prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years imprisonment.

Possession with Intent to Distribute Penalties

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.

School Zone Violation

Any person charged with Selling Drugs in a School Zone in violation of M.G.L. c. 94C section 32J faces a two-year minimum mandatory sentence and up to 15 years in prison. Many people mistakenly think a school zone only means elementary school, middle school or high school. The statute also covers secondary schools, alternative education programs, and child care centers qualified as preschools.

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 B drug such as Cocaine 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 B drug is punishable by that amount of time.

How to Defend Your Case

In every drug case, the first thing we do is gather all the evidence. This includes reviewing any search warrants and affidavits, drug certificates, police reports, surveillance videos or photographs, and most importantly talking to you about what happened. In a lot of cases, we will be able to file motions to try and get your case dismissed, suppress evidence, or suppress any statements you made to the police. For instance, if you were in custody when the police questioned you, but the police did not Mirandize you, we will file a motion to suppress your statement to prevent the prosecutor from using your statement against you at trial. In other cases, we may file a motion to suppress the search warrant to search your home if the affidavit lacked probable cause to find that drugs would be found in your home. If the motion wins, then any evidence found in your home cannot be used against you at trial.

In drug cases where we cannot challenge the evidence against you, we will try to work out a favorable plea agreement on your behalf. In those cases, we pursue what is called a Continuance Without A Finding disposition. This type of plea allows you to admit that there are enough facts to find you committed the crime but the court holds off on finding you guilty. You will then be placed on probation for a period of six months to two years based on the facts of your case. If you successfully complete probation, then your case will be 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.

At Sweeney & Associates, we have obtained great results for our clients accused of drug crimes. We have successfully negotiated pleas in many cases to get rid of mandatory minimum drug sentences, conspiracy charges, and school zone violations. We have also been able to reduce the charges from Trafficking to Possession with Intent to Distribute and from Possession with Intent to Distribute to straight Possession. The reduction in charges not only ensures a lesser sentence but will be extremely important if you are charged with a future drug crime.

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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