Massachusetts- Criminal Drug Offenses

The charge of drug possession is directly related to the accused having possession of any type of controlled substance. This doesn't necessarily mean the drugs were on the individual's person, it can include in a vehicle, in a home or any other location.
Drug possession can include everyone in a vehicle if drugs are found within the vehicle. The same can happen to anyone in a home where drugs are found. Drug paraphernalia possession can also fall under this category in some states.

Drug types are classified under 5 different substance categories in Massachusetts:
Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E.
Categories:
  • Drug possession
  • Drug possession with intent to distribute
  • Possession with intent to distribute ni a school zone
  • Trafficking
  • Manufacturing drugs
  • Misbranding

1. Drug Possession
Possession of a Class A substance (Heroin, Morphine, GHB, Special K) under Mass laws carries with it the following penalties:
  • For a First (1st) offense, a maximum sentence of 2 years in jail.
  • For a Second (2nd) offense, up to 2 1/2 years in jail, or up to 5 years in state prison.
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 (1st) offense, a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail.
  • For a Second (2nd) offense, up to 2 years in jail.
Possession of a Class D substance (marijuana / pot) under Massachusetts drug law has the following penalties:
  • 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.
A conviction for possession of Marijuana or any other drug offense carries a 1 year loss of driver’s license. You can be subject to license loss or suspension for any possession charge, for as little as one marijuana joint or cigarette. It is possible to get a limited use hardship license in many of these cases, call me for details.

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 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, Ritalin, 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.

Maximum penalties for possession of Class D
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • 1 year loss of your driver's license
The most common penalty if you are convicted of a first offense is what they call a CWOF, or a continuance without a finding, 6 months probation, and then a dismissal if there are no other violations.

Second Offense Marijuana Possession Penalties

If you have a prior conviction for Possession of Class D substance, you will likely face additional penalties, which include mandatory drug treatment programs (inpatient or outpatient), fines, or jail time, as well as probation with possible drug testing.

2. Drug Possession with intent to sell

Minimum penalties for selling drugs / distribution / possession w/intent to distribute charges according to Massachusetts drug laws:
· Class A substance: First (1st) offense up to 2 1/2 years; a Second (2nd) offense conviction has a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison.
· Class B substance: First (1st) offense up to 2 1/2 years; a Second (2nd) offense conviction has a mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison.
· Class C substance: First (1st) offense up to 2 1/2 years; a Second (2nd) offense conviction has a mandatory minimum of 2 years in prison.
· Class D substance: First (1st) offense up to 2 1/2 years; a Second (2nd) offense conviction has a mandatory minimum of 2 years in prison.
· If there is a school zone violation involved, there is a mandatory minimum of 2 years on a first offense.
You can be charged with a school zone violation if you are within 1000 feet of a school of any kind, or 100 feet of a park or playground, regardless of if you had any intention of distributing within that zone.


3. Possession with Intent to Distribute within a School Zone

Possession of Drugs with Intent to Distribute within a school zone is a very serious charge in Massachusetts, with a mandatory minimum of 2 years in prison if convicted. School zone violations can be a particularly tricky area of Massachusetts drug laws. You must have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you as soon as possible to protect your rights and preserve all of your defense strategies.
A School zone violation can only be charged along with a possession with intent to distribute charge, so if we can get that charge reduced, the school zone violation goes away.
You can be charged with a school zone violation if you are within 1000 feet of a school of any kind, or 100 feet of a park or playground. You could be in your apartment, and still charged with a school zone violation if your building is within 1000 feet of any school property or charter school. In many urban areas, it is nearly impossible not to be within a school zone.

4. Trafficking

Trafficking of Heroin (Class A Substance)

  • trafficking from 14 grams up to 28 grams : mandatory minimum of 5 years to 20 years in prison
  • trafficking from 28 grams up to 100 grams : mandatory minimum of 7 years to 20 years in prison
  • trafficking from 100 grams up to 200 grams : mandatory minimum of 10 years to 20 years in prison
  • trafficking 200 grams or more : mandatory minimum of 15 years to 20 years in prison

Trafficking of Cocaine (Class B Substance)

  • trafficking from 14 grams up to 28 grams : mandatory minimum of 3 to 15 years in prison
  • trafficking from 28 grams up to 100 grams : mandatory minimum of 5 to 20 years in prison
  • trafficking from 100 grams up to 200 grams : mandatory minimum of 10 to 20 years in prison
  • trafficking 200 grams or more : mandatory minimum of 15 to 20 years in prison

Trafficking of Marijuana (Class D Substance)

  • trafficking from 50 lbs up to 100 lbs : mandatory minimum of 1 year, up to 15 years in prison
  • trafficking from 100 lbs up to 2000 lbs : mandatory minimum of 3 years to 15 years in prison
  • trafficking from 2000 lbs up to 10,000 lbs : mandatory minimum of 5 years to 15 years in prison
  • trafficking 10,000 lbs or more : mandatory minimum of 10 years to 15 years in prison

5. Drug Manufacturing
The exact penalties a person will face from being convicted of drug manufacturing in Boston will depend on the amount of drug that was being manufactured, the schedule or classification of the drug that was being manufactured and the defendant’s criminal record. First time drug offenders usually do not have sentences that are as harsh as repeat offenders, and when a lower schedule of drug is being manufactured, such as marijuana, the penalties will not be as harsh as if the drug is more highly addictive, like methamphetamines. It is best to speak with a drug crime defense attorney to find out what specific penalties you may be facing after being charged with drug manufacturing.


6. Misbranding

If products labeling is false or misleading in any manner. if it is for use of man and is a controlled substance, and is habit forming, it must bear the statement "warning. may be habit forming". labeling must bear adequate directions for use, and adequate warnings against use in those pathological conditions or by children where its use may be dangerous to health or against unsafe dosage or methods or duration or methods or duration of administration or application in such manner and form as a re necessary for the protection of users.
The punishment is less than 3 years of imprisonment and/or a fine up to $5,000

Hot Questions

  1. Where is Massachusetts ranked in criminal drug offenses in the United States?
  2. On average, how many offenses are in Massachusetts a year?
Local Example of Drug Offense
~Drug Trafficking
A Boston man was sentenced to 8 years in prison in federal court for a drug trafficking offense. As part of the court’s Judgment of Conviction, the defendant will also be on supervised release for six additional years. During the first three years of supervised release, he will be barred from substantial portions of Boston’s South End and will be banned from entering the Castle Square Apartments for the entire six-year period.
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, announced that HECTOR BANNISTER, age 20, of Boston, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole to 8 years imprisonment, to be followed by 6 years of supervised release during which time he will restricted from entering substantial portions of Boston’s South End.
Bannister had previously pled guilty to a drug trafficking offense. At the earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that the defendant had been approached by members of the Boston Police Department in the area of the Pine Street Inn, when he fled, and was ultimately apprehended in schoolyard at the Josiah Quincy School as he attempted to place bags of crack cocaine down a storm drain.
At the sentencing hearing attention focused on the defendant’s past criminal record and on the Government’s contention that BANNISTER was a member of the Castle Square Gunners, alleged to be an active gang in Boston’s South End. The defendant did not deny his gang activities based in part on a gang related tattoo he has on his body.


One Scenario Created
At ---High, Police find a operation of drugs plants that are being tended to. John Smith, a 19 year old teenager with a troubled life, is found to be the boy that is running an operation of manufacturing marijuana in a school basement. He claims that he was only going to find out what the smell was. If he is found guilty, what is he going to be charged with?


Posted by: Renee Dupre
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Works Cited
http://www.masscriminaldefense.com/possession.htm

http://www.justice.gov/usao/ma/Press%20Office%20-%20Press%20Release%20Files/Nov2009/BannisterPR.html