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At the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, we represent people charged with offenses related to controlled substances. Illegal drugs in Massachusetts are divided into five classes. For example, heroin is a Class A drug, cocaine is a Class B drug, and marijuana is a Class D drug. Different penalties apply to drug charges involving drugs of different classes. The consequences may include imprisonment, significant fines, or both, as well as social harms such as loss of reputation and difficulty post-conviction securing a job or obtaining housing. Boston drug crimes lawyer Stephen Neyman understands the nuances of state and federal laws and can seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed. He can assist people who need a marijuana possession attorney as well as those who are facing charges related to trafficking, conspiracy, paraphernalia, or offenses related to other drugs.Possession
Under MGL c. 94C section 34, the prosecution may only obtain a conviction for possession of a controlled substance if it can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly or intentionally possessed a controlled substance.. If it is an individual’s second offense for possession of a controlled substance in Massachusetts, charges increase significantly. Also, possession of a Class A substance, such as Heroin, is most serve possession charge an individual can face in the commonwealth and are prosecuted much more severely.
An experienced attorney can develop a sound strategy to pursue the most favorable result. One possible defense is to attack the search and seizure of the drugs. Police must respect the constitutional rights of people whose person or vehicle or home they search. If they conduct an illegal search, it may be possible to suppress the evidence seized, thereby undermining the prosecution's case.Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution
You may be charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance if the prosecution believes that you have knowingly or intentionally manufactured, distributed, dispensed, or possessed with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance. Different penalties may be applied, depending on how the drug is classified. Under Massachusetts General Laws Section 32A, you may be punished by imprisonment for up to 10 years or by being placed in a jail or house of correction for up to two and a half years, and you may need to pay a fine of $1,000-$10,000 for a conviction of possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance like cocaine. For more specific information about possession with the intent to distribute and the penalties which an individual faces when charged with the crime, visit our Drug Possession with Intent and Distribution page.
Often, intent to distribute is charged when police suspect you of planning to distribute a drug, based on the quantity of drugs they find, how they are packaged, and whether other factors exist that suggest the drugs are not for personal use. One common defense is to argue that there was no intent to distribute. The Commonwealth is supposed to prove intent to distribute beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a hard standard to meet. An experienced attorney may be able to get the charge reduced to a charge of possession, which has less harsh penalties, or dismissed.Trafficking
Trafficking is a charge for possession with intent to distribute marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other illegal drugs in very large quantities—above a certain threshold quantity. It is a significant charge that is punished harshly with mandatory sentences if a conviction is obtained. For example, if you are caught with 100-2,000 pounds of marijuana, the mandatory sentence is two years. However, the mandatory sentence for trafficking in more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana is 8 years and a $20,000 fine. Because of the seriousness of a drug trafficking charge, it is usually important to mount multiple defenses when applicable, including challenging the constitutionality of a search or seizure or arguing entrapment when undercover police officers have persuaded a suspect to act.Conspiracy
Conspiracy is a serious crime in Massachusetts. To prove a defendant guilty, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant made a plan or joined an agreement to do something with one or more people, the purpose of the plan or agreement was to do something unlawful, and the defendant joined the conspiracy. For example, if three people agreed to get together and sell drugs to other people, this could be charged as a conspiracy.
Defendants may be convicted of conspiracy based solely on circumstantial rather than direct evidence. For example, a defendant could be charged and convicted of conspiracy because he or she was present during a drug transaction. However, the Commonwealth still must meet a high burden of proof, and an experienced drug crimes attorney has a broad range of tools with which to attack circumstantial evidence, such as potentially attacking a co-defendant's credibility if he or she has become a witness for the prosecution, or trying to get hearsay statements suppressed.Paraphernalia
Under Section 32I, Massachusetts residents are not permitted to sell, possess, buy with the intent to sell, or manufacture with the intent to sell drug paraphernalia, knowing it is going to be used to plant, make, test, analyze, ingest, or introduce into the human body an illegal controlled substance.
You can also be charged with possession with intent to sell drug paraphernalia if you reasonably should know under the circumstances that it will be used to make or sell drugs. For violating this law, you can be punished with 1-2 years in a house of correction or jail, or a fine of $500-$5,000, or both. It can be challenging for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knew or reasonably should have known that paraphernalia was going to be used to make or introduce into the body an illegal substance, and this is often a strong basis for a defense.Federal Drug Crimes
Generally, drug crimes charged at the federal level are considered more serious than drug crimes charged in state court. Often, federal charges are brought in drug trafficking or distribution cases involving interstate commerce and a very large quantity of drugs. For example, you may be charged and convicted in federal court for bringing a kilogram of heroin over state lines and distributing it. Federal charges may also be brought when a drug crime occurs on federal property.
If you are convicted of a federal drug crime, you may be sentenced under the severe federal sentencing guidelines. Federal drug crime law imposes harsher penalties than Massachusetts' law does, and there is less leeway for the judge to use his or her discretion to reduce a sentence. If a death or serious injury was involved in the drug crime, you may face 20 years to life in federal prison. Given the severity of federal sentencing guidelines, it is important to consult an attorney who understands the federal rules as well as all possible substantive and procedural defenses.Consult a Boston Lawyer to Fight a Drug Crimes Charge
Boston drug crimes attorney Stephen Neyman can help you mount the strongest possible defense if you have been charged with one of these offenses. He also represents people in Cambridge, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Newton, Somerville, Waltham, Brookline, Lawrence, Worcester, Plymouth, and other communities throughout Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Essex, Worcester, and Plymouth Counties. Contact us at 617-263-6800 or via our online form if you need a Massachusetts Criminal Drug Attorney or assistance with fighting charges of any other offenses related to controlled substances. Mr. Neyman is available 24/7 to provide emergency assistance.
- Possession With Intent and Distribution
- School Zones
- Minors and Drugs
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Counterfeit Substances
- Federal Drug Crimes
- Search and Seizure