Drug Trafficking & Distribution Laws
In the state of Massachusetts, the possession or trafficking of drugs or narcotics is defined as the possession of the drugs with an intention to distribute them, or the actual distribution of drugs or narcotics. You would be charged either with possession or trafficking, depending on how much of those illegal drugs you possessed and whether you had any drug distribution paraphernalia in your possession.
In a trial, the prosecutor needs to prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt. All elements of the drug possession and the amount of drugs that were charged in the indictment must be proven. Drug trafficking is the most serious of all drug crimes in Massachusetts and they have a mandatory minimum prison sentence that a convicted person must serve before they can get a parole.
The three most frequent types of drug possession and trafficking in this state are:
About Drug Dealing Laws in Massachusetts
Drug possession is a serious crime in Massachusetts and it is dealt with harshly. Trafficking is an even greater crime, with harsher punishments. If a person is convicted for the illegal possession of a prescription drug, they can be sentenced to jail for up to one year and be fined $1,000.
Someone who is found in possession of heroin will get two years in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Possession of the last of these three prohibited drugs, marijuana, will land a convicted person with up to six months in jail and a fine up to $500.
Sentencing for Trafficking in Massachusetts
Drug Trafficking in Massachusetts is a Class D Felony. If you are convicted of this criminal offense, you could receive a serious sentencing:
- 2.5 to 15 years in prison if you are found guilty of trafficking 50 pounds or more of the drug. You may also face another 1 to 2.5 years in the county jail; a one year sentence is mandatory.
- 3 to 15 years in state prison is the sentence for trafficking 100 pounds but less than 2000 pounds. There is a minimum three year sentence for an offense of this magnitude.
- 5 to 15 years in state prison is the sentence for trafficking 2000 to 9999 pounds. The minimum sentence required is five years.
Drug Trafficking for cocaine in Massachusetts is more serious than a conviction for trafficking marijuana. It is a Class B Felony. For a conviction, the following sentences apply:
- For up to 14 grams but less than 28 grams of cocaine, you get 5 to 20 years in prison; there is a five year minimum sentence.
- For up to 28 grams but less than 100 grams, there is a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison; the minimum sentence is 10 years.
- For up to 100 grams but less than 200 grams, 10 to 20 years in prison; 10 years minimum sentence.
Anyone convicted for trafficking in heroin in Massachusetts will be charged with a Class A Felony.
- 14 grams but less than 28 grams of heroin gets you up to 20 years, with five mandatory years in prison.
- 28 grams but less than 100 grams will bring 20 years in prison and a seven year minimum sentence.
- 100 grams but less than 200 grams is a 20 year prison sentence with 10 year minimum sentence.
Defense for Drug Trafficking Charges
The best defenses are created by experienced Drug Trafficking Criminal Defense Attorneys. They use multiple defenses to protect their clients and create defenses customized for each case and client.
In many drug trafficking cases, the person charged with this crime is merely a mule or agent, and that this type of participant was not the target of legislators who imposed mandatory sentences for controlled substances. When the lawyer is familiar with the court systems, judges, prosecutors and other factors, they may use a mule defense to benefit their client.
New laws and rulings also affect the defense strategy used by Criminal Defense Attorneys. They understand any ambiguity in mandatory minimum sentencing. They can argue a defense that there is no tie to a larger organization, no violence or weaponry was used and cite other factors to help strengthen your defense case. They will call in reliable resources and expert witnesses to support your defense case.
An experienced drug trafficking lawyer will use many strategies to circumvent or avoid minimum mandatory prison sentences. Some claims in this area include challenging the admissibility of any State evidence. Medical records are usually protected, but if used for prosecution of drug trafficking, there could be a potential error there to exploit in your defense. Lawyers always are watching for any violation of constitutional rights.
Other challenges are based on search and seizure tactics. If there were violations here, that evidence could be suppressed. Entrapment is another possible defense argument if a suspect was persuaded to commit a crime by undercover agents. The lawyer will also present effective cross examinations of government witnesses, to try to show motivations and lack of credibility.