drug crime attorney massachussettsFrom simple possession to full blown trafficking, I have successfully defended hundreds of people, in every way, against drug charges, including:

  • possession
  • possession with intent to distribute
  • school zone cases
  • trafficking of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, PCP, prescription medication and every other illegal substance

As a top defense attorney near Springfield, the first thing I look at in these cases is the method by which law enforcement got into your house, your car, your pockets or wherever else they seized what they say are illegal drugs.

If the police illegally entered any of these places to seize contraband to pin on you, then your attorney must challenge that entry, search and seizure on constitutional grounds. 

  • That is most often done by a motion to suppress (a set of documents that challenges the legality of the search and seizure of the contraband).
  • There is usually a hearing in court to hear how exactly the police got into the above listed areas, including my very thorough cross examination of the officers that were involved.
  • If entry was gained by way of the issuance of a warrant, my team of researchers (actually licensed lawyers), will pick apart all affidavits and issued warrants to find the weaknesses and/or falsehoods used to persuade someone to issue the warrant.

THE ELEMENTS OF “POSSESSION”

The next thing I evaluate, if there is no valid motion to suppress or if a judge has denied our motion to suppress, is whether or not the government can prove their case against you.

In order to do so, they have to prove certain “elements” of your case.

One “element” that almost every drug charge shares is “possession,” that is, did you “possess” some amount of some illegal drug? Besides simple possession charges, possession with intent to distribute drugs and trafficking also share the element of “possession.”

In criminal law, there are two types of “possession.”

  • Actual possession: As you read this, you “actually” possess the shirt on your back; it’s on you, you know it’s there. However, at the same time you “constructively ” possess the shirts in your drawer…
  • Constructive possession:  To prove “constructive possession,” the Commonwealth must prove that you:
    • knew where the drugs were
    • intended to exert “dominion and control” over them
    • had the ability to exert “dominion and control” over them

POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

This is what police charge you with when you are not caught actually selling drugs but are found to have all of the indicators of someone who is intending to sell drugs.

The prosecutor has to prove to a jury what was in your mind at the time you were arrested or a warrant was executed at your home. They have to prove that you possessed some illegal drug or prescription medication that you should not possess.

In addition to the possession element, the government must prove that you possessed the drugs with the intent to distribute them.

Distribution does not necessarily have to be a sale for money. Distribution can happen when you pass a joint to someone. However, most cases of possession with intent to distribute deal with potential sales.

The government will introduce certain pieces of evidence and then argue that it shows you were intending to sell drugs. These are the types of pieces of evidence that law enforcement look for to prove possession with intent to distribute:

  • QUANTITY OF THE DRUG: Is the amount of cocaine they found on you consistent with personal use or distribution?
  • THE MANNER OF PACKAGING OF THE DRUG: Is the weed they found on you packaged in a big ole bag or is there a bunch of little bags stuffed with it?
  • PACKAGING MATERIALS?
  • HOW MUCH MONEY WAS ON YOU AND WHAT DENOMINATIONS WERE THE BILLS?
  • Were there SCALES and LEDGERS found by police in your home or car?

The government has interesting ways of making all of these things appear to point in only one direction. However, through my vicious cross examination and with the help of expert witnesses, even the most hopeless looking case can turn hopeful.

DRUG TRAFFICKING

Essentially, a drug trafficking  case is a possession with intent to distribute or distribution case on steroids. In addition to the elements discussed above, the government has an additional burden of proving the amount of the drugs meets a minimum quantity by weight.

Trafficking of Cocaine

If you are charged with trafficking cocaine (a class B substance), you are facing:

  • 2-15 years incarceration for 18-36 grams (2 year minimum mandatory)
  • 3 and 1/2-20 years incarceration for 36-100 grams (3 and 1/2 year minimum mandatory)
  • 8-20 years incarceration for 100-200 grams (8 year minimum mandatory)
  • 12-20 years incarceration for 200+ grams (12 year minimum mandatory)

Trafficking of Heroin

If you are charged with trafficking heroin (a class A substance), you are facing:

  • 3 and 1/2-20 years incarceration for 18-36 grams (3 and 1/2 minimum mandatory)
  • 5-20 years incarceration for 36-100 grams (5 year minimum mandatory)
  • 8-20 years incarceration for 100-200 grams (8 year minimum mandatory)
  • 12-20 years incarceration for 200+ grams (12 year minimum mandatory)

Trafficking of Marijuana

If you are charged with trafficking marijuana (a class D substance), you are facing:

  • 1-15 years incarceration for 50-100 lbs (1 year minimum mandatory)
  • 3-15 years incarceration for 100-2,000 lbs (2 year minimum mandatory)
  • 5-15 years incarceration for 2,000-10,000 lbs (3 and 1/2 year minimum mandatory)
  • 8-15 years incarceration for 10,000+ lbs ( 8year minimum mandatory)

SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT APPLIES SCHOOL ZONE CHANGE RETROACTIVELY: In a very big victory for the good guys, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the new 300 foot change in the “school zone” law shall apply retroactively for those defendants who were charged under the 1000 foot rule but have not resolved their cases by trial or plea until after the 300 foot rule was put into place. Possession with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school zone is now possession with intent to distribute within 300 feet of a school zone.