Being arrested or charged with a drug-related offense in Massachusetts brings about the potential for serious penalties. Whether it is a charge for simple possession, being present where heroin is kept, or more serious charges, including possession with intent to distribute, distribution or trafficking, a conviction for a drug-related offense can lead to incarceration and/or probation, and may result in the imposition of significant fines and fees. A criminal conviction for a drug offense could also result in conditions to remain drug and alcohol-free while being subjected to random drug tests. With the serious opioid epidemic harming the residents of Massachusetts, District Attorney’s Offices throughout the state have demonstrated a heightened interest in drug cases, especially those cases involving heroin and fentanyl. Attorney Riccio, a Quincy criminal defense lawyer, will fight for those individuals who have been charged with a drug-related offense in Massachusetts.
Initially, accepting a plea deal from the Government may seem to make the most sense, especially if the police located drugs on or near you. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney understands that there are many potential defenses to drug-related charges. The Government has the burden of proving the suspected drug located is a controlled substance as defined by statute, which generally requires the production of a drug certificate and the testimony of an expert witness (e.g., a chemist). Depending on the circumstances surrounding the discovery of drugs or other evidence used to support charges related to the sale of drugs, a criminal defense attorney will know what motions are available to file and potentially limit the evidence used against you. If drugs were located after the police conducted an illegal motor vehicle stop or unconstitutional search of your person, vehicle or home, an experienced criminal defense attorney will file a motion to suppress on your behalf and argue for the drugs to be excluded, or suppressed, from evidence.
Not all drug charges carry the same potential for penalties in Massachusetts. Charges of simple possession tend to result in lesser penalties than charges related to the distribution or sales of narcotics. Additionally, Class A drugs (e.g., heroin) carry stricter penalties than charges pertaining to lower classes of drugs (e.g., cocaine, Vicodin, marijuana). Charges related to the sale of drugs within a school zone (i.e., within 300 feet of a “school”) also carry heightened penalties, including a minimum mandatory jail sentence of two (2) years. A criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction in the school zone charges to eliminate the two-year minimum mandatory jail sentence.
A conviction for drug charges will follow you for the rest of your life. It may negatively impact your ability to obtain future employment or potentially exclude you from admission to a college or university. If you have been charged with or arrested for a drug-related offense in Massachusetts, contact The Law Offices of Anthony R. Riccio for a free case evaluation. An experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, Attorney Riccio will review the allegations against you and provide an analysis of your case and the charges.