Defenses That May Be Used in Barnstable Drug Trafficking Cases
Drug trafficking is criminalized at both the national and state level. If convicted of drug trafficking in Massachusetts, you could face years in prison and mandatory minimum sentencing depending on the amount and class of illegal drugs under your control. Federal charges carry significant sentences, fines, and even the seizure of your assets.
There may be many different defenses that could be effective in your case, including:
- Violation of your rights. State and federal law enforcement agents must respect your constitutional rights when detaining you, searching your property, and collecting evidence. A tenacious attorney will scrutinize any mistakes made throughout the police investigation, ensuring that no evidence is admitted if taken while your rights were violated. For example, if you were the victim of entrapment, the arresting officer did not have probable cause to arrest you, or you were questioned without an attorney present, we may make a motion to dismiss the case.
- Insufficient evidence. The prosecution must provide enough evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you transported, manufactured, distributed, or dispensed the illegal substances or a counterfeit substance to prevail in a trafficking case. Each successful motion to suppress illegally-obtained evidence weakens the prosecution’s case and makes dismissal of the charges more likely.
- Lack of knowledge or intent. To convict you of trafficking, the prosecution must show that you knew about the presence of the substances, had the ability to access them, and intended them for distribution instead of personal use. Some defendants may have committed a drug-related offense, but trafficking is not the appropriate charge. For example, you may have been carrying the drugs because someone else put them in your luggage, mistakenly believed the substance was legal, or had access to a large number of illegal drugs without realizing it.
What If I’m Not Able to Avoid Conviction?
A successful defense may allow you to avoid conviction, but its primary purpose is to mitigate the damage to your life. Even if a conviction is unavoidable, defendants are immeasurably better off with the help of a knowledgeable attorney who can:
- Advise you on recent changes in the law. Drug laws constantly change, particularly regarding marijuana and new drugs introduced into the black market. While charges and penalties for marijuana possession decline, the Massachusetts Legislature has cracked down on the trafficking of prescription medications and opioids. For example, the Drug Trafficking statute was recently amended to include Fentanyl as a Class A substance, carrying the same penalties as trafficking cocaine or heroin.
- Argue for lesser charges. Prosecutors may attempt to add on charges based on circumstantial evidence, turning a simple case into an aggravated offense. A good defense lawyer knows how to challenge the prosecutor’s office to determine why your actions resulted in a trafficking charge instead of possession. If the prosecution’s basis for trafficking isn’t solid, we have a better chance of arguing for a lesser charge such as Intent to Distribute or even simple Drug Possession.
- Preserve your right to parole. Under certain circumstances, people convicted of drug trafficking may be eligible for parole after serving one-half of the maximum term of their sentence. We can argue against any factors that may be considered aggravating circumstances that would bar your eligibility for parole, potentially cutting several years off of your jail term.
Speak With an Experienced Barnstable County Criminal Defense Attorney
Nate Amendola Defense exclusively handles criminal cases, and we offer a no-cost case review so that defendants know where they stand. If you or someone you know is facing drug charges, contact us online or call our office directly at 781-661-5450 to schedule your free consultation.