If you find yourself entangled in drug-related charges within the Commonwealth, the situation’s weight can be intimidating and confusing. The consequences of drug crimes can be severe, ranging from substantial fines to lengthy periods of incarceration, not to mention the potential lasting impact on your personal and professional life. In these challenging times, it is crucial to have reliable allies by your side—an accomplished group of Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys with experience in drug crimes who will protect your rights and construct a formidable defense strategy.
At Nate Amendola Defense, our team of legal professionals specializes in many facets of criminal defense; one of the most prominent being the defense of individuals facing drug charges. We comprehend the intricacies of both Massachusetts state and federal drug laws and are well-versed in their potential ramifications. With unwavering dedication to our clients, we strive to provide the most effective defense strategies tailored to your unique circumstances.
Whether you or a loved one is confronted with drug possession, distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking charges, rest assured that we are here to offer our unwavering support, thoughtful guidance, and zealous advocacy. Embrace the opportunity to protect your rights and secure a brighter future with Nate Amendola Defense.
What to Know About the Drug Charges in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, illegal drugs are classified into categories ranging from the most dangerous and addictive to the least dangerous. How you are charged in any drug case will depend on several factors; including the class of drug found in your possession, how much was found, and the purpose for the possession.
The Massachusetts Controlled Substances Act, chapter 94C of the General Laws, categorizes controlled substances into drug schedules. The system of classification is based on their potential for abuse, medical usefulness, and overall risk to public health. The higher-ranked scheduled drugs carry more severe criminal penalties in Massachusetts.
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Common Drug Charges in MA
- Possession of Controlled Substances
- Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Possession with Intent to Distribute Drug Paraphernalia
- Drug Distribution
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Manfacturing
- School Zone Violation
- OUI of Drugs
Drug Classifications- Massachusetts vs Federal
Drug classifications vary depending on whether the case proceeds in state or federal court. In Massachusetts, drugs are classified into classes under the state Controlled Substances Act, and nationally, drugs are classified into schedules under the federal Controlled Substances Act, contained in Title 21 of the United States Code. There are some important differences between the two systems.
Massachusetts Class Structure
In Massachusetts, controlled substances are classified from Class A to Class E. Class A drugs are considered to be the most dangerous and the most likely to cause addiction.
Class A: opiates, opioids, and opium derivatives
Class B: opium and opiates, as well as drugs drawn from cocoa leaves, stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens.
Class C: Narcotics, hallucinogens, depressants
Class E: prescription drugs that contain certain (smaller) amounts of opiods
Federal Drug Schedule
Nationally, controlled substances follow a drug schedule.
Schedule 1: Drugs with no current medical use and a high potential for abuse
Schedule II: Drugs with use potentially leading to severe psychological and physical dependence.
Schedule III: drugs with a moderate to low potential for psychological and physical dependence
- Tylenol with Codeine
- Anabolic Steriods
Schedule IV: drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence
Schedule V: drugs with lower potential for abuse and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics.
- Robitussin AC
An Overview of Marijuana Laws in Massachusetts (2023)
The recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in the state. You can possess up to one ounce of marijuana. However, if you’re found in possession of more than the legal amount, you can be charged with a drug offense. If you drive while impaired from marijuana, you may be charged with an OUI and if you’re found selling marijuana to a minor under the age of 18, you can be charged with a felony. Additionally, it is important to remember that cannabis is still illegal under federal law.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights should be excluded from evidence.
In Massachusetts, the police are not permitted to search you, your vehicle, or your home without “probable cause” or a warrant, except in a few limited circumstances. If the police obtain evidence as a result of an illegal stop or an illegal search, the “exclusionary rule” requires the judge to throw out, or “suppress” that evidence.
Chain of Custody
Massachusetts has specific rules for how evidence must be handled by police from the moment it is obtained until trial to ensure that it was not tampered with. We will ensure that these rules were followed, and if there are any discrepancies our trained team of attorneys will uncover and attack them.
Inability to Certify a Drug
In order for the Commonwealth to prove that the evidence they obtained is a drug, they need to get it certified by a lab. The lab analyst must testify at trial as to the methods and results of their test. Without this scientific proof as to the chemical composition of the suspected drug substance, the drug charge will not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between Constructive and Direct Possession?
Direct possession is actual physical possession, such as having the drugs in your pocket. Constructive possession is when the drugs are under your control but not your physical possession, such as being in your desk drawer or under your seat in a vehicle. Constructive possession is often harder to prove than direct, especially if there are other people sharing the space in which the drugs are found.
Can My Charges be Reduced or Dismissed Through a Plea Bargain or Alternative Sentencing Program?
Yes. With the right team of lawyers, drug charges can be reduced from what an individual is originally charged with during the criminal complaint process. Every case is unique, and the potential for dismissing some charges is also possible. Strong arguments can be made for rehabilitative resolutions to drug cases, and negotiating these alternative sentences is something the team at Nate Amendola Defense can help you with.
Can I be Charged with a Drug Crime if the Drugs Weren’t Mine?
The short answer here is – it depends. The standard to bring charges against an individual for drug crimes is probable cause. This is a very low burden that the police or the clerk magistrate must meet in order to issue charges. If the police believe that the drugs were yours, you can be charged and it will be the responsibility of your legal team to prove that they were not.
Can the Police Search My Vehicle or Property Without a Warrant?
Yes, if police have probable cause to believe your vehicle was involved in a crime or contains evidence of a crime, they are permitted to search the vehicle. The inherent mobility of motor vehicles makes it impractical for police to secure a warrant before searching the vehicle.
Why Rely On Our Team at NAD for Drug-Related Charges
Being arrested and charged with a drug-related offense is a stressful, frightening, and altogether overwhelming experience. Don’t try to navigate the legal system alone. The attorney you choose to represent you against drug charges can have a dramatic difference in how your case unfolds. We provide proactive and personalized representation. When you reach out to our law office, you will have an opportunity to work with a team of Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers who can:
- Conduct a comprehensive and confidential review and evaluation of your case;
- Investigate the drug charges, gathering the evidence you need to support your defense;
- Represent you in all correspondence with police and prosecutors; and
- Develop a truly personalized defense strategy designed to get you the best outcome.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With Our Massachusetts Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
At Nate Amendola Defense, our Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys have the skills and experience to handle the full range of drug crimes cases. We pride ourselves on winning cases and securing favorable outcomes for our clients. You can contact us online or call our office directly at 781-650-3177 to schedule your confidential consultation With a law office in Norwell, we handle drug possession, distribution trafficking, and manufacturing cases throughout Massachusetts.
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