Drug Crimes Involving Minors
The United States is battling a drug crisis. While prosecutors take a hardline approach to all drug charges, few are more aggressively prosecuted than those drug crimes involving minors. If you face a Boston drug crime involving a minor, you face enhanced punishments over and above the already strict penalties for drug offenses. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is a Boston criminal defense lawyer with more than 25 years of hands-on experience representing clients facing all types of drug distribution charges.The Government Wants to Protect Children
Not only is the drug trade illegal, but it is also dangerous. In an effort to keep children out of the industry, lawmakers created very harsh penalties for anyone who uses minors to facilitate a drug deal. There are two types of drug crimes involving minors, and both involve mandatory minimum sentences if you are convicted.Using Minors to Sell Drugs
Selling drugs is a risky business, especially on the retail level. In most Boston drug-selling operations, the people at the top are not the ones who are on the street corner selling the drugs. Instead, they rely on others to make the sales, giving them a small piece of the profit. Under state law, if the person you used to sell drugs was a minor, you can be charged with inducing or abetting a minor to distribute or sell controlled substances.
Using a minor to sell drugs is a separate crime from the actual sale of the drugs. Thus, if you are arrested for inducing or abetting a minor to distribute or sell controlled substances, you will face charges related to the underlying drug sale, as well as for using a minor to facilitate a drug transaction. While the punishment for selling drugs varies depending on the amount and type of the drug, the crime of inducing or abetting a minor to distribute or sell controlled substances carries a mandatory sentence of five years in state prison and a maximum of 15 years, which can run consecutive to any other sentence you receive.Selling Drugs to Minors
The enhanced penalties for drug crimes involving minors are not limited to situations in which someone uses minors to sell drugs. Massachusetts law also provides for additional penalties for those who sell drugs to minors. The punishment associated with selling drugs to a minor depends on the type of drug sold.
Class A Substances (heroin, fentanyl, ketamine) – A mandatory minimum sentence of five years in state prison with a maximum of 15 years in state prison and a fine between $1,000 and $25,000.
Cocaine or Crack – Although cocaine and crack are Class B substances, lawmakers separate these drugs from other Class B substances when it comes to selling to minors. Selling cocaine or crack to a minor carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in state prison with a maximum of 15 years in state prison and a fine between $1,000 and $25,000.
Other Class B Substances (ecstasy, opium) – A mandatory minimum sentence of three years in state prison with a maximum of 15 years in state prison and a fine between $1,000 and $25,000.
Class C Substances (diazepam, mescaline, magic mushrooms) – A mandatory minimum sentence of 2.5 years in state prison with a maximum of 15 in state prison, or a term of at least two years in a house of correction, and a fine between $1,000 and $25,000.
Notably, for you to be convicted of selling drugs to a minor, the prosecution must prove that you knew or had some reason to believe that they were under 18.Contact an Experienced Boston Drug Crimes Lawyer
Drug crimes involving minors involve mandatory minimum sentences that can send you away for a long time. If you are facing allegations that you sold drugs to a minor or used a minor to sell drugs, reach out to the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy for immediate assistance. Attorney Murphy has extensive experience developing strong defenses in these cases, including litigating motions to suppress and challenging the facts that may result in an aggravated sentence. With his help, you can rest assured that your case—and your future—are in good hands. To learn more, and to schedule a free, confidential consultation, call Attorney Murphy at (617) 367-0450 today.