Possession of Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia

Some of the most common and serious criminal offenses in Massachusetts involved the use, possession, and distribution of drugs. Drug crime charges often involve unlawful possession, distribution or trafficking of substances like cocaine, crack-cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, marijuana, salvia, opium, LSD, ketamine, valium, Percocet, Oxycontin and Vicodin. The crime of drug possession is governed by Massachusetts G. L. Chapter 94C Section 34. Possession is defined as the direct physical control or custody of a controlled substance. This law provides that no person shall knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance unless the substance was directly obtained from a valid prescription or order from a medical practitioner. A controlled substance is any drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, or use is regulated by the government. In order to obtain a conviction for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Massachusetts, the prosecution must be able to prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) The substance in question is a controlled substance; (2) The defendant possessed some perceptible amount of that substance; and (3) The defendant did so knowingly or intentionally. Having an experienced criminal lawyer on your side is the best defense. It is the only way to help you achieve the best possible results when facing drug offenses such as Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Any person who possess more than 1 ounce of marijuana or another Class D controlled substance is punishable by:
  • Imprisonment in a house of correction for no more than 6 months, or
  • A fine of $500, or
  • By both fine and imprisonment.
A second or subsequent offense for possession of heroin is punishable by:
  • No more than 2 years in a house of correction, or
  • A fine not to exceed $2,000, or
  • By both fine and imprisonment.
Although Massachusetts has recently decriminalized marijuana possession in instances of small amounts (less than 1 ounce), larger amounts and possession with intent to distribute will still carry serious criminal penalties.

If the offender possessed the controlled substance cocaine or another Class B controlled substance, a conviction shall result in the following punishments for a first offense:
  • Not more than 1 year of imprisonment, or
  • A fine not to exceed $1,000, or
  • Both fine and imprisonment.
A second or subsequent offense for possession of heroin is punishable by:
  • No more than 2.5 years in a house of correction, or
  • A fine not to exceed $2,000, or
  • Both fine and imprisonment, and
  • License suspension for 1 year.
If the offender possessed the controlled substance heroin or another Class A controlled substance, a conviction shall result in the following punishments for a first offense:
  • Imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 2 years, or
  • A fine not to exceed $2,000.
A second or subsequent offense for possession of heroin is punishable by:
  • Imprisonment in the state prison for at least 2.5 years, but no more than 5 years, or
  • A fine of not more than $5,000 and imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 2.5 years.
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
In Massachusetts, not only is it a crime to possess drugs, the possession of drug paraphernalia is also a crime under G. L. c. 94C, s. 32I. This law dictates that any person who possesses, sells or purchases drug paraphernalia knowingly will be held in violation. Drug paraphernalia is defined under Section 1 of G.L. 91C to include all equipment, products, devices and materials of any kind that may be used to plan, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance. The potential punishment for violation of this law is as follows:
  • 1-2 years in a jail or house of correction, or
  • A fine of $500 - $5,000, or
  • Both such fine and imprisonment.
If, however, a person sells drug paraphernalia to anyone under the age of 18, they are punishable by the following:
  • 3-5 years in a state prison, or
  • A fine of $1,000 - $5,000, or
  • Both such fine and imprisonment.
DEFENSES
Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is a very experienced Massachusetts drug crimes lawyer who will utilize all available defense strategy of such as challenging constructive possession. In other words, an experienced drug crime defense lawyer will argue that simply because the drugs were found in a place near you or on your property does not necessarily mean that they belong to you or that you had knowledge or their existence or the ability to exercise dominion and control over the substances. Another main strategy is to challenge the legality of the initial search and seizure carried out by police authorities. Often times police officers unknowingly or intentionally violate an individual’s constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizure. In the event that this happens, a talented attorney with experience handling drug crimes will be able to file a motion to suppress evidence and pursue that motion in an aggressive manner to expose lies and inconsistencies in police testimony and make an effective and persuasive argument to the court to exclude all illegal drugs from evidence.  Whether the search was conducted on your vehicle, on your person, on any of your property, or anywhere that you have an expectation of privacy in, the police have rules and regulations that must be strictly adhered to so as not to overstep the reach of the law and infringe on a persons individual liberty.  Attorney Patrick Murphy is a skilled Massachusetts drug crimes defense lawyer who has exposed illegal police procedures to protect his clients’ constitutional rights.

Boston, Massachusetts Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
In order to be found guilty of drug possession, the prosecution must prove not only that you were in actual or constructive possession of the drugs, but also that you knew the drugs were in your possession. If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, meth, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, or prescription drugs, you should speak with a Massachusetts drug crimes defense attorney as soon as possible. If you need a deeply experienced, practical and resourceful drug possession lawyer in Boston or anywhere in Massachusetts, please contact The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy right away by calling 617-367-0450 or submitting the contact form on our website. With many years of active experience, Attorney Murphy is versed in all strategies for dealing effectively with drug possession charges and negotiating manageable outcomes, if necessary.
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