Drug And Narcotics Crimes

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Hinman Law Blog

Drug and Narcotics Crimes

DRUG AND NARCOTICS CRIMES

As a former narcotics prosecutor in Boston, Criminal Attorney Hinman has a specialized knowledge of the law governing drug offenses. Drug crimes are taken very seriously in Massachusetts, and the law imposes minimum mandatory jail sentences for many narcotics offenses. Having a former drug prosecutor evaluating your case and representing your legal rights gives you a significant advantage in achieving the best possible outcome.

Common Defenses in Drug Cases

When the police seize physical evidence, one of the first things that should be evaluated by a criminal lawyer is whether or not the seizure of evidence was constitutional. These issues will be argued during a Motion to Suppress Evidence Hearing. There are various ways that law enforcement in Massachusetts makes drug arrests – during motor vehicle stops, pursuant to search warrants, wiretaps, or through an undercover police investigation. If drug evidence was seized without a warrant, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove that the search was legal. Attorney Hinman has handled hundreds of drug cases, and will hold the prosecution to this burden and file the appropriate motions with the court to protect your constitutional rights.

Another important issue in drug cases that needs to be immediately addressed is chain of custody, handling, and testing of the alleged controlled substance. This is especially important in light of the Massachusetts drug lab scandal that recently occurred, where thousands of seized drug samples were not properly tested. Attorney Hinman has the necessary training to determine whether or not the police department and the drug lab followed the correct protocol.

TYPES OF DRUG OFFENSES IN MASSACHUSETTS

Drug Possession Charges

It is illegal in Massachusetts to possess certain controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, Ecstasy, prescription pills and certain quantities of marijuana. The potential penalty depends on the type of drug. If it is your first offense, you may be able to avoid a criminal entry on your record, with the help of a skilled criminal lawyer, by completing a drug program or doing community service. However, certain types of drugs, like heroin and cocaine, are taken more seriously and carry strict penalties, as well as license suspension, fines, and drug treatment programs.

Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance

A charge of Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs means that you are alleged to have been in possession of drugs, and that, based on certain indicators, the police believe that you intended to sell or distribute these drugs. These indicators may include the quantity of the drug, or other indicia of sale such as individual packaging, large quantities of cash, multiple cell phones, or scales. The statute governing Possession with Intent to Distribute imposes minimum mandatory jail or prison sentences, the length of which depends on the type of drug. The penalties are even more severe if the crime occurs within 1000 feet of a school or park, or if you are being charged as a repeat offender. As soon as she receives your case, Attorney Hinman will immediately determine whether or not there are constitutional issues with the seizure of the evidence, or deficiencies in the chain of custody. Often, there are other explanations for these so-called indicators of intent to distribute. For example, there are many reasons that a person might be carrying a large quantity of cash, or have multiple cell phones. Attorney Hinman can argue on your behalf to have the charges reduced to simple possession, which does not carry the same minimum mandatory penalties.

Distribution of a Controlled Substance

Selling drugs is not taken lightly in Massachusetts. If police believe that they have witnessed a drug transaction, even if they did not observe the actual exchange of drugs, you can be arrested for Distribution of a Controlled Substance. Similar to Possession with Intent to Distribute, this crime carries minimum mandatory periods of jail or prison time, depending on the type of drug. These penalties are enhanced if the offense occurs near a school or park, or if you are charged as a subsequent offender. If officers do not recover drugs from you, but rather from another individual to whom you are alleged to have sold drugs, the case against you may be very circumstantial. Statements made against you by other individuals may not be admissible against you at trial. It is imperative that you retain a criminal lawyer with a specialized knowledge of drug cases to protect your legal rights and interests.

Trafficking Offenses

Attorney Hinman investigated and prosecuted many trafficking offenses as a member of the Narcotics Unit in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. If you are charged with Trafficking, it means that you are alleged to have been in possession of a certain quantity of drugs that meets the statutory requirement for trafficking weight. For cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, and Ecstasy, this amount is 14 grams. The penalties for Trafficking are extremely severe, and are dependent on the weight of the drugs. You will be facing indictment in Superior Court by a Grand Jury, and minimum mandatory state prison time. Attorney Hinman has an intimate understanding of the complexities of a Trafficking case, and how they are most effectively contested in Massachusetts Courts.

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Wellesley, Dedham, Needham, Framingham, Billerica, Wayland, Norwood, Westwood, Boston, or anywhere in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Middlesex Counties, please contact Attorney Hinman for a free consultation at 617-283-4480, or by using the form to the left.