According to a recent Massachusetts Crime Statistics report, there were over 5,000 arrests for drug or narcotic violations statewide in 2020. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, drug crimes include drug possession, drug trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug manufacturing, and possession with intent to distribute. A defendant convicted of any of these crimes could face serious punishment, including a lengthy prison sentence, hefty fines, a criminal record, and other life-changing consequences.
If you're under investigation for a drug crime, it is imperative that you retain a highly skilled and aggressive Massachusetts criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to build a strong defense strategy for your case. Here at my firm, the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella, I am committed to offering experienced legal guidance and vigorous representation to clients facing drug charges.
As your legal counsel, I will investigate every last detail of your case and outline an effective defense strategy in pursuit of a favorable outcome for your case. I will fight aggressively to defend your rights and represent you at every phase of the legal process. I am proud to serve clients in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the surrounding areas throughout Western and Central Massachusetts, including Amherst, Northampton, Palmer, and Westfield.
The possession, manufacture, sale, and delivery of controlled substances or drugs is prohibited under Massachusetts state and federal laws. However, a drug crime will become a federal drug crime if:
The defendant was apprehended while committing the drug crime on federal property.
The offender was arrested by an undercover federal officer.
The drug offense crossed between state lines (such as drug trafficking or delivery).
The drug offense involved other criminal activities, such as money laundering, gang activity, or the use of firearms.
The drug crime is a serious one and deserves severe punishment.
In Massachusetts, there are a number of different charges that fall under the umbrella of drug crimes. Generally speaking, a defendant may be facing any of these drug-related charges:
According to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 94C Section 34, no person knowingly or intentionally shall possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription.
A person may be charged with drug possession with intent to sell or distribute if a large quantity of drugs or controlled substances (more than what is meant for personal consumption) are found in the defendant's possession. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, drug possession with intent to sell is considered a felony offense.
A person commits the offense of drug trafficking if he or she knowingly or intentionally cultivates, distributes, manufactures, produces, delivers, or sells a controlled substance.
Under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 94C Section 32I, no person shall possess, sell, or purchase with the intent to sell, or manufacture with intent to sell any drug paraphernalia, knowing that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, or inhale illegal substances.
According to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 94C Section 32J, a defendant may be charged with a school zone drug violation if he or she violates a drug law or was arrested on a Massachusetts drug charge anywhere within 300 feet of a private or public school or within 100 feet of a playground or park.
To establish criminal penalties for Massachusetts drug violations, controlled substances are categorized into five distinct classes depending on their chemical composition. These five different drug classes include:
Class A Substances: These are substances with a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use. Some common examples include heroin, morphine, ketamine, GHB, and Opiates.
Class B Substances: These are substances with a high potential for abuse but with strict restrictions for medical use. Examples include cocaine, oxycodone, LSD, Methamphetamines, and Ecstasy.
Class C Substances: These are drugs with a moderate potential for abuse compared to Class A and Class B substances. They are severely restricted for medical use. Examples include Valium, Mushrooms, Hydrocodone, and Hallucinogens.
Class D Substances: These are substances with a lower potential for abuse and are permitted for medical use. Examples are marijuana, Phenobarbital, and small doses of prescription narcotics.
Class E Substances: These drugs have the least potential for abuse. They are generally allowed for medical use and treatment purposes. Some common examples include small doses of prescription narcotics containing opium, codeine, or morphine.
The penalties for drug crimes in Massachusetts depend on the drug classification, the amount of drugs in possession at the time of arrest, and the offender's criminal history. Possible penalties for the various drug crimes include:
Possession of Heroin: Punishable by up to two years in jail, a maximum fine of $2,000, or both.
Possession of 1 Ounce or Less of Marijuana: Punishable by a fine of $100.
Possession of More than 1 Ounce of Marijuana: Punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $500.
Possession of 50 pounds or more of Marijuana: Punishable by two and a half to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of between $500 and $10,000.
Class A or B Substance: Punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
Class C Substance: Punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.
Class D Substance: Punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.
Class E Substance: Punishable by up to nine months in prison and a fine between $250 and $2,500.
Punishable by imprisonment in county jail for up to two years, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. Selling drug paraphernalia to a minor is punishable by anywhere from three to five years in state prison, a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, or both.
Punishable by between two and half years to 15 years in state prison, or from two to two and half years in county jail, fines of between $1,000 and $10,000, or both. The mandatory minimum sentence is two years.
When facing drug charges, defending yourself without experienced legal representation can increase your risks of getting convicted and suffering the maximum punishment under the law. If convicted, you could be facing a lengthy jail sentence, massive fines, a criminal record, and other devastating social ramifications. That’s why it is so important to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and help craft a strong defense strategy for your case.
Here at my firm, the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella, I have the experience and resources needed to effectively represent clients facing drug charges. As your legal counsel, I can review and investigate every aspect of your case and explore all possible avenues for your defense. I will help you navigate the Massachusetts criminal justice system, defend your rights, and ensure that you receive fair treatment at every turn. I will do everything I can to keep you out of jail and keep your record as clean as possible.
So if you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime, don’t face this challenge alone. Call or reach out to my firm, the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella, and put my experience in your corner today!
Facing drug charges can be really scary. Luckily, you don’t have to face your charges alone. Contact my firm — the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella — today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment. I can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel, reliable advocacy, and vigorous representation you need for your defense. I am proud to serve clients across Springfield, Massachusetts, and the surrounding areas throughout Western and Central Massachusetts, including Northampton, Westfield, Amherst, and Palmer.