Drug Crimes

Essex County Drug Crimes Lawyer

When the District Attorney brings charges of drug crimes, defendants are faced with everything from jail to fines to a criminal record that can make getting future employment and housing much more difficult. What defendants need is an Essex County drug crimes lawyer that won’t back down from the D.A., will fight for their client’s constitutional rights, and who will work rigorously and tenaciously toward either outright acquittal or the best plea agreement possible under the circumstances. 

Aprodu | Conley knows the law, the system, and we know how to aggressively advocate for our clients’ best interests. Serving all of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Middlesex, Hampden, and Worcester counties, we offer both free consultations and payment plans. 

Call us at (978) 705-7270 or reach out here online today. 

4 Factors in Massachusetts Drug Crime Penalties

The charges, and the sentence in the event of conviction, will hinge on four factors—the type of crime, the type of drug, the quantity of the drug, and the previous record of the defendant. 

Types of Drug Crimes

Drug crimes in Massachusetts fit broadly into three categories—possession, sale, and trafficking. Possession, as the name of the charge suggests, means that the defendant had the drugs on their person or on their property. Sale, again as the name indicates, means they are alleged to have sold the drugs. 

Trafficking is similar to sale, but is a more serious charge. Whether a prosecutor brings trafficking charges starts by looking at the quantity of the drugs—14 grams is the threshold in Massachusetts for trafficking charges. Prosecutors can also consider circumstances such as whether it was brought across state lines. 

Within these three broad categories, there are also charges such as possession with intent to sell. A prosecutor might glean intent through evidence that could include records ranging from emails to phone calls to text messages. Large quantities can also be taken as evidence that the defendant was possessing the drugs for reasons other than personal use. 

Quantity of the Drug

Crimes involving at least 14 grams are, as noted above, considered to be trafficking. There are other thresholds that go even higher, with more severe penalties available to a judge at each benchmark. As defendants possess 28 grams, then 100 grams, and up to 200 grams, a jail term can be longer and a fine steeper. 

The Drug Itself

The state of Massachusetts puts drugs into five different classes, based on how addictive they are, and whether there is any legitimate medical use for them. The most serious drugs are Class A, and include substances such as heroine. These are extremely addictive and have no acknowledged medical use. 

Class B drugs are still quite serious, and include both crack cocaine and LSD. At the Class C level, we find hallucinogens. Class D involves substances that include barbiturates

At the lowest level of Class E. These are drugs that often have valid medical reasons, but are possessed in sufficient quantity or under circumstances (i.e., lacking a prescription) that run afoul of the law. Codeine is a common example. 

Prior Record

A defendant with no previous record has different sentencing guidelines than a repeat offender. As an example, let’s say a defendant is charged with simple possession of crack cocaine. A first offense could result in 1 year of jail time, and a fine of up to $1,000. For future offenses, those penalties double. 

Constitutional Rights in Drug Crime Cases

Defendants have rights and one that often comes up in drug cases is the right against unreasonable search and seizure. This means law enforcement officers must have a search warrant or probable cause before they can search a suspect’s property. This covers everything from a house search to a review of computer records to opening up the glove compartment in the defendant’s vehicle. This legal protection of defendants is given in the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

When police officers fail to follow protocol, a defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress. This means that any evidence that was obtained from an illegal search cannot be introduced in court and shown to a jury. Given that drug cases often hinge on physical evidence, the dismissal of this evidence may result in dropping the charges entirely. At minimum, it can certainly hinder the prosecution’s attempts to secure a conviction. 

Accessible & Attentive Essex Drug Crimes Lawyers

It’s understandable if defendants and their loved ones feel scared during this difficult time. They need their attorneys to communicate with them, and be available for ongoing questions and discussion as the case proceeds. Aprodu | Conley takes that responsibility seriously and we are there for our clients. 

The APCO Advantage
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    We always look at the big picture to help you make the right decisions about your case. We are always learning and are never too proud to take the actions necessary to effectuate our clients' goals.

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