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Defenses to Drug Crimes in Massachusetts

What steps should you take if a loved one has been charged with possession of illegal drugs? Learn more about the process by watching the video above

If you were charged with a drug crime, you may be wondering what the potential defenses to your case are. In any drug crime, whether possession, possession with the intent to distribute or trafficking, the burden of proof is on the Commonwealth. This means that it is the Commonwealth’s responsibility to prove that you were actually in the possession of the illegal substance.

Although there are multiple ways in which a defense attorney can defend a drug charge, a common approach involves attacking the evidence that the Commonwealth is using to prove the element of possession. This page will discuss some of the ways that this element of “possession” can be challenged in Court.

Mere presence defense

In many cases, when drugs are not actually found on the person charged, a defense can be based on mere presence. Simply being present in the area where the police find drugs cannot support a conviction of drug possession or possession with the intent to distribute in Massachusetts.

If narcotics are not found on the suspect, the Commonwealth must prove that the accused constructively possessed the narcotics by having the ability to exercise dominion and control over them.

Example of common situation where mere presence is a defense: As an experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer, I have had cases where the police raid a house, and charge everyone in the house or apartment with possession with intent or trafficking depending on the amount of drugs seized. In these situations, where multiple defendants are charged, there can be a good argument that another individual possessed the illegal drug.
What factor will be relevant to determine constructive possession?

When the drugs are not found directly on a person, the Commonwealth will attempt to show that even though the drugs were not in your direct possession, there was circumstantial evidence to show possession like ownership of the residence i.e. the fact that defendant’s personal property was around the narcotics. When the drugs are not in the hands of a particular person, the Commonwealth have a difficult task in proving constructive possession.

Search Warrant Cases

Another Avenue of Defense is to challenge the legal basis for seizing the drugs; this type of defense raises Constitutional issues, claiming that a search was improper, a warrant was improperly obtained or a car was searched without probable cause or reasonable suspicion under the Constitution.

In cases involving searches of houses and apartments, the police will attempt to prove possession by linking the accused to the apartment and to the specific area where the narcotics are found by emphasizing the connection of the defendant to the area where the narcotics are found.

Motions in Drug Cases

Many times Massachusetts drug arrest raise motions to suppress evidence based on illegal searches and seizures under the Constitution.

What to Do Next

If you have a question about contesting a drug charge call Attorney DelSignore and we can discuss your options.

1. Call (781)-686-5924 or (508) 455–4755 today to set up a free consultation with Attorney DelSignore.

2. Check out our other pages on Drug Offenses:

Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! He was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards Michael for his amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael over and over again. Claire