Defenses to Massachusetts Drug Crimes
Those charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts naturally ask what are the defenses to a drug crime. In any drug crime, whether possession, possession with the intent to distribute or trafficking, the first element that the Commonwealth must establish to prove the case in Court is possession of the narcotics. Here are the ways that this element 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 this 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 not in direct possession that there was circumstantial evidence to show possession, like ownership of the residence, 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 a difficult task to prove constructive possession.
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.
Search Warrant Cases: 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.
If you have any questions about contesting a Drug Crime, feel free to call 781-686-5924 or 508-455-4755 to speak to an Attorney at DelSignore Law. Attorney DelSignore and Gaudreau handle drug crimes throughout Massachusetts and can review your cases and defenses.