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How to Defend a Drug Possession Charge in Massachusetts

If you were charged with a drug possession charge, it is important that you understand all of your options before you proceed. The court process can get confusing so this page was designed to offer you some guidance in what your next steps may and could involve.

Attorney DelSignore explains a motion to suppress in a drug case.
Defending a Massachusetts Drug Crime

There are multiple defenses that can be used when defending a drug crime in Massachusetts. One of the most common defenses is to attack the Commonwealth’s evidence establishing the element of possession.

With any offense alleging possession of an illegal drug, like marijuana, cocaine, heroin or medication without a valid prescription, the Commonwealth must first prove that you possessed the illegal substance.

With this in mind, a drug possession charge is defended based on the following defenses:

  • Lack of possession.
  • Constitutional defenses to exclude and or suppress evidence
  • Inability of the Commonwealth to prove the chemical composition of the substance.
Constitutional Defenses to Massachusetts Drug Crimes

Drug offenses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were made more difficult to prove by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in the Sixth Amendment case, Melendez–Diaz v. Massachusetts.

In this case, the United States Supreme Court held that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts could not simply rely on an affidavit from a chemist stating that a substance is an illegal narcotic. Instead, the Commonwealth would have to call the chemist as a witness to testify regarding the laboratory analysis of the substance.

The Commonwealth will attempt to avoid the impact of this decision in some cases by trying to have the police officer testify that a substance is an illegal narcotic. The extent to which the police officer can testify as an expert as to the composition of a narcotic like marijuana, cocaine or heroin can be attacked by an experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Resolving a Drug Offense Charge with the Prosecutor

With drug offenses, you may wish to resolve the charge. If you have little or no record, the prosecutor may offer some of the following ways to resolve a case:

  • CWOF: This is an admission that you committed a drug offense, like possession or possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, but will not result in a criminal conviction, or a license loss by the RMV. A CWOF is NOT usually the best way to resolve the case, but can sometimes be the right way for you to resolve your particular case.
  • Pretrial Probation: In some drug offenses, the district attorney may agree to dismiss the matter on conditions, like drug free or attending counseling. A pretrial probation is a great resolution to a case because there is no admission of criminal activity on your part. You essentially agree to the conditions in exchange for a dismissal.
  • Guilty plea with probation: If you have a record, the best offer may be a plea of guilty. In some cases, if you are looking at jail time, a probationary sentence could be in your best interest.
What to Do Next

If you have a question about the best way to defend a drug charge, whether to take it to trial or accept a plea agreement, call DelSignore Law and ask to speak to Attorney DelSignore and we can guide you through the process.

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

2. Check out our other pages on Drug Offenses:

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog - Drug Possession
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