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.
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.
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.
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 or Julie Gaudreau 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: