How to beat a drug distribution or trafficking charge in Massachusetts

Massachusetts drug offenses can be attacked in numerous ways to defeat the charges brought by the Commonwealth. A common defense method is to attack the basis of the Commonwealth’s evidence that you possessed marijuana, cocaine or other unlawful narcotics.

Another method, that we will discuss in more depth on this page, pertains to whether the defendant has to be physically present for the drug transaction to be convicted of a drug distribution charge.

In the case of Commonwealth v. Mgaresh (2013), the defense raised various elements which the Commonweath may choose to apply to a drug distribution case, depending on the evidence and the defendant’s involvement in the transactions.

1. Proving Distribution

To prove distribution of an illegal substance, the Commonwealth has to prove that the defendant “knowingly or intentionally” distributed the substance (G. L. c. 94C, § 31). Massachusetts law defines distribution as any method of delivery, other than admin administering or dispensing.

Furthermore, “delivery” is defined as the process of transferring, whether by actual or constructive transfer, a controlled substance from one person to another, whether or not there is an agency relationship.”

2. Proving Constructive Transfer of the Substance

The theory of constructive transfer applies if the the Commonwealth can show that the defendant was aware of the transaction and in control of the transaction. This means that the defendant does not actually need to be physically present at the time of distribution. “Constructive transfer” can be shown if there is proof of communication between the defendant and the person who actually transferred the drugs and that the defendant instructed this person on what to do in regards to the exchange.

3. Proving Joint Venture

The theory of Joint Venture can occur to almost any type of crime. In a drug crime, it occurs f
the Commonwealth can show that the defendant had the “intent required to commit the crime” Commonwealth v. Zanetti (2009). So if the evidence shows that the defendant arranged the time and place of the exchange, and details of the exchange such as the amount of the drug and how much it was to be exchanged for, joint venture may apply. It may also apply if the defendant acted as a lookout or otherwise facilitated the exchange.

4. Proving Probable Cause for the Search Warrant

If the police obtain a search warrant for a house, you may be able to exclude the evidence obtained from the search by asserting that there was no probable cause for the judge to issue a search warrant. A judge can only issue a search warrant in a Massachusetts drug offense when an officer prepares an affidavit that provides probable cause to believe that drugs or drug paraphenlia will be found in the place to be searched. Accordingly, if your home was searched pursuant to a warrant, you should call Attorney DelSignore so he can review the warrant and prepare a motion to suppress any of the evidence found.

Often the search warrant affidavit will rely on information supplied to the police by a confidential informant. A police officer can only rely on information supplied from an informant to establish probable cause for a search if the informant is deemed to be both reliable and trustworthy. Accordingly, Attorney DelSignore may be able to successfully defend your drug case by filing a motion to suppress to exclude the evidence through attacking the Constitutional basis for issuing the search warrant.

Contact Attorney DelSignore directly at 781-686-5924 to set up a FREE NO-OBLIGATION consultation about a Massachusetts drug charge.

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