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Defending a Drug Distribution Charge in Massachusetts

Defenses to Drug Distribution charges

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. Drug distribution charges are treated more serious in Massachusetts depending on the drug involved. Any drug distribution charge of Fentanyl or heroin is more difficult to resolve than if the drug is cocaine for example.

Can you be charged with drug distribution merely because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time

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. Often when police execute a warrant, everyone who is present at the time of the search will be arrested in charge. However, being charged with a crime requires a lower than of proof than to be convicted. At trial or in negotiations with the prosecutor, we would set forth evidence showing that you did not have a connection to the residence. That would include whether your property is there; is there evidence that you slept at the place of the search. Did any informant who may have purchased drugs claim you had any involvement.

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 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 if 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 paraphernalia will be found in the place to be searched.

Challenging an Illegal Search

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.

Sample Cases Results involving Possession with the intent to distribute:

New Bedford District Court; client charged with possession with intent to distribute after hand to hand sale witnessed by the police. The client faced enhanced penalties based on his record; the charge was dismissed on the trial date.

Hingham District Court: Client faced drug distribution charges; we were able to work out a resolution to the case where the client did not admit to any wrong doing and if he completed treatment the case would be dismissed.

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

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