Massachusetts Armed Career Criminal Statute
If you are convicted of a crime in Massachusetts, you face the possibility of incarceration. And, if you already have a prior criminal record, it goes without saying that the judge will take your history into account. What many people are not aware of, however, is that there is a specific law known as the Armed Career Criminal Statute that adds time onto a prison sentence for people who have previously been convicted of a “violent crime” or a “serious drug crime.”
The potential consequences of a conviction under this law are devastating. This is another reason for choosing the best criminal defense attorney you can find. Call me for a free consultation today at (781) 797-0555 if you or a loved one is being charged as an Armed Career Criminal.
Under the Armed Career Criminal statute, there are three levels with varying punishments:
Level 1: A conviction as an Armed Career Criminal Level 1 leads to a minimum three-year prison sentence up to a maximum 15 years.
Level 2: If you’re convicted as an Armed Career Criminal Level 2, the minimum prison sentence goes to ten years, with a maximum of 15 years.
Level 3: A judge cannot sentence you to any less than 15 years in prison if you are convicted as an Armed Career Criminal Level 3. The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison.
Importantly, these sentences are on top of the lengthy prison terms you could face on the underlying convictions.
“Serious drug offenses” include almost any prior drug conviction – even a guilty plea in district court. However, a simple possession charge would not rise to that level. The prior conviction generally has to include a drug offense that involved manufacturing or distribution of a controlled substance.
A “violent crime” is a prior conviction for a crime punishable by a term of incarceration for over one year. This does not mean you were sentenced to more than a year in jail – just that the maximum punishment meets that standard.
Do juvenile convictions count?
A juvenile conviction can fall under this statute if it involved the use or possession of a deadly weapon that:
-Has as an element the use or threatened use of physical force or a deadly weapon against the person of another;
-Is Arson, Burglary, Extortion, or Kidnapping;
-Involves the use of explosives; or
-Otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious risk of physical injury to another.
You can bet that the prosecutor is going to use his or her full power to prosecute anyone facing this charge. You need to do everything you can to win. The best way to minimize the threat of a long prison sentence is to retain a high-quality, experience criminal defense attorney. I represent clients facing serious charges in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. Call me today for a free consultation at (781) 797-0555.
Source: Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 10G