Boston Drug Possession Lawyer / Drug Possession Charges in MA
Drug charges can carry strong penalties, depending on the nature of the charges and your criminal record. Possession of larger amounts of controlled substances are prosecuted more aggressively and can result in prison time, a court record, the loss of your driver’s license, and prevent you from getting into school. If you aren’t a citizen, a conviction can prevent you from obtaining citizenship or subject you to deportation.
I will thoroughly investigate the procedures used by police, and in cases of constitutional violations we can file motions to suppress evidence against you. In certain cases, we can present information about your background to convince the prosecutor and/or judge to consider alternative sentencing options, such as community service or participation in a drug treatment program. Possession of a small amount of drugs can sometimes be resolved without a trial or conviction.
In 2009, Massachusetts decriminalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. This means that it is no longer a misdemeanor. Instead, it is a civil offense and you can be fined $100. However, police sometimes use that to conduct a more thorough search of your residence, vehicle, or yourself. The effects of this change in law have not fully played out, although recent court decisions have clarified some of law enforcement’s obligations and defendants’ rights.
A recent court decision has established that the police do not have a right to search a vehicle simply based on the smell of marijuana. There needs to be more evidence to establish probable cause. Another court case makes it clear that although possession of up to an ounce is not criminal, possession with intent to distribute, even under an ounce, is still a crime.
If you are under 18, possession of less than an ounce carries additional penalties. In addition to the $100 fine, you will need to complete a drug awareness program and your parents will be notified. If you fail to complete the drug awareness program and any required community service, the fine may be increased to $1,000.