Drug Possession: When to Seek Out a Lawyer
Massachusetts law varies depending on the type of drug offense a person is charged with. Punishments for drug trafficking and sale to minors can be the most severe. Charges can be determined based on the type of substances.
Massachusetts Classes of Substances
There are four classes of substances in the state of Massachusetts, each with their own set of penalties:
- Class A: harder drugs including heroin, morphine, and ketamine
- Class B: includes cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and other similar substances
- Class C: relaxers or mood stabilizers, including some hallucinogens
- Class D: marijuana (this only applied to possessing an illegal amount since possessing the substance itself is not considered a crime in Massachusetts)
- Class E: includes use of prescription drugs (including some narcotics) for anxiety, depression, etc. if they are caught with the substance but do not have a valid prescription for it
If you have been charged with drug possession of any kind, it is important that you seek representation immediately. Drug possession charges can carry serious penalties that could impact your criminal record. An experienced drug possession attorney can help you assess your situation and determine the best course of action moving forward.
How Many Years in Jail for Drug Possession?
Penalties for drug possession vary and are determined by the type of substance you were caught with and the amount. If you are convicted of drug possession, the jail time is also determined by how many previous offenses you have had.
Here is a breakdown of the average jail time for drug possession:
- Class A Substance: up to 2 years in jail for first offense
- Subsequent possession: 2 ½ – 5 years in jail
- Class B Substance: 1 year in jail
- Subsequent possession: 2 years in jail
- Class C Substance: 1 year in jail
- Subsequent possession: up to 2 years in jail
- Class D Substance: up to 6 months in jail
- Convicted first offenses can be eligible for probation upon completion of a court-mandated program
- Class E Substance: up to 6 months in jail
- Like Class D Substance convictions, first time offenders may be eligible for probation after completing a court-mandated program
It is important to note that hiring a drug possession lawyer to represent you can be a determining factor between jail time and reduced penalties, or even getting the case thrown out. Having an experienced attorney guide you through the legal process can be crucial to the success of your case as well as protecting your constitutional rights.
Also, being charged with drug possession does not always equate to a conviction. Only evidence obtained legally may be used against you in trial. That means, unless you are convicted, you will not face jail time.
How Much Is Bail for Possession of Drugs?
There is no set cost for bail in the state of Massachusetts. In most cases, the judge in the case will set a bail amount for the defendant. There are plenty of factors that can help a judge determine the cost of bail including:
- The defendant’s age
- Past criminal record
- How much the defendant threatens the safety of the public, or someone else involved in the case
- Pending charges
- Record of past court appearances
- Costs of any damages in association with the case
If the crime committed is considered a potential felony, the cost of bail for the defendant will be much higher than the cost of bail for a first-time offender.
Drug Possession for Distribution
If you have been charged with drug possession for distribution, the penalties can be much higher than just drug possession, resulting in a felony charge. A person can be charged with drug possession for distribution if they have a large amount of an illegal substance in their possession. This can occur even if they had no intent to distribute the substance.
Distribution to minors can be one of the most serious offenses for drug possession, carrying hefty penalties and a felony charge.
A drug possession attorney can be the difference between being convicted with drug possession vs. drug trafficking.
Do I Need an Attorney for Drug Possession?
Being charged with drug possession is a serious offense in Massachusetts. Having an experienced attorney help you navigate the legal process and represent you can have a major impact on the outcome of your case.
Drug possession convictions on a criminal record can impact your ability to maintain a job or seek employment, find or keep housing, medical treatments and medical care, and even impact your ability to vote if you’ve been charged with a felony.
If you live in a residence in which you pay rent, a drug possession conviction can impact your ability to continue living within that residence. It can also impact your ability to find a rental residence.
For medical care, certain medications cannot be used on patients with certain histories of drug possession, whether you used the substance or not. This can impact future medical treatments you need to receive, even if it is years after the initial charges were filed.
As long as you contact an attorney as soon as possible after being charged with drug possession, you are giving yourself the best possible chance at success in your case.
The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and Bonville & Howard P.C. Bonville & Howard P.C. assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents of the blog.
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