Arrested for possession of a pound of marijuana with intent to distribute. What kind of sentence can I expect?

Asked over 4 years ago - Lynn, MA

I was pulled over for having a headlight out, the trooper said he smelt marijuana and asked me to exit my car so he could perform a search of it. I said "I don't know what you're talking about" and he replied "I'm going to search it either way" so I got out of the car and he found just under a pound of marijuana in a backpack. I was then arrested for possession with intent to distribute. I've never been in trouble before, my record is completely clean. I've recently graduated college I've had a steady job for six months and want as bright a future as possible. Do I have any chance of beating this? What is the most common outcome for someone in my position?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Jose Luis Serpa

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . First, you should really be more careful about what you disclose on this site. You are making admissions that could possibly be linked to you.

    You have several viable issue to raise in a Motion to Suppress, beginning with the reason for the motor vehicle stop, the reason for the exit-order and the reason for searching a closed container (your backpack) in your car.

    Your attorney should be pursing radio transmissions tapes, the Trooper's computer records and other data.

    You should then be sure your attorney files a comprehensive Motion to Suppress.

    I'm in downtown Boston. Call me for to discuss at (617) 367-1100 x704.

  2. Dominic L. Pang

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Let's not start talking sentences right away. Since possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana was decriminalized, the smell of marijuana as grounds for a search has been increasingly successfully attacked by motions to suppress. Simply stated, smell alone does not give rise to probable case to believe that a crime is being committed, i.e. that you possess more than 1 oz. or marijuana. If the drugs are suppressed, the prosecutor won't be able to prove his case.

    Possession of Class D with intent to distribute is a serious charge that carries a sentence of up to 2 years in the house of corrections and/or a fine of $500 to $5000. A conviction also results in a lengthy loss of your driver's license. This is definitely something you want to hire an attorney to handle, especially when you have a suppression issue. Best of luck.

  3. Jessica Ann Foley

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . You are getting a little ahead of yourself, as is said in some of the other answers, there is a possible suppression issue in your case. The law around the 'odor of marijuana' is ripe for argument due to the recent changes in the law.
    Your attorney should file a motion to suppress.
    Also, if you have no record, it is much less likely you would do anytime in jail. The maximum sentence is 2.5 years, however, at this time, I would try not to worry about being incarcerated just yet.
    Jessica

    866-981-7888

  4. Henry Lebensbaum

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . There may be a motion to suppress here, and other factors that your attorney must deal with before you reach the issue of sentencing.

  5. Joseph K. Chancellor

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . I'm as interested in this case as the rest of the lawyers responding. Feel free to give me a call if you would like my perspective. I was a police officer for many years prior to becoming a lawyer and I enjoy criminal defense and police misconduct cases.

    www.chancellorlaw.com

    (617) 725-2675

  6. Gregory Casale

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . I just finished a case with extremely similar facts, except that in the case I had, the driver and passenger wrote out a statement to the state police admitting that they had purchased a pound of marijuana. I got the prosecuteer to accept a situation called Pre-Trial probation where the defendant was placed on probation, prior to any plea or admission, and so long as he stays out of criminal trouble for one year, the charge will be dismissed entirely. That results in no conviction or even a plea on his record. Short of immediate dismissal, there is no better outcome available from the court. This way he does not lose his license and can honestly and truthfully answer that he has no criminal record. I don't know all the facts of your case, nor what court you are in, but I would imagine I could probably achieve similar results for you. No guarantees and your facts are unique so your outcome will be also, but my first priority, especially with young people just starting out, is to avoid conviction and keep their record clean.

  7. Nicolas A. Gordon

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . I am a Massachusetts Attorney and I practice 100 % Criminal Defense. I am a former Assistant District Attorney. Please keep in mind that you are presumed innocent of these charges. In order to prove that you are guilty, the Commonwealth with have to prove, not only that you knew the marijuana was in the backpack, but also that you were "in possession" of the marijuana. Possession means that you exercised dominion and control over the substance. You, as opposed to someone else. The mere fact that it was found in a backpack in a car that you were driving is not enough. Did you umake any incriminating statements to the police? Call me for a free consultation at 774 254 4411

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