Massachusetts Drug Laws and Sentencing

Michael Rodney St Louis Esq.

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Posted over 2 years ago. Applies to Massachusetts, 3 helpful votes

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The drug sentencing law vary depending on the class of drug and the amount. Within each drug category there are 4 main possible charges: (1) Possession (2) Possession with intent to distribute (3) trafficking and (4) Conspiracy to violate the drug laws.This guide will focus on all four charges.

Marijuana possession

is governed by M.G.L. 94C Sect. 32C. Marijuana is a class "D" substance. Penalties can lead to up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500 for first offenders. Second offense can result in up to 2 years and a $2000 fine. First time offenders with no previous convictions can have their case continued without a finding, but face a 1 year loss of license. Possession of less then 1 ounce is a violation only that carries a fine of up to $100. If you are under 18, you are required to attend a drug awareness program. No such violation shall be grounds for denial of student aid.

Marijuana possession with intent to distribute

s governed by M.G.L. Chap.94C,. Intent to distribute can be inferred from various sources such as amounts involved, drug paraphernalia found or associations with known narcotic informers. The penalty for first time offenders is 2 year jail sentence and a $500 fine or both. Second or subsequent offenders face a minimum 1 year jail sentence and a 2 ½ year maximum jail sentence. There is also a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $10,000 dollars for anyone convicted of a second and subsequent possession with intent to distribute marijuana offense. There is also a mandatory loss of license

for 2 years for first time offenders.

Marijuana distribution or trafficking falls under MGL Chap. 94C, Sect. 32E.

If you possess between 50 lbs and 100 lbs., then the penatly is a state prison term for not less than two and one-half nor more than fifteen years or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not less than one nor more than two and one-half years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this section shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year and a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than ten thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum one year term of imprisonment, as established herein.

COCAINE

MGL Chap.94C, Sect.34 govers cocaine possession. Cocaine is a class "B" substance. If you are convicted of cocaine possession for the first time you could face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. You also face an automatic loss of license for 1 year.

M.G.L. Chapter 94C Section 32A governs cocaine possession with intent to distribute. The penalty for this offense is a 2 ½ year jail sentence and a fine of not less than $1,000 and up to $10,000. Second and subsequent offenders can face a 3 year mandatory state prison sentence and a maximum sentence of 10 years. Fines in the range of $2,500 to $25,000. You also face a mandatory 3 year loss of license.

MGL Chapt. 94C, Sect. 32E governs cocaine trafficking. (1) Fourteen grams or more but less than twenty-eight grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than three nor more than fifteen years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a minimum term of imprisonment of three years, and a fine of not less than two thousand five hundred nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(2) Twenty-eight grams or more, but less than one hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, and a fine of not less than five thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(3) One hundred grams or more, but less than two hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than ten nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than one hundred thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

HEROIN

M.G.L. Chapt. 94C, Sect.34 governs heroin possession. Heroin is a class "A" substance. Any person who violates this section by possessing heroin shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars and imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C Section 32 governs possession with intent to distribute heroin. If you are found guilty of this offense you face up to 2 ½ years in jail or 10 years in state prison for a first offense. There is also a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. If you are convicted of this crime a second time you are looking at a mandatory minimum 5 year prison sentence and as much as 15 years.

MGL Chapt. 94C, Sect. 32E governs heroin trafficking. (1) Fourteen grams or more but less than twenty-eight grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of not less than five thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(2) Twenty-eight grams or more but less than one hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than seven nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of seven years and a fine of not less than five thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars may be imposed, but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established herein.

(3) One hundred grams or more but less than two hundred grams, be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than ten nor more than twenty years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this clause shall be for less than the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years, and a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than one hundred thousand dollars may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as established therein. CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE DRUG LAWS is governed by M.G.L. Chap.94C, Section 40. It says, "Whoever conspires with another person to violate any provision of this chapter shall be punished by imprisonment or fine, or both, which punishment shall not exceed the maximum punishment prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy. " Often times this charge is used in connection with possession or intent to distribute when it is unclear as to who or to what extend a defendant is involved when two or more suspects are arrested on a drug charge.

DRUG CLASSIFICATIONS

Drug classifications generally fall into Class A, B, C, D, and E. The following is a brief listing of controlled substances in the State of Massachusetts for the purposes of drug penalty classification.

Class A substances include Heroin & other opiates such as Morphine; some designer drugs such as GHB; and Ketamine (Special K).

Class B substance include Cocaine; prescription opiates such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone (Percodan/Percocet),and Codiene, Methadone; LSD; MDMA; Ecstasy (XTC); PCP; Amphetamines (speed) ; & Methamphetamine (meth).

Class C substance examples include prescription tranquilizers and narcotics diazepam (Valium), Librium, Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Dolacet, Hydrocet, Lortab, Codiclear DH, Tussionex, Cogesic, Anexia), mescaline, psilocybin/mushrooms, peyote, STP, other hallucinogenic substances, some medium doses of prescription narcotics.

Class D substances include marijuana / pot (most common), chloryl hydrate, phenobarbital, and some lesser doses of prescription narcotics.

Class E substance charges are typically for lighter doses of prescription narcotics containing codeine (Tylonol #3), morphine, or opium.

Additional Resources

http://www.bostonsbestlawyer.com/pages/content/drug-crimes

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