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Possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

One of the most severely punished criminal offenses in Massachusetts is getting caught with drugs. Depending on the type and amount of drugs in your possession, you could be looking at jail time, fines, and a criminal record.

Actual versus constructive possessive

Drug charges in Massachusetts are governed by General Law Chapter 94C Section 34. Possession of a controlled substance is defined as “knowingly or intentionally” having drugs in your “possession or control.” This includes prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you as well as illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession means the drugs are on your person while constructive possession means the drugs are under your control but not necessarily on your person. For example, if you have illegal drugs in your car glove compartment, you would be constructively possessing those drugs.

Possible penalties

Penalties for drug possession in Massachusetts depend on several factors. The first is the type of drug. The state broadly categorizes controlled substances into schedules. Schedule 1 drugs, like heroin, marijuana and LSD, are considered the most dangerous. Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, are also considered very harmful. Therefore, penalties for such drugs tend to be more severe than for less dangerous drugs like prescription pills.

The second factor is the amount of the drug in your possession. Generally speaking, your punishments will be harsher if you have a significant amount of drugs in your possession because it is assumed that you intend to sell or distribute them if you have a large quantity.

The third factor is whether you have been previously convicted of a drug crime. If you have no prior convictions, you will likely face lesser penalties than someone with a criminal record. However, even first-time offenders could face serious consequences, including jail time.

Critically analyzing your suit may be beneficial in finding something you can use to avoid harsh punishment.