Cambridge, Drug Charges Lawyer

Being arrested and brought into court on drug charges in Massachusetts can be a terrifying experience, especially if you are a first time offender. Drug laws in Massachusetts are well defined and usually carry certain minimum sentencing requirements, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t need a good attorney in your corner. The criminal defense attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have over 50 years of experience defending clients from Cambridge, Boston and all throughout Massachusetts.

Even minor drug charges can have a major impact on your life. Whether you want someone to give you a detailed run down of your options, argue on your behalf for a reduced sentence or you believe that your drug charge should be completely dismissed or retroactively expunged, the attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP are here to help, and all initial consultations are free of charge.

What are Drug Charges in Massachusetts?

Drug charges in Massachusetts vary in their severity, but generally carry the possibility for both jail time and monetary fines for everything from simple possession of the drug and all the way up to felony trafficking of illegal narcotics.

These charges also generally become more severe depending on the type of drug in question. For example, the possible sentence for possessing a prescription medication without a prescription is less severe than possessing heroin for the first time. Drugs in Massachusetts are defined via five categories:

  • Class A Drugs – These drugs include various potent opiate medications in their many numerous forms, opium derivatives such as heroin and morphine and other especially dangerous drugs such as Rohypnol (a date rape drug), GHB and Ketamine (also known as Special K). Maximum fines and possible jail sentences for these drug crimes include:
    • Possession, first offense: 2 years, $2,000 fine
    • Possession, second offense (felony): 5 years in state penitentiary, $5,000 fine
    • Trafficking or manufacture: 10 years in prison, $10,000 fine
  • Class B Drugs – Drugs in the second highest class include opium in its natural form, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, fentanyl, methadone and barbiturates. Maximum fines and possible jail sentences for these drug crimes include:
    • Possession, first offense: 1 year, $1,000 fine
    • Possession, second offense: 2 years, $2,000 fine
    • Trafficking or manufacture: 10 years, $10,000 fine
  • Class C Drugs – Drugs in the third category include those which have “a depressant effect on the central nervous system,” such as Clonazepam, Diazepam, codeine, mescaline, peyote and so-called “magic mushrooms,” which contain psilocybin. Maximum penalties for these drugs include:
    • Possession, first offense: 1 year, $1,000 fine
    • Possession, second offense: 2 years, $2,000 fine
    • Trafficking or manufacture: 5 years, $5,000 fine
  • Class D Drugs (marijuana) – Drugs in the fourth category include other lower risk prescription medications, however the most notorious drug on this list is marijuana. While marijuana has been legalized for recreational use by people 21 years of age and older, drug charges still exist, including:
    • Possession of over one ounce: 6 months imprisonment, $500 fine
    • Subsequent possession offenses: 2 years, $2,000 fine
    • Trafficking charges range from 2 ½ years and a $500 fine to as much as 15 years imprisonment and $200,000 fines depending on the amount of marijuana possessed, the number of prior offenses and whether or not the activity took place near a school or other place inhabited by minors.
    • It should be noted that first-time possession offenders are mandated by law to be sentenced to parole, with the charge sealed following successful completion of parole
  • Class E Drugs – The lowest class of drugs include drugs with lower doses of depressants such as codeine and opium and carry similar penalties as class D drugs.

Our Attorneys Can Clarify any Questions

As you can see from the detailed list above, there is a lot of nuance in drug laws and a lot of possible sentencing outcomes. While there may be mandatory minimums for charges against you, the total sentence imposed may very well be lessened through the diligent work of a good lawyer. Further, drug laws are constantly evolving. We are seeing this now following marijuana being legalized for recreational purposes, resulting in significantly altered penalties for its possession.

With widespread changes to law comes periods of legal uncertainty, which may result in improper sentences being levied at your expense. Do not let this happen, call Altman & Altman LLP today for a free consultation to go over the details of your case today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.

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