The line between drug possession and trafficking charges in Massachusetts

The line between drug possession and trafficking charges in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2022 | Drug Violations

While nobody in Middlesex County wants to be hit with a drug possession charge, a trafficking charge can be even worse. Massachusetts law considers drug trafficking to be a more serious crime than simple possession and punishes those convicted accordingly.

Therefore, if you are accused of a drug crime, the line between possession and trafficking under the law can become very important.

Two types of trafficking crimes

Massachusetts has both trafficking and “possession with intent to distribute” on its criminal codes. However, whether or not someone allegedly caught with a controlled substance intended to sell it can be difficult to prove. On the other hand, drug trafficking is based on the weight and type of substance the defendant is accused of possessing.

For example, possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana is considered drug trafficking. A conviction for trafficking 50-100 lbs. means a prison sentence of one to 2 1/2 years. Meanwhile, possession of just 18 grams of a Class B drug like cocaine or oxycodone upgrades the charges to trafficking and carries a prison term of two to 15 years. To compare, a first offense for possession of most drugs is not a felony. It does not have a mandatory minimum sentence, and the maximum term allowed is one year in jail.

What is ‘possession’?

Another factor to remember is the law’s liberal interpretation of “possession.” Under the criminal code, you do not have to have a controlled substance in your hands, in your pockets or within reach to be in possession of it. It can also mean you have “dominion and control” over the substance. For example, if police find drugs in the trunk of your car while you are not inside of it, you can still be charged with possession.

Massachusetts punishes all drug crimes severely, but it is possible to get overcharged. Your defense attorney will work with you to fight for your rights and avoid injustice.