If you have been charged with a drug trafficking offense in Massachusetts, you are likely very concerned about the possible consequences of a conviction. Whether or not you may serve prison time, and just how much time, depends on the particular offenses, as well as the amount of illegal narcotics, with which you are charged. In short, you may be facing little or no prison time – or life in prison.When selecting a criminal defense lawyer to defend you, refuse to be beguiled into hiring a lawyer who promises to have the charges dismissed or guarantees you an acquittal. These cases are notoriously difficult to defend. No honest, serious, or successful lawyer would make such claims.
If you’re researching the internet for information or lawyers, you obviously understand the gravity of the situation. Nevertheless, the following provides a general overview of penalties for trafficking, including the number of years of incarceration you may be facing if convicted of drug trafficking in Massachusetts.
The penalties you face for trafficking in Massachusetts will depend on several important factors, including:
- The type of controlled substance involved
- The amount of the controlled substance involved
- Your criminal history (or lack thereof)
- The presence, or absence, of aggravating circumstances (such as weapons)
Although Massachusetts has de-criminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, you can still be convicted of trafficking marijuana. Trafficking 50 -100 pounds of marijuana carries 2 1/2 to 15 years with a minimum mandatory one year if convicted. If you are convicted of trafficking more than 50 pounds you could face a minimum sentence of two to eight years.
Trafficking in cocaine is a much more serious charge. If convicted of trafficking in an amount over 18 grams but less than 36 grams you face two to 15 years in prison with a two year mandatory minimum sentence. Trafficking in an amount over 36 grams but less than 100 grams carries a term of incarceration of 3 ½ to 20 years with a 3 ½ year mandatory minimum. If convicted of trafficking over 100 grams but less than 200 grams of a controlled substance you face eight to 20 years with an eight year mandatory minimum while trafficking over 200 grams of a controlled substance is punishable by 12 to 20 years with a 12 year mandatory minimum sentence.
Finally, trafficking in heroin carries the harshest penalties, as follows:
- 18-35 grams – 3 ½ to 20 years with a 3/12 year mandatory minimum
- 36 – 99 grams – 5 to 20 years with a 5 year mandatory minimum
- 100 – 199 grams – 8 – 20 years with an 8 year mandatory minimum
- Over 200 grams – 12 to 20 years with a 12 year mandatory minimum
Because of the mandatory minimum sentences, it is imperative that you consult with an honest, experienced, and aggressive Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.