General Laws Chapter 94C, the Controlled Substances Act, governs drug crimes in Massachusetts, including drug trafficking. Charges of drug trafficking involve a threshold weight of drugs, and charges of distribution can be increased based on the weight. Drug trafficking charges carry mandatory minimum sentences, and the different mandatory minimums will depend on the type and weight of the drugs. For instance, the mandatory minimum for trafficking 50 pounds but less than 100 pounds of marijuana is 1 year in the house of correction or 2 years in state prison. If the weight is 100 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds, then the mandatory minimum would be 3 years in the state prison. If convicted of trafficking 14 grams but less than 28 grams of cocaine, the mandatory minimum would be 3 years in the state prison. The mandatory minimum would increase to 10 years in the state prison if the amount of cocaine was 28 grams but less than 100 grams. The government has to prove that the weight was in excess of a particular amount, and drug trafficking defenses can be based on weight.
The drug weight is usually included on drug certificates, and the drug analyst will generally have to testify. In many trafficking cases, there are multiple packets or containers of drugs, and the government does not have to weigh each packet or container. For instance, if there are several identical packets, the government can simply use a sample in calculating weight. An experienced defense attorney will study all evidence to determine whether the packets or containers were identical.
Under Massachusetts' law, trafficking of drug mixtures is a crime. For example, in cases where drugs are cut, the amount of illegal drugs contained in the mix does not matter. However, there are many unanswered questions when it comes to drug mixtures, such as whether dirt, water or paper count towards weight. Serious criminal lawyers like Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. are familiar with case law governing weight and can come up with creative defenses when appropriate.Law Offices of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. (617) 973 5858
Contact the Law Offices of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. at (617) 973 5858 or send Attorney Wheeler an e-mail if you have been accused of drug trafficking or another other Massachusetts drug crime. Attorney Wheeler has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense, and he has handled drug trafficking cases in Massachusetts courts throughout the state. Particularly because trafficking charges carry mandatory minimums, a strong and aggressive defense is required. Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. uses everything that he has learned over the decades to get results in trafficking cases. He also handles the following drug crimes:
- Drug distribution
- Possession of drugs with intent to distribute
- Drug possession
- Drug conspiracy
- School zone violations
- Distribution to a minor
- Drug paraphernalia
- Inducing minors to distribute or sell
- Counterfeit substances
- Knowingly being present where heroin is kept
- Uttering a false prescription for a controlled substance