Massachusetts Drug Trafficking - Riccio Law

Massachusetts Drug Trafficking Lawyer

(Offices in Quincy & Attleboro)
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 Drug Trafficking Charges in Massachusetts 

In Massachusetts, drug trafficking charges carry the potential for the most serious penalties of all drug-related charges in the state courts. All drug trafficking convictions in the Commonwealth carry mandatory minimum jail sentences with the maximum penalties controlled by the weight and class of narcotics.

 

 

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 94C Section 32E, trafficking involves manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, cultivating, possessing with intent to distribute, dispense or cultivate, or bringing into the state a certain amount of narcotic or controlled substance. In response to the rise in heroin and fentanyl use throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts legislature recently made changes to the drug laws to address the concerns.

 

 

Penalties for Trafficking Drugs in Massachusetts

 

Generally, trafficking charges lead to the most serious penalties of all drug-related offenses in Massachusetts state courts. Drug trafficking offenses are characterized based on the class of drugs (Class A, B, C, D, or E) and weight of the narcotics.

 

 

Trafficking Class A (heroin, etc.) 

 
18 grams or more but less than 36 grams


Any person convicted of trafficking 18 grams or more but less than 36 grams of certain Class A substances, including heroin and fentanyl, are subject to a term of imprisonment in state prison for not less than 3 ½ years and not more than 30 years. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of three and one-half years in state prison.

 

 

36 grams or more but less than 100 grams


A conviction for trafficking 36 – 99 grams is punishable by a term of imprisonment in state prison for not less than 5 years and not more than 30 years. The mandatory minimum sentence is 5 years imprisonment.

 

 

100 grams or more but less than 200 grams


Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 94C s. 32E(c)(3), any individual convicted of trafficking 100-199 grams is subject to a term of imprisonment in state prison for not less than 8 years nor more than 30 years. The mandatory minimum is 8 years.

 

 

200 grams or more


A conviction under M.G.L. c. 94C §32E(c)(4) is punishable by a state prison sentence of not less than 12 years and not more than 30 years. The mandatory minimum sentence is 12 years imprisonment.

 

 

Trafficking Class A (Fentanyl) 10 grams or more 

While still subject to the same penalties as above (Trafficking Class A heroin, etc.), due to the rise in use and its deadly potency, any person convicted of trafficking 10 grams or more of fentanyl (or any derivative thereof) is subject to a term of imprisonment in state prison for not less than 3 ½ years and not more than 20 years. There is a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3 ½ years.

 

 

Trafficking Class B (Cocaine)

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C Section 32E(b), the penalties for trafficking cocaine are as follows:

 

 

18 grams or more but less than 36 grams


A conviction for trafficking 18 grams or more of cocaine but less than 36 grams is punishable by a term of imprisonment in state prison ranging from 2 – 15 years. The mandatory minimum sentence is 2 years imprisonment in state prison.

 

 

36 grams or more but less than 100 grams

 

  • 3 ½ years – 20 years imprisonment in state prison
  • 3 ½ year mandatory minimum

100 grams or more but less than 200 grams

 

  • 8 – 20 years state prison
  • Mandatory minimum 8 years imprisonment in state prison

200 grams or more

 

  • 12 – 20 years state prison
  • 12-year mandatory minimum imprisonment in state prison

Trafficking Class D (Marijuana)

 Despite the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts, trafficking marijuana, a class D controlled substance, is illegal and carries serious penalties. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 94C §32E(a), marijuana trafficking is divided into four (4) categories based on weight:

 

 

50 pounds or more but less than 100 pounds:

 

A conviction for trafficking between 50-99 pounds of marijuana is punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 2 ½ years – 15 years in state prison or imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for a minimum one year but not more than two and one-half years. Under M.G.L. c. 94C s. 32E(a)(1), all marijuana trafficking convictions (50-99 pounds) result in a mandatory minimum one year term of imprisonment.

 

 

100 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds:

 

Pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 94C Section 32E(a)(2), conviction in this range is punishable by a term of imprisonment not less than two years and not more than fifteen years. No sentence under this section shall be for less than a mandatory minimum 2 years imprisonment.

 

 

2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds:

 

Under subsection (3) of M.G.L. c. 94C s. 32E(a), a conviction is punishable by a term of incarceration in state prison not less than 3 ½ years nor more than fifteen (15) years. A conviction carries a mandatory minimum three and one-half years imprisonment.

 

 

10,000 pounds or more:

 

Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 94C s. 32E(a)(4), a conviction is punishable by a state prison sentence ranging anywhere from 8 – 15 years. The mandatory minimum sentence is eight years imprisonment.

 

In addition to imprisonment, convictions for trafficking marijuana may result in a large fine and additional fees depending on the terms of the plea agreement or judge’s sentence.

 

 

Reduced or Amended Charges


In cases where the evidence is strong and the motion to suppress was denied, negotiating a plea deal involving a dismissal, reduction, or amendment of the trafficking charges is a possible alternative to trial. Other than a not guilty verdict at trial, negotiating a dismissal, reduction, or amendment of the trafficking charge(s) is necessary to avoid a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.

 

 

Motion to Suppress


In most drug cases, it is common practice to file a motion to suppress evidence. A skilled criminal defense attorney with knowledge of Massachusetts drug laws and constitutional rights may convince the judge that the evidence (e.g., drugs; drug paraphernalia) was discovered after the police conducted an unconstitutional search or violated the terms of a search warrant, and as a result, should be suppressed. 

 

 

When a judge “suppresses” evidence, the prosecution cannot use that particular evidence at trial, often leading to a dismissal of the case. Generally, a suppression of evidence occurs when the motion judge finds law enforcement violated an individual’s constitutional rights, which may occur in any number of ways. Often, a suppression of evidence results after a judge rules that the police did not have permission to conduct a warrantless search of the defendant’s person, motor vehicle, home, or apartment.

 

 

Contact Massachusetts Drug Defense Lawyer 

Due to the serious nature of drug trafficking charges, including mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment, having a knowledgeable Massachusetts criminal defense attorney representing you may be the difference between prison and probation, guilty and not guilty. Founder, Anthony R. Riccio, has represented numerous individuals on drug trafficking and other drug-related charges where he successfully negotiated a  reduction or dismissal of the trafficking charges.

 

If you have been charged with drug trafficking or other drug-related charges in the Commonwealth, call (508) 226-4500 or visit Riccio Law’s website here to schedule a free case evaluation with Attorney Riccio.

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