Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Things to Understand About Defeating Drug Distribution Charges in Massachusetts

A man was arraigned in Ayer District Court recently after he was found to have been in possession of cocaine with a street value of $16,8000 and marijuana estimated at approximately $2,850. The man was also in possession of two illegally-owned handguns. 

The arrest was the result of an investigation into an alleged cocaine distribution scheme in the Westford area. A search of a home and a Tyngsboro storage locker led to the discovery of crack cocaine and powdered cocaine. The suspect was also found in possession of marijuana with an estimated street value of $2,850, two illegally-owned handguns, $45,8000 in cash, and drug packaging materials.

Based on a report provided by the district’s attorney’s office, the suspect was engaged in a long-standing cocaine distribution network. The suspect was charged with trafficking cocaine over 100 grams, conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance, possession of a Class D substance, possession of a Class B substance, and possession of a firearm without a license.

Defeating Distribution Charges in Massachusetts

One of the most powerful ways to beat distribution charges in Massachusetts is by attacking the basis of the Commonwealth’s evidence regarding drug possession. While cocaine charges are often easier to resolve than those involving Fentanyl or heroin, no charge is without its defenses. This article reviews four of the most common techniques used to weaken the prosecution’s argument.

The Prosecution Must Establish Distribution

To prove distribution, the prosecution must establish that the person being charged “intentionally or knowingly” distributed the substance. Massachusetts law defines distribution as any method of delivery, which involves the process of transferring a controlled substance from one person to another. If law enforcement cannot show that a person distributed drugs, a distribution conviction will not stand. 

Establishing Constructive Transfer

Constructive transfer occurs if the prosecution can show that a person was aware of a transaction and in control of the transaction. A person need not have physically been present at the time of distribution. Instead, “constructive transfer” can be shown if there is proof of communication between the person being charged and the individual who actually transferred the drugs.

Probable Cause Was Lacking

Before searching a home, Massachusetts law enforcement obtains a warrant by arguing that there was probable cause for such a warrant to be issued. Judges in Massachusetts only issue search warrants in drug offenses when a law enforcement officer prepares an affidavit proving probable cause to believe that the drugs will be found in the place to be searched. Many search warrants rely on information supplied to law enforcement by confidential informants, but law enforcement officers can only rely on this information if it is classified as both reliable and trustworthy. As a result, it is often possible to attack the constitutional basis of a search warrant by arguing that the motion should have been suppressed.

Do Not Hesitate to Speak with a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyer

Drug charges are a serious matter. If you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney today, do not hesitate to contact attorney Edward R Molari.