Please see: An Overview of Drug Crime Defenses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Proving Drug Possession
The elements of drug possession are very straightforward (you can read about the common defenses to the charge of drug possession here), but for such an ordinary crime, the cases in which it is charged are very diverse. For one thing, the circumstances in which the police uncover the drugs are exceedingly important, both in the way the case is treated by the district attorney's office, as well as the district attorney's prospects of being able to introduce the drugs into evidence at trial.
Treatment and Probation
Beyond the elements of proof in the case, since the decriminalization of simple possession of marijuana, it is rare that someone will be charged with drug possession as their first and only offense. In cases where the defendant has no record, the court, the probation department, and the district attorney's office are almost always uninterested in punishment for the person accused, but are instead interested in requiring that he or she enter and complete a program to address drug addiction. Of course, this depends on the facts of the case, and whether there are any additional charges involved.
Still, the district attorney is not going to let the case go for nothing, and you should always be careful that the conditions of probation are not setting you up to fail.
Subsequent Offenses and Probation Violations
More often, however, a charge of drug possession follows any number of previous offenses, at which point the district attorney will have forgotten rehabilitation, and decided that it is time for punishment. Oftentimes, there will be an open probation matter in which the probation department may ask that the defendant be held on a probation detainer without bail pending a probation violation hearing. Also, if the offense is charged as a subsequent offense, the penalties can increase dramatically.
Still, in the midst of everything, in addition to employing the common defense strategies discussed above, there are chances for an experienced attorney to work on your behalf to minimize potential consequences. With so many processes going on at once, it is important to consult an attorney early on.
Contact me today to set up a free and private consultation if you or someone you know is charged with a drug offense.
See: G.L. c. 94c; An Overview of Drug Crime Defenses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Probation Detainers, Probation Violation Hearings.