If you are charged with a drug crime, your defense attorney will review the circumstances surrounding your charge and determine your best defense. In many cases, you will have a combination of defenses. Remember, the state has the burden of proof in any criminal case, and you have the right to raise as many defenses as are applicable to your situation. There are some defenses that are more commonly used than others in Massachusetts.
Mere Presence Defense
A “Mere Presence” defense is when a defendant charged with a drug crime claims the illegal substance found belonged to someone else, and they were merely present. An example of when this defense would be used is if there is a drug bust in an apartment you are visiting, and law enforcement charges every person in the apartment, regardless of who the drugs belong to or who had actual knowledge of the drugs.
Entrapment (Police Abuse of Power)
Entrapment is a defense that maintains the person being charged with the crime would not have participated in the criminal activity had law enforcement not been involved and provided pressure for the defendant to commit the crime. Often in these cases, the drugs in questions are provided by the state.
Lack of Possession
Possession is key in proving a drug crime case. There are two types of possession you may be charged with in Massachusetts:
- Actual: When a person is charged with having drugs on their physical person, such as in their pocket, they are being charged with actual possession.
- Constructive: Constructive possession is a charge used when an individual does not have drugs on their person, but they do have the ability to exercise custody or control over the narcotics in question.
Lack of Intent to Distribute
Intent to distribute is proven with circumstantial evidence, such as how the drugs are packaged, and whether or not other items used for the sale of narcotics, such as a scale, are present. The less circumstantial evidence there is, the higher the probability a lack of intent to distribute defense will be successful.
Unlawful Search & Seizure
An unlawful search and seizure defense is based on a claim that law enforcement violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment Rights found in the United States Constitution. If the defendant’s constitutional right were violated, an unlawful search and seizure defense can be successful.
Medical Marijuana Defense
If the drug in question was prescribed by a physician, there is a valid defense that it was being used for medical reasons.
Confer With A Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Waiting to obtain representation may limit your ability to defend yourself properly. At Maceo Law, P.C., we are experienced in helping clients craft a defense that provides them the protection they need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our phone number is 617-208-0505 or you may reach us via our contact page.