According to a report released by Nolo.com, possession is the most common type of drug charge. Given drug regulations vary by state, possession laws are a tricky obstacle to navigate. While states such as Colorado and California where certain drugs are more widely accepted, Massachusetts still has laws that prevent the possession of marijuana up to a certain amount.
What Defines Possession?
In most cases, we think of possession as having illegal drugs on you. However, possession charges are much more complex. Here are three aspects that state government uses to define someone having possession of drugs:
1. Intentional possession of a controlled substance
This means that you knowingly had drugs in your pocket, bag, or vehicle. In certain instances, you could have been using another person’s belongings. If you’re able to prove that the drugs were not yours, you might have the charges dropped.
2. Large enough quantity for personal use or sale
This means the amount of drugs was enough for law enforcement to charge you. In Massachusetts, quantity laws vary depending on the type of drug. Someone caught with the possession of five grams of crack cocaine could serve up to 2 years in jail while someone in possession of two grams of marijuana wouldn’t serve time.
If you’re over the age of 21, marijuana is legal for public use so long as it meets a few of the following requirements:
- Five grams or less of marijuana concentrate
- Ten grams or less in a private residence
- Not in the act of buying or selling
While marijuana is technically legal for recreational use in Massachusetts, there are still a lot of ways you can acquire charges for this common drug. Since buying and selling marijuana is illegal, a lot of people still tend to run into legal issues when it comes to transferring the drug. Massachusetts law states that citizens can only gift up to one ounce of marijuana. All other distribution is illegal.
For more information on other drug penalties in Massachusetts check out this chart on adcare.com
3. No valid prescription
Drugs for medicinal use are completely legal. Have you been charged for the possession of drugs that were prescribed to you? You have a reason to be upset because you’ve been wrongfully charged. This is why it’s important to hire legal representation that advocates for your rights.
Tied up in a drug possession charge? Contact Brad Bailey Lawto start your case today!
Possession Charges: Actual vs. Constructive
In actual possession, the drugs are found directly on the person. For example, in your pocket, handbag, wallet, or purse. This leads authorities to charge you with direct evidence that you were in possession of drugs.
In constructive possession, the drugs are found in a place that leads authorities to believe they belong to you. For instance, a dog sniffs through school hallways and finds drugs in your locker. Since the drugs were not directly on you, this would be defined as constructive possession. Law enforcement has reasons to believe the drugs are in your control because of where they were found.
So, what does this mean for defending your charges? In most cases, constructive possession is easier to defend because the drugs were not located on you at the time authorities charged you with possession. However, each charge should not be taken lightly as penalties can be severe depending on the type of drug.
Boston Drug Crime Lawyer
Have you or a family member been charged with a drug crime? Whether it’s possession, distribution, or trafficking, our Boston drug crime lawyer is here to help. With a complete understanding of both state and federal drug charges, our team will help advocate for your case.
For a free consultation with our skilled drug crime attorney, contact us online or over the phone: (617) 500-0252!