Heroin Laws In Massachusetts

If You Are Caught with Heroin, Will You Face Federal Charges?

A federal prosecutor may take interest in your case if the underlying circumstances indicate that you were trafficking in heroin across state lines, or if you have any criminal history of trafficking in narcotics. You could also face federal prosecution if the underlying incident happened on federal land, such as a national park.

Federal drug laws and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are extremely complex and frequently misunderstood, even by practicing attorneys. You will need a federal drug crimes attorney who knows the sentencing guidelines inside and out and who can defend you from the severe consequences of a conviction.

How many years in prison for possession of a Class A drug?

Under MA drug classifications, heroin is a Class A drug, a category that contains dangerous drugs due to their highly addictive nature and little or no medicinal value.

Heroin Possession Charges and Penalties

Is heroin a felony or a misdemeanor?

For a first time simple possession charge, you will be charged with a misdemeanor crime and face up to 2 years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

If you are charged with the misdemeanor offense of “being present where heroin is kept,” the state must prove you knew there was heroin present. A strong, experienced defense attorney can often discredit the prosecution on this front alone.

If you’re convicted of being where heroin is kept, you face up to 1 year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine, or both jail and the fine.

After first offenses, all heroin related drug charges become felonies.

Felony Penalties for Heroin in Massachusetts

Possession of Heroin 2nd or higher Offense:

  • Must be less than 14 grams;
  • 5 years minimum state prison time;
  • Up to 5 years max in state prison; and/or,
  • Up to $5,000 fine.

Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute:

  • For a first offense conviction, you face up to 2.5 years in jail;
  • A $1,000 to $10,000 fine, OR;
  • Up to 10 years in state prison.
  • 2nd conviction: Mandatory minimum 5 yrs prison, up to 15 years.

Trafficking in Heroin:

  • From < 28 grams, you face a mandatory minimum 5 years prison time up to 20 years imprisonment; and
  • An additional fine of at least $5,000 up to $50,000 may be imposed.
  • From < 100 grams, you face a mandatory minimum 7 years in prison, up to 20 years imprisonment; and
  • An additional fine of at least $5,000 up to $50,000 may be imposed.
  • From < 200 grams, you face a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, up to 20 years; and
  • An additional fine of at least $10,000 up to $100,000 may be imposed.

You can be charged with a separate felony offense if the drug crime you’re accused of took place near or on school grounds (school zone.) If convicted, the penalty for a drug violation near a school is a mandatory minimum of 2 years jail or prison time up to a maximum of 15 years behind bars.

When people are accused of a serious drug offense, they usually wonder whether they should fight the charges or plead guilty. Before making that vital decision, I’d urge you to talk to an experienced drug crime defense lawyer about your case and potential outcomes. For instance, if you were arrested with vehicle involvement, a drug conviction could cost you your driver’s license in addition to a lengthy sentence.

Attorney Gregory Oberhauser

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Gregory Oberhauser is the ONLY attorney in Massachusetts to be distinguished as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the American Chemical Society!

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