New Bedford law enforcement agents arrest a significant number of people for drug crimes each year. People charged with drug offenses often worry that their conviction is inevitable, but there are several opportunities between an arrest and the resolution of a case to show that the prosecution lacks the evidence needed to establish guilt. If you are charged with a drug crime, it is critical to hire an attorney with the skills needed to help you protect your rights. Attorney Gary Pacella of the Law Office of Gary Pacella is an assertive New Bedford drug crime defense lawyer with the knowledge and resources needed to help you mount a compelling defense. Mr. Pacella’s office is in New Bedford, and he regularly represents people in criminal cases in New Bedford and Fall River, Fairhaven, and Wareham.Massachusetts Drug Crimes
There are numerous drug crimes under Massachusetts law, but the most common offenses people are charged with are possession of controlled substances, possession with intent to deliver and delivering controlled substances, and drug paraphernalia offenses.
Massachusetts classifies controlled substances into five categories, A through E, based on the composition of the substances and the potential for abuse. Typically, the seriousness of the drug charge and the penalties imposed for the charge vary depending on the nature of the drug or paraphernalia in question and the facts surrounding the underlying arrest. For example, a person found guilty of possessing more than an ounce of a Class E controlled substance may be sentenced to up to six months in prison and fined up to $500, while a person convicted of possession of a Class A substance may be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 for a first offense. A conviction for selling drug paraphernalia can result in a sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to $5,000, but in cases involving the sale of drug paraphernalia to a minor, the penalties increase to three to five years imprisonment and fines from $1,000 to $5,000.Possible Defenses to Drug Crimes
In Massachusetts, for a person to be convicted of a drug crime, the prosecution must establish each element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, they must show that the evidence weighs so heavily in favor of the prosecution’s position that no rational person could come to any conclusion other than that the defendant is guilty. Typically, the prosecution will use evidence gathered during the criminal investigation to attempt to meet this burden. If law enforcement agents violated the defendant’s rights while obtaining the evidence, though, it may be deemed inadmissible. For example, Massachusetts law protects people from entrapment. Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement agent persuades a person who had no intention of committing a crime to violate the law. If a defendant can show that they were entrapped, they should be found not guilty.
Additionally, the United States and Massachusetts Constitutions provide that people have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. This means that absent exigent circumstances, the police must have a warrant to search a person or their property. Further, if they have a warrant, they are limited to its terms. In other words, they cannot exceed the limitations of the warrant by searching locations or people they do not have permission to search. If they do not comply with the rules regarding searches, they may be precluded from submitting any evidence they find to the judge or jury at trial. Even if they conduct a valid search and find evidence of a drug crime during that investigation, they must still prove that the materials in question belonged to the defendant and not another party.Speak to a Skilled New Bedford Drug Crime Defense Lawyer
Drug crime convictions can irreparably damage people’s rights, reputations, and career prospects. Not all arrests lead to guilty verdicts, though, and there are often numerous defenses available that can help people avoid convictions. If you are charged with a drug crime, it is prudent to contact an attorney as soon as possible. New Bedford criminal defense attorney Gary Pacella is well-versed in what it takes to achieve successful outcomes in drug crime cases, and if you engage his services, he can advise you of your rights and gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of achieving a favorable result. Mr. Pacella’s office is located in New Bedford, and he frequently represents people accused of drug crimes in New Bedford and Fairhaven, Fall River, and Wareham. You can reach Mr. Pacella through the online form or by calling 508-525-4147 to set up a free and confidential meeting.