In Massachusetts, cocaine is among the most heavily trafficked drugs. It is a Class B illegal substance, along with many prescription opioids. In other words, it is a crime to possess, manufacture, or sell cocaine in the state of Massachusetts. Most cocaine-related offenses (whether the drug is in powder or rock form) are considered felonies, the most serious type of crime. Massachusetts laws impose severe penalties for cocaine offenses, due in part to the threat of violence that often arises in the drug’s trade. Federal law also prohibits the possession, manufacture and sale of cocaine and other illegal drugs.
If convicted of a cocaine related offense, you may face the following penalties:
- Possession of cocaine is punished by one year in prison for the first offense and a possible $1000 fine; subsequent offenses can lead to a two-year prison sentence and up to a $2000 fine.
- Possession of cocaine with an intent to distribute is punished by a two-and-a-half year prison sentence and fines of up to $10,000. Subsequent offenses can lead to a mandatory three-year prison sentence.
- The sale of cocaine is punished by a two to 10 year prison sentence and fines of up to $10,000 for the first offense; subsequent offenses can lead to a five to 10 year sentence.
- Trafficking (possessing or selling more than 14 grams of cocaine) is the most serious of the cocaine offenses. The first offense can lead to a 15-year prison sentence and fines of up to $25,000. Subsequent offenses can lead to a 25-year prison sentence and fines of up to $100,000.
Punishments may be more severe depending on how much cocaine was involved and your prior criminal history, if any. Convictions for cocaine-related crimes can also lead to the loss of your driver’s license. A Boston drug crimes defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with a drug-related offense.
What to Do if You Are Charged
Given the serious penalties associated with cocaine-related offenses, anyone charged with such a crime should seek immediate legal assistance. Before talking to the police, invoke your Fifth Amendment constitutional right to remain silent and call an attorney. If a prosecutor does not want you released on bail, or asks for a very high bail, an attorney can help you argue to the court for a release on bail or a reduced bail.
An experienced MA drug crimes attorney can also help assess the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and determine whether you have a valid defense. Further, he or she can help you assess your chances of prevailing at a trial.
Plea bargains or reductions in the seriousness of the charge without a trial are often a possibility in drug-related cases. An attorney can help negotiate with a prosecutor so that you receive a less severe penalty, sometimes in exchange for cooperation with other investigations. Skilled legal counsel may also be able to help you divert your case to Drug Court, a specialized court that focuses on giving offenders treatment and rehabilitation instead of jail time. Drug Court is often available to first and second-time offenders. These courts may assist defendants with access to social services and other mental health services as well. Many experts credit Drug Courts with being the most successful path for offenders, leading them out of the criminal justice system and into long-term recovery.
Call Altman & Altman, LLP—Boston’s Premier Drug Crimes Defense Law Firm
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, including cocaine-related offenses, the experienced legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have extensive experience representing criminal defendants in all jurisdictions in Massachusetts. We will ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward with any legal strategy. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.