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Common Drug Crime Defenses in Massachusetts

Posted on February 28, 2022 in

A drug crime is not something that you want to be accused of in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth takes drug offenses seriously and often punishes them harshly to serve as a warning for future offenders. It is important to hire a drug crime defense lawyer in Middlesex County as soon as possible if you were arrested for drug charges. A lawyer can create the strongest possible defense strategy on your behalf. You may have several options available to you.

Lack of Constructive Possession

In any criminal case, it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that the defendant is guilty of the charges entered beyond a reasonable doubt. In a drug crime case, this means proving that the defendant was knowingly in possession of an illicit substance. Being in possession of a drug can mean that it was on your person or in your home or vehicle. The mere presence of a drug, however, is not proof of a crime. In general, it is also necessary to show that the defendant was in control of the drug.

Your lawyer may be able to base a defense on the argument that just because you were in the area or vehicle where the police found drugs does not mean that you were in possession of them, had control over them or that you possessed drugs with the intent to distribute them. The drugs might have belonged to someone else. There may also not be evidence that you knew that the drugs were there. The mere presence of an illegal substance may not be strong enough proof to convict you of a drug crime.

Illegal Search or Seizure

Another common drug crime defense in Massachusetts is a breach of constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment gives all U.S. citizens the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. In general, a search or seizure is only reasonable if the police have probable cause or lawful authority. For example, the police must have had a warrant to search your property for illegal drugs or probable cause to suspect that you committed a drug crime. If a search or seizure was unlawful, your lawyer can have any related evidence obtained thrown out.

Missing Drugs

It is a necessary component of a drug crime charge to prove that the defendant was in possession of an illegal substance – a controlled substance that is viewed as dangerous or highly addictive by the government, such as cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. Your lawyer may be able to base a defense on missing drugs or a lack of proof that the substance in question was actually an illicit drug. 

For instance, an attack of chain of custody defense argues that issues in how the drugs were handled when passed along the chain of command means that the prosecutor cannot prove that the drugs in question were in fact the ones taken from the defendant. Similarly, errors and discrepancies in a crime lab analysis report could demonstrate the inability of the prosecutor to prove the chemical composition of the drugs.


The entrapment defense asserts that the defendant would not have committed the crime were it not for undue pressure by a law enforcement officer for the purpose of indicting the defendant. If law enforcement set up an undercover operation to catch you buying drugs, for example, but the officer induced you to commit the crime using coercion or intimidation when you otherwise would not have, this is entrapment.

There are many potential defenses against drug crime charges in Massachusetts. The right option for you will depend on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, the evidence against you, your criminal background, and other factors. Protect yourself and your future by contacting Spring & Spring for a free legal consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.