Last fall Christopher Al-Nabulsi was a senior at Salem High School. On December 6, 2007 he sold a $15 bag of marijuana to another classmate at school. The other student was caught and identified Al-Nabulsi as the supplier. School officials searched his backpack and found 3 additional packets of marijuana. Al-Nabulsi was expelled from school and charged with distribution of marijuana in a school zone. At that time he was the captain of the football and lacrosse teams. On September 4, 2008 he was convicted in the Salem District Court for possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. Through a plea bargain he received a 2 1/2 year suspended sentence with an additional 2 years probation. In exchange for his guilty plea the prosecution agreed to drop the school zone charge. Al-Nabulsi has not graduated from high school as neighboring towns will not accept his enrollment due to these charges. The story was reported in the Salem News. Read full article, September 5, 2008.
Under the Massachusetts school zone statute the defendant in this case was facing a minimum mandatory 2 years in jail. The prosecution exercised great discretion and elected to drop the school zone charge provided that the defendant plead guilty to the possession with intent to distribute marijuana charge. Massachusetts law makes this crime a felony.
As noted by the defense attorney in his interview with the Salem News, this case calls into question the fairness of certain aspects of the Massachusetts drug laws. Al-Nabulsi was just 17 at the time that he committed this crime. The person to whom he sold was 15 years old and also a student at the same high school. The quantity was small. The substance, while illegal is perhaps the most benign controlled substances. Al-Nabulsi now has a felony conviction and no high school degree. Prior to this incident his life appeared to by quite promising. Felony convictions however cannot be sealed for at least 15 years in Massachusetts.
Criminal convictions and the record that follows can have devastating consequences on an individual. The defendant in this case will be 33 years old before his felony conviction can be sealed. Understanding your rights and options is critical. Before you plead guilty make sure you have consulted a lawyer. If you have already pleaded guilty you still have certain rights that you can exercise to improve your situation. The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. has succeeded in sealing records and getting criminal convictions vacated. Contact us now to discuss your case.
Related Web Resources:
High School and Youth Trends, National Institute on Drug Abuse