Drug crimes arrests are made every day in Massachusetts and in virtually all cities and towns. No municipality is immune to the current drug problems plaguing this state. Newspaper articles of arrests and drug busts flood the internet daily in support of this statement. What many articles do not make clear however is what exactly happened. Rather, there is a tendency to post headlines only; i.e. that an arrest was made in a particular town for a particular charge. You don’t know how the arrest was made, why the arrest was made or just how strong the district attorney’s case is relative to the person being charged. Take for example the recent arrest of Brandon J. Sones and Michael Russell, two twenty-four year old men arrested in Marlborough and charged with a variety of Massachusetts drug crimes. Just how serious are these cases? What if anything will they be convicted of? What did they really do? Based on the press release alone this post takes a look at some thoughts I have in this case.
The Charges of Trafficking Heroin Over Fourteen Grams
Both Sones and Russell have been charged with trafficking heroin in excess of fourteen grams but less than twenty-eight grams. What exactly does that mean? Well for one thing the Massachusetts heroin trafficking statute, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C Section 32E(c) sets the threshold weight for trafficking at eighteen grams. So, if the quantity of heroin seized is less than eighteen grams there is no trafficking charge that can be filed against these two. If the quantity of heroin found equals or exceeds eighteen grams then the sentence range is three and one half years to twenty years with three and one half being a minimum mandatory. But, is that what they are going to get? Unlikely. This is the lowest level heroin trafficking case in Massachusetts. Based on the charges mentioned in the press release there are several suggestions that this is not a trafficking case. Lets examine that for a moment.
Possession of Class A Heroin: A Subsequent Offense
Second and subsequent offense heroin possession in Massachusetts is a felony that carries a possible state prison sentence. The sentence is not a minimum mandatory and judges can continue these without a finding. The fact that Sones and Russell were charged with heroin possession suggests that they are users, not necessarily dealers. If that is in fact the case then charging them with trafficking is excessive and unnecessary. As I mentioned in a previous post it is almost as if the prosecution is saying “let’s charge them with a crime larger than the one they committed to force a plea to a lesser charge”. This is improper. If the defendants in this case are users they should be treated as users. Provide them with alternatives to punishment that will help them deal with their addiction and hopefully overcome it.
A Lawyer Who Gets You The Right Result
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, PC gets the right result for their clients. We fight for our clients. If they are not guilty we will go to trial for them. If they are not guilty of the crime for which they were charged but for something else, we will make sure the prosecution gets it right. Call us at 617-263-6800 or email our office. We can help.