Late last week I got a call from a new client greatly concerned because he had just been arrested and charged with heroin trafficking in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The man was at an apartment in Lawrence apparently looking for some heroin to satisfy his habit. Several other customers were there as well. While buying a small quantity of the drug several law enforcement officials entered the home pursuant to a search warrant. A search revealed in excess of two hundred grams of heroin, an amount consistent with trafficking. Everyone present was arrested and charged with trafficking heroin.
How Our Client Ended Up at a Drug House
This man’s story is not unlike many of the clients we have been recently represented. Several years ago this man was involved in an accident requiring extended hospitalization and numerous surgeries. He was prescribed opiates. He quickly became dependent on the drugs. When his prescriptions ran out he turned to the streets, eventually using heroin to curb his pain. That craving led him to the bowels of nearby cities where he found various people (drug dealers) who could provide him with inexpensive fixes of the drug.
Defenses to the This Heroin Trafficking Charge
Police and, at times prosecutors have tendencies to “overcharge” crimes. In this case, everyone present during the execution of the search warrant was charged with drug trafficking. A reading of the police report makes clear that only one person was selling, another was facilitating the sales and the remaining people were there to purchase to drugs. So, how do we defend this case without having to wait for an indictment and a trial? One way is simply to educate the district attorney on his own case.
Our client has an unremarkable criminal history, most of which dates back to the late 1980’s. He works to support his wife and children. He never once applied for or received public assistance. He has a modest bank account, a reasonable mortgage for someone his age and debt that one would expect for a person with his means. So, trying to avoid an indictment the first thing we did was point this out to the district attorney screening this case. The next thing we did was present him with our client’s medical history thereby demonstrating the circumstances that led to addiction. We also provided the prosecutor with the prescriptions for the opiates showing the origin of the drug abuse problems our client suffers from.
We also pointed out that our client had very little money on him at the time of the search. He does not live in Lawrence nor has he been seen in that area. His name was not mentioned by an informant working for the prosecution. He is not a known drug dealer and he has no drug related criminal convictions. More importantly, Massachusetts law makes clear that presence only at the scene of a crime is not sufficient evidence that this person committed that crime. In other words, if the district attorney does not agree to drop the trafficking charge, on these facts a judge should dismiss them.
Hire a Massachusetts Heroin Trafficking Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime in Massachusetts you need to hire an experienced lawyer. You need someone who has successfully defended people accused of the same charges you are facing. Call Attorney Stephen Neyman now at 617-263-6800 or send us an email. Start your defense now. We can help you.