Heroin has become the most problematic drug for prosecutors to deal with in Massachusetts. The number of heroin possession arrests builds everyday. No community is immune. From the most impoverished cities to the most affluent suburbs heroin use and addiction to the drug has run rampant. There is however a lack of consistency in the resolution of these cases from court to court in the Commonwealth. Getting a heroin conspiracy and possession case dismissed can be routine and easy for your lawyer in some courts and an extremely arduous endeavor in others. This post examines how some courts handle these cases and what you should expect from your lawyer if you are charged with a heroin related drug crime in Massachusetts.
Getting a General Continuance With Probationary Conditions
A general continuance is a method of disposing of a case that will leave you without a criminal record. It is similar to pretrial probation. The major difference however is that the probation department does not get involved in general continuances. Rather, you are responsible for honoring the conditions of your probation and proving to the district attorney at the end of the probationary term that you complied with all that you were obligated to do. This disposition is common in many Essex County courts where heroin use is prevalent. First time offenders with no other criminal records are good candidates for this disposition. The objective is to give the defendant a chance to overcome his or her problem through counseling or drug treatment without probation supervision. If you can get this result, take it. If you fail your probation the most that will happen is that you will face a prosecution for this crime at a later date.
Pretrial Probation and Heroin Possession
This form of case resolution is similar to a general continuance. The difference is that the probation department monitors the conditions imposed on you. While this is more burdensome than a GC you have to keep in mind that if you succeed and do what you agree to do you will not have a criminal record. Conditions of PTP often include drug testing, counseling, and structured meetings. A court sanctioned drug program might be ordered as well. Again, as with a GC, the objective is to get a first time offender with an unremarkable criminal record help. This too is a great result and one that you should discuss with your lawyer.
A Continuance Without a Finding
A continuance without a finding (CWOF) is another form of case resolution that will leave you without a criminal record. There is a big difference however between CWOFs and PTP or a GC. With a CWOF you essentially plead guilty to the underlying crime. The judge then declines to accept your guilty plea and places you on probation. If you successfully comply with the probationary requirements your case will be dismissed at the end date. If you do not comply however and you are found in violation, the judge can convert the CWOF to a guilty and sentence you up to the maximum permitted by law. So, for heroin possession, a violation of your CWOF can result in a two year committed house of correction sentence.
Hire Attorney Stephen Neyman Now
Our office has nearly thirty years success defending these cases. Call us at 617-263-6800 or send us an email if you have a drug case. We have proven results and we know that we can help you. Our phones are answered 24/7.