The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that a fifteen year old high school student has been charged with distributing marijuana in a school zone. According to reports, the juvenile is believed to be the person that sold marijuana to another student at the school. The principal recovered nine ten dollar bags of marijuana and twelve dollars on the juvenile. The juvenile is scheduled to appear in Lawrence Juvenile Court.
Although all of the facts in this case are not known, a defendant charged with distribution of marijuana or intent to distribute marijuana in a school zone faces a mandatory sentence of two years in jail. The fact that in Massachusetts possession of under an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized has given many teenagers a false sense of security. Although straight possession of marijuana under an ounce is not considered a criminal offense, the possession of under an ounce of marijuana with the intent to distribute and/or the distribution of under an ounce of marijuana is a criminal offense with stiff penalties. Simply passing a joint or a small amount of marijuana to a friend is considered “distribution” in Massachusetts. There is no requirement that money pass from a “seller” to a “buyer” in order for the “seller” i.e., distributor, to be charged with distribution.
In this case, the juvenile was questioned and told the authorities that he sold the contraband in Lowell Massachusetts. Depending on the circumstances, filing a motion to suppress this statement may be appropriate. In Massachusetts, the police (or anyone acting under the color of the state) cannot interrogate or question a suspect who is in custody unless he or she has been advised of the “Miranda Rights.” The “Miranda Rights” basically inform a suspect that he or she does not have to speak to the police, that he or she may contact an attorney, that anything he or she says can be used against him or her in court and that if he or she cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to him or her. In the event that the statement is suppressed, the Commonwealth’s case against the juvenile for possession with intent to distribute is significantly weakened if not destroyed.
The types of factors that a finder of fact examines to determine whether a controlled substance was simply “possessed” or “possessed with intent to distribute” are the following: Whether a scale was found: Whether a large sum of money was found; Whether any cuttting implements were found such as a mirror: Whether plastic baggies were found and whether there were any admissible incriminating statements made by the defendant. The presence of any drug paraphernalia is a factor that is carefully scrutinized.
If you have been charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance or distribution of a controlled substance you must have an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney on your side.
Our Attorney routinely appears in Massachusetts courts including Peabody, Lawrence and Salem fighting for her clients. If you have been charged with a drug offense or any crime of violence contact Our Attorney online or and start to build a successful defense.