Drug crimes are taken very seriously in Massachusetts, and this includes cocaine-related offenses. While the Commonwealth classifies them as felonies, that doesn't mean you can't fight the charges or that you don't have any options regarding the course of your defense.
There are several different kinds of cocaine charges in Massachusetts. Each one has specific penalties associated with it. Besides the type of charge you are facing, other factors can affect what may happen if you are convicted.
Factors that impact a possible sentence
Your criminal history matters. Courts usually have lesser penalties for first-time offenders, but second and subsequent charges can bring greater penalties.
The amount of cocaine associated with the case also helps determine the sentence. Larger quantities of drugs tend to mean more serious charges.
It is possible that you might not have to face the harshest penalties that are associated with these charges. In some cases, the prosecution might be willing to entertain a plea deal for a cocaine case. This might happen because you are able to provide information on a higher-level person in the cocaine trade. It might also be done to help reduce the strain on the criminal justice system.
Some first or second-time defendants who have been charged with a cocaine offense might be able to go through drug court. If available, this option could provide you with help to get clean and sober while you are under the court's supervision.
Sentences for cocaine convictions
The most serious charge related to cocaine is trafficking. Crimes that are associated with at least 14 grams of cocaine are considered trafficking. Here are the penalties for trafficking in Massachusetts:
- 14 to 28 grams: 3 to 15 years in prison
- 28 to 100 grams: 5 to 20 years in prison
- 100 to 200 grams: 10 to 20 years in prison
- 200 grams or more: 15 to 20 years in prison
The sale of cocaine is a mid-level cocaine charge. For a first conviction, you are looking at 2 to 10 years in prison. Subsequent offenses carry an increased penalty of 5 to 15 years in prison.
Possession of cocaine involves the least serious of these charges. You face one year in prison on a first conviction or two years with subsequent convictions.
Know your rights and options
Every situation is different. It is imperative that you take the time to consider the defense options in your case. Having an open mind, especially if you admit that you did do what you were accused of, can help you determine the course of your defense.