Expert defense against Trafficking, Distribution, and Possession charges.
The Massachusetts Controlled Substances Act makes it a crime to traffic in, distribute or possess controlled substances including but not limited to Cocaine, Heroin, and Fentanyl. The Massachusetts Legislature has “scheduled” individual drugs based on factors like risk of abuse and addiction into five categories: Classes A through E. While the possession of up to one ounce of Marijuana in public, or 10 oz. of marijuana at home is now legal in the Commonwealth, it remains a crime to distribute (sell) marijuana and to drive under the influence of marijuana.
In a drug case, the District Attorney will send a sample of the substance that was seized to a lab to be analyzed and tested. If the test results show the presence of an illegal substance, they will produce a “drug certificate” attesting to the presence of a controlled substance. At trial, the D.A. will seek to introduce the findings of the “drug certificate” through the testimony of a state chemist. For years in Massachusetts, drug certificates were produced by individuals who lacked the competence and/or the background to conduct reliable tests.
To establish evidence of distribution, the DA will elicit testimony from officers who are often part of a drug task force. The officers will testify to certain facts they believe are indicative of drug dealing based on their training and experience. Common examples include: police observation of hand-to-hand exchanges, police observation of “meaningless rides to nowhere,” the presence of “cut-corner” plastic sandwich bags, cuff-notes, digital scales, multiple cell phones and/or US currency. A possession charge is usually treated with far more leniency than a charge of distribution or possession with intent to distribute. Trafficking charges are based on weight and are the most serious drug offenses, usually carrying mandatory minimum sentences that must be served day for day.
As a prosecutor in New Bedford and Fall River, Attorney Winn litigated drug cases daily. Now he routinely defends individuals charged with drug crimes in district and superior court. He is an expert in litigating pretrial motions to suppress illegal searches and seizures, defective search warrants, and in trying cases before judges and juries. Attorney Winn also brings with him vast experience with complex litigation and expert witnesses, allowing his clients to fight charges from every possible angle.
In a recent case Attorney Winn was able to dispose of a Possession to Distribute Class B (Cocaine) by raising the issue that the defendant was stopped and searched in violation of his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment and Art. 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The alleged bags of cocaine were excluded from evidence as “fruit of the poisonous tree” and the case was dismissed for failure to prosecute.
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