Sometimes referred to as the “City of Champions,” Brockton is located in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. It is a large, densely populated city with a much higher rate of crime than both Massachusetts as a whole and the United States. Last year by one account, there were 1,162 violent crimes and 3,243 property crimes in Brockton. In 2011, the Brockton police issued a statement attributing the local crime increase to the economic downturn and a rise in illegal use of prescription drugs. Law enforcement officials believe the latter is a gateway to harder substances.
Criminal sentences for a wide array of crimes can be quite severe in Massachusetts. If you have been accused of a crime or are unhappy with a conviction, an experienced Brockton criminal defense attorney with knowledge of both trial and appellate procedures may be able to help you fight the charge or conviction.
Although the police believe that the increase in crime generally may be due to an upswing in prescription drug abuse, there are many types of drug crimes in Brockton and the surrounding areas, each with their own severe penalties. Drugs illegal in Massachusetts include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and LSD. Some common drug crimes include drug possession, possession with intent to sell, manufacturing, and trafficking.
The state categorizes drugs into Classes A, B, C, D, and E. Class A includes heroin, morphine, GHB, and Special K. Class B includes cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, and prescription pain pills like Percocet and Codeine. Class C includes prescription tranquilizers and narcotics, as well as hallucinogens. Marijuana and lesser doses of certain prescription narcotics fall into Class D. Class E charges target light doses of prescription narcotics.
In Massachusetts, mandatory minimum sentences are attached to particular offenses, most notably drug crimes and gun crimes. While crimes like assault carry a maximum sentence with no requirement of a minimum amount of prison time, crimes involving large-scale amounts of Class A drugs—like cocaine possession or sale of heroin—carry mandatory minimums.
This means that judges must send defendants who are convicted of specific drug offenses to prison for extended periods of time, even if their role was minor. For example, trafficking heroin in amounts of 14-28 grams carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years of imprisonment. On top of that, a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000 may be imposed. These sentences can even be placed on someone who simply acted as a courier in a heroin trafficking situation. Mandatory minimum sentences are also imposed on people convicted of drug offenses within 1,000 feet of a school or 100 feet of a park.
For certain drug crimes, you can be prosecuted in federal, rather than state court, where sentencing may be even harsher. Not all attorneys practice in both state and federal court.
Our principal, Brockton criminal defense lawyer Stephen Neyman, has years of experience in both jurisdictions at the trial and appellate levels. If you have been charged with a drug crime or other crime, we may be able to help you. Contact us at (617) 263-6800 or via our online form.