Massachusetts Drug Violations Charges in a School Zone
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Under Massachusetts Criminal law, the crime of committing a Drug Violation Near a School Zone may be found under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C, Sections 32J.
This offense provides an additional penalty for anyone convicted Distributing a Controlled Substance, Possessing with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Sale of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession with Intent to Sell Drug Paraphernalia, Drug Trafficking, or a drug offense involving a minor within 300 feet of school property between the hours of 5 AM and 12 midnight.
This law recognizes the special danger that illegal drugs pose to children, and in particular, schools. The additional penalties are designed to both punish offenders and deter other drug dealers from selling their illicit products to children and at or near school grounds.
If you have been charged with a Drug Violation in a School Zone and need an experienced Massachusetts Drug Crimes Attorney, call (508) 213-9113 to schedule your free consultation with the Law Office of John L. Calcagni, III.
Legal Elements for a School Zone Drug Violation
In order to be convicted of a Drug Violation in a School Zone under Massachusetts criminal law, there must exist strong evidence of the following three legal elements:
- that the defendant committed an underlying drug offense of distributing a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, sale of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to sell drug paraphernalia, drug trafficking, or a drug offense involving a minor
- that the underlying drug offense was committed within 300 feet of school property
- that the underlying offense occurred between the hours of five o’clock in the morning and twelve o’clock midnight
What is a School for Purposes of this Crime
For purposes of a School Zone Drug Violation under Massachusetts criminal law, a school may be a public or private preschool, elementary school, high school, head start facility, secondary school, trade school or vocational school.
A college does not qualify as a school under this law. A defendant’s lack of knowledge that the location of the underlying offense was within a school zone does not serve as a defense to this crime.
Knowledge is not required to establish a defendant’s guilt. His or her mere presence in the school zone during the requisite hours committing an underlying drug crime is all that is required for a conviction under this particular law.
Potential Punishment if Convicted of a School Zone Drug Violation
The punishment under Massachusetts criminal law for a Drug Violation in a School Zone may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C, Sections 32J.
Convicted offenders shall be punished by a state prison term of not less than 2 ½ years and not more than 15 years or a term in a house of corrections of not less than 2 years or more than 2 ½ years and/or a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
Jail time for any school zone violation is mandatory and runs consecutive to any term of incarceration imposed for the underlying drug offense.