What is Decriminalization?

On April 13, 2018 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform. In sum, the new law makes several sweeping changes to criminal justice laws in Massachusetts.

Above all, this blog post will be one post in a series dedicated to addressing one aspect of the new law: decriminalization.

What is decriminalization?

Laws that are decriminalized are no longer punishable by a criminal conviction.

For example, in Commonwealth v. Keefner, 461 Mass. 507 (2012) the court decriminalized possession of one once or less of marijuana. Decriminalization is important because it is one way you can expunge, or wipe clean, a criminal charge from your record.

What are Class B controlled substances?

Section 46 of the new law updates the list of what Class B controlled substances are regarding drug possession crimes.

Class B controlled substances now include the following:

  • Alphaprodine
  • Anileridine
  • Bezitramide
  • Dihydrocodeine
  • Diphenoxylate
  • Isomethadone
  • Levomethorphan
  • Levorphanol
  • Metazocine
  • Methadone
  • Methadone-Intermediate, 4-cyano-2-dimethylamino-4, 4-diphenyl butane
  • Moramide-Intermediate, 2-methyl-3 morpholine-1, 1-diphenyl-propane carboxylic acid
  • Pethidine
  • Pethidine-Intermediate-A, 4-cyano-1-methyl-4-phenylpiperidine
  • Pethidine-Intermediate-B, ethyl-4-phenylpiperidine-4-carboxylate
  • Pethidine-Intermediate-C, 1-methyl-4-phenylpiperidine-4-carboxylic acid
  • Phenazocine
  • Piminodine
  • Racemethorphan
  • Racemorphan

What is a Class C controlled substance offense?

Section 47 of the new law moves on to discuss another element of drug possession crimes: Class C offenses.

The new law states that any person who knowingly or intentionally manufacturers, distributes, dispenses or possesses with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance of Class C characteristics can be imprisoned in state prison for no more than five years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one half years, or by a fine of at least $500 but no more than $5,000, or BOTH fine and imprisonment.

Moreover, any person convicted of a Class C violation after one or more prior convictions can be punished by a term of imprisonment in state prison for:

  • In sum, a maximum of 10 years
  • A fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000

…Or, moreover, a term of imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for:

  • Not more than two and one half years
  • A fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE A LEGAL QUESTION ABOUT CRIMINAL JUSTICE, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.

CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.

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