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Drug possession penalties in Massachusetts

An arrest for drug possession in Massachusetts can result in serious penalties, which vary depending on the type of drug, the amount and other factors. College students may be subject to sanctions from their universities as well as legal consequences such as fines, license suspension and even jail time.

If you face a drug-related court date, know what to expect by reviewing the Massachusetts possession penalties.

Penalties for Class A possession

The state categorizes controlled substances in classes from A, the most dangerous, to E, the least dangerous. Class A includes heroin as well as GHB, ketamine and morphine. A first Class A possession offense carries up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. For a second offense, you could receive up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. With intent to distribute, penalties increase to 2.5 years in jail, fines of up to $10,000 and a mandatory three-year license revocation.

Penalties for Class B possession

Examples of Class B substances include cocaine, methadone, LSD, PCP, prescription opiates, amphetamines and ecstasy. A first-time possession charge for a Class B drug carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail as well as a one-year license revocation. The penalties for intent to distribute a Class B drug are the same as for a Class A drug.

Penalties for other drug classes

Possession of a Class C controlled substance, including prescription narcotics, benzodiazepines and hallucinogens that do not fall into a higher class, carries up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense. The court will double these penalties for the second offense. Inhalants and barbiturates are Class D substances. Possession results in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. The same penalties apply to Class E substances, which include prescription narcotics that do not appear in a higher class.