Articles Posted in Drug Charges

On April 18, 2017 BI, a 28 year old waitress from North Andover with an addiction to opiates, got pulled over by members of the Essex County Drug Task Force, after she was observed making a hand to hand buy of drugs from a dealer who was under surveillance. In addition to working as a waitress BI is also a full time student at a local college with a financial aid package. The police did not arrest BI, but told her that she would receive a notice from Lawrence District Court. The notice came and informed BI that an application for a criminal complaint for Possession of Heroin had been filed against her by the State Police and that a hearing would be held at the Court before a Clerk-Magistrate on September 7, 2017. The purpose of the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing is for the Clerk to determine if there is probable cause to issue a criminal complaint. In BI’s case there was plenty of probable cause. The police had observed a hand to hand sale and she produced the two bags of heroin when stopped by the police.

BI consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin encouraged BI to get into drug treatment/counseling which she did. Attorney Lewin explained the purpose of the hearing to BI and he told BI that he would ask the Clerk-Magistrate not to issue a criminal complaint against BI, but rather to continue the hearing for an appropriate period of time and if she remained clean and out of trouble to then dismiss the application for the criminal complaint. Attorney Lewin explained to BI that his request was a real reach, but the worst the Clerk-Magistrate could say is no.

On September 7, 2017 BI and Attorney Lewin (and BI’s Mother) appeared at Lawrence District Court for the hearing. The Clerk-Magistrate heard the facts of the case from the police prosecutor. Attorney Lewin then explained that BI was addicted to opiates, but that she was in a program of counseling and she was in a vivitrol smart recovery program. Attorney Lewin informed the Clerk-Magistrate that BI both worked and went to college and was on financial aid. A conviction (or even the issuance of a complaint for possession of heroin) could get BI expelled from school and she could lose her financial aid. Because of the rise in opiate deaths (and because BI had a prior arrest for Distribution of Heroin) the Clerk-Magistrate was reluctant to not issue a complaint. Finally, the Clerk-Magistrate addressed BI and said “I am going to take a chance on you and I hope I am not making a deadly mistake”. The Clerk-Magistrate then continued the hearing until December 29, 2017 and told BI that if she stays out of trouble between now and that date then on December 29, 2017 the application for a criminal complaint will be dismissed and she will not be charged, she will  not have to go in front of a judge, and no criminal record will be created as a result of this case.

On May 3, 2016 ZA, a 25 year old grocery clerk from Lynn, ingested a substantial quantity of drugs. He got in his car and was driving through Topsfield. The police found ZA in his vehicle. He appeared to be unconscious. The car was running; his foot was on the brake; his arms were on the steering wheel; and his body slumped over the wheel. The police noticed drool coming from his mouth. The police turned the car off and got ZA up and out of the car. During a search of ZA and the vehicle the police found the following:

  •  Soft case containing $135.00 in rolled up money.
  • Envelope containing $400.

KC, a 27 year old mechanic from Hampstead, NH, got caught purchasing heroin during a police surveillance operation at a hotel in Andover. He was arrested on Saturday, December 26, 2015 and released to appear in Lawrence District Court for an arraignment on December 29, 2015. KC retained Attorney Robert Lewin to represent him and to appear in Court with him for his arraignment on December 29, 2015. KC’s timing was excellent. KC had no criminal record and is a Veteran. If his arraignment actually took place on December 29, 2015 then a criminal record would be created. It was important to try to avoid an arraignment from taking place.

Attorney Lewin had no less than three approaches to avoiding the arraignment. First, KC, as a Veteran who served in combat, was eligible to have his case diverted out of the criminal justice system under the newly passed Massachusetts Valor Act. Secondly, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office has a drug diversion program for first time drug offenders with no criminal record. Thirdly, Chapter 111E of the Massachusetts General Laws also provides a framework for diversion of drug cases out of the criminal justice system.

Continue reading

On November 20, 2014, ET, a 21 year old male, was being watched by the Lawrence Police. Following a drug transaction in ET’s car he got pulled over for speeding. Following the stop the police seized cocaine and percocette pills from ET. The police arrested ET and the next day he appeared in Court for an arraignment. ET’s case was continued for a pre-trial hearing to January 22, 2015. ET was/is a drug dependent person and was/is in need of drug treatment.

ET and his parents visited Attorney Robert Lewin in North Andover and retained Attorney Lewin to represent ET in this case. ET’s parents got ET into treatment immediately. Prior to the pre-trial hearing Attorney Lewin went over to the DA’s Office at Lawrence District Court and met with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case. Attorney Lewin was able to negotiate a general continuance of the case with a dismissal. On January 22, 2015, Attorney Lewin and ET appeared in Lawrence District Court. Attorney Lewin explained that ET was drug dependent, but that he was getting extensive treatment and therapy. Attorney Lewin advocated for the case to be continued generally and dismissed. The Judge adopted Attorney Lewin’s request and continued the case generally to April 29, 2015. When a case is continued generally there is no admission of guilt or wrongdoing. There is NO guilty plea; there is NO admission to sufficient facts. It is NOT a plea bargain. Between January 22 and April 29, 2015 ET remained in out-patient counseling and ET furnished Attorney Lewin with reports from his drug counselor and with signed attendance sheets from NA meetings.

On April 29, 2015 ET and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court. Attorney Lewin furnished the DA and the Judge with copies of the reports from the drug counselor and with the NA Attendance sheets. The Judge expressed her approval of ET’s efforts and ordered all the charges against ET dismissed. Because these drug charges were dismissed ET is eligible to have his record sealed immediately. ET left the court house a very happy client.

On September 26, 2014 BQ, was driving from Western Massachusetts back to her home in Cambridge.She was transporting a substantial quantity of mushrooms (a Class C controlled substance) and marijuana (a Class D controlled substance). As she drove down Route 2 in Concord a local police officer ran her plate and determined that the car did not have a current inspection sticker. The officer pulled BQ over and approached the car. The officer immediately smelled “an overwhelming odor of raw marijuana coming from the vehicle”. The officer asked BQ where the marijuana was in the car and she said there was none. The officer told her that the car reaked of marijuana and BQ again said there was none.The officer ordered BQ out of the car and had her perform field sobriety tests – which she passed without hesitation.The officer told BQ that he would then search her car; BQ protested saying she did NOT consent to any search of the car. The officer went ahead with the search and seized large quantites of mushrooms and marijuana from the car. BQ was arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Mushrooms (Class C), Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (Class D), Possession Class C, Possession Class D, and No Inspection Sticker.
BQ retained Attorney Robert Lewin. It became immediately apparent to Attorney Lewin that the search of the car was unlawful and that ALL the evidence that the police seized (including all the drugs) would have to be suppressed. On July 9, 2014 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Cort ruled that the smell of unburnt marijuana is not enough to justify the search of a motor vehicle.
Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the District Attorney’s Office at Concord District Court. To her credit, the Assistant District Attorney agreed with Attorney Lewin and agreed that the evidence would be suppressed and that the Commonwealth would not be able to go ahead with the charges. On October 29, 2014 BQ and Attorney Lewin appeared in Concord District Court. All of the charges were DISMISSED PRIOR TO ARRAIGNMENT. As a result of this disposition the cases did not go on BQ’s criminal record and she has no record. At Attorney Lewin’s request the police returned BQ’s backpack and the cash they seized from her at the time of her arrest. The drugs got destroyed! Every week, the decisions of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court are published and every week since he became a lawyer in November of 1971 Attorney Lewin has read the decisions. His ready knowledge of the law helped BQ avoid from having a felony charge on her record. BQ left the courthouse absolutely thrilled with the result in her case.

On July 9, 2014 NK and a friend drove from Manchester, NH down to Methuen to buy heroin. At a prearranged spot the friend exited NK’s car and met a woman and began walking down the street with the woman. The friend gave the woman $200 and the woman gave NK’s friend several packets of heroin. The friend returned to NK’s car and got in. NK began to drive away and within moments several unmarked police vehicles with flashing blue lights forced NK to a stop. The police ordered NK and his friend out of the car. Heroin packets were found in the front seat and loose heroin was found on the driver’s seat and on the floor in front of the driver’s seat. The police arrested NK and his friend and charged them both with Possession of Class A (Heroin). The woman, who had been under police surveillance, was also arrested and charged with Distribution of Heroin. The next day, July 10, 2014, NK appeared in Lawrence District Court and was arraigned; his case was continued to September 5, 2014 for a pre-trial hearing.

NK – it turns out – was on probation in NH for 3 burglaries and has a 2-4 year state prison sentence hanging over his head.This arrest could cause his probation to be revoked and the 2-4 year sentence to be put into effect. NK put himself into a 28 day in-patient drug treatment program. He completed that program and then transferred into a 3-6 month residential treatment program.

On September 2, 2014 (just three days before his court hearing) NK retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover to handle the drug case in Lawrence District Court. Attorney Lewin immediately obtained the treatment records from the two drug programs. The records were excellent and showed that NK was making genuine efforts to overcome his addiction. On September 4, 2014 Attorney Lewin went over to Lawrence District Court and met with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case. Attorney Lewin gave her copies of the treatment records and explained how well NK was doing. Attorney Lewin asked the Assistant DA to dismiss the case. The Assistant DA agreed.

On February 26, 2013 KD, a 35 year old carpenter, was arrested for Distributing Cocaine and for Being Present where Heroin was found. On April 24, 2013 KD went to Lawrence District Court and the Cocaine distribution charge against him was continued without a finding for 18 months. The heroin charge was dismissed. KD was ordered to participate in a drug treatment program, to remain drug and alcohol free, and to be subject to random drug and alcohol testing. Shortly after the court date KD left the drug treatment program and for three months was among the missing. He did not report to probation; he was not being drug screened and he did not participate in the drug treatment program. He learned that there was a warrant outstanding for him and he turned himself into the court. The probation officer wanted to drug test him that day at Court and KD said that he was physically unable to urinate in the presence of another person. KD then went to the bathroom unattended and came back with a cigarette package full of urine that he claimed was his own. He got sent to Middleton Jail for a week. During the entire week at the jail he was unable to urinate in the presence of another person.

KD’s wife contacted Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin went to the jail and met with KD and carefully documented KD’s complaint about being unable to urinate in the presence of another person. After 1 week in the jail it was clear to everyone that he was clean yet he still could not urinate in the presence of another person.

Attorney Lewin researched this issue and learned that Paruresis is a recognized medical syndrome of people who are unable to urinate in the presence of another person. The Probation Department was insisting that he submit to random drug/alcohol screening through the Essex County Office of Community Corrections (OCC). OCC will only do urine screening. Attorney Lewin researched other screening methods and proposed saliva screening. Saliva screening drug/alcohol kits are available for about $10.00 per kit (1 test per kit). KD ordered several kits and brought one into Probation. It took the probation officer about 30 seconds to read the instructions. A saliva test was administered to KD and he tested negative for alcohol and drugs. The probation officer liked the test; it was quick and easy and did not involve handling urine.

JC, a 28 year old laborer from Lawrence, MA lost two fingertips in an industrial saw accident in May of 2012. His doctors prescribed percocette for the pain and he became addicted. To support his habit he became a low level percocette dealer.

On February 26, 2013 JC and another dealer drove to the Burger King on Route 110 in Methuen, MA. JC was driving. JC pulled alongside a Mercedes in the BK parking lot and the passenger in JC’s car exchanged drugs for money with the driver of the Mercedes. JC then pulled his vehicle alongside another vehicle in the parking lot and once again the passenger in JC’s car exchanged drugs for money with the driver of the other vehicle. All of this was being watched by undercover police in the parking lot. The Mercedes got away but the second vehicle was stopped as it exited the parking lot. The operator gave up the drugs he had purchased and told the police that he had purchased the drugs from the passenger in JC’s vehicle. JC’s vehicle with both JC and his passenger still inside was surrounded in the parking lot by the police. Both JC and the passenger were ordered out of the car. The passenger was searched and drugs packaged for sale were found on his person and under the front passenger seat. In addition a small packet of heroin was found in his pant waist. JC had no drugs (or money) on himself. Nevertheless both JC and his passenger were charged with Distribution of Drugs.

JC had a decent case to take to trial. He had not personally distributed any drug and he had no drugs or money on himself. The government’s theory of the case was that JC had “aided and abetted” his passenger in distributing drugs by driving him to the parking lot and by driving him from one customer to another in the parking lot. In such a case the law requires the state to prove two things: (1) That JC participated in some way in the crime, in this case by helping the passenger by driving and (2) That JC shared the intent required to commit the crime, in this case the intent to deal drugs. A person who is found guilty of aiding and abetting in a crime is considered guilty of the underlying crime (distributing drugs) and is punished the same as the person who actually distributes the drugs. If convicted JC did not face any mandatory sentence but he did face a three year loss of his driver’s license and the potential of a jail sentence. (Drug convictions in Massachusetts carry a mandatory loss of license – 3 years in the case of distribution class B with the right to a hardship license after 18 months.)

CB, a senior at a local state college, was heading back to school when he got pulled over for a broken taillight. The officer got up to the driver’s window and was immediately struck by the strong and distinctive odor of marijuana. One thing led to another and by the time the police were done they had seized a quantity of marijuana from the car along with a scale, packaging materials, and over $3,000.00 in cash. CB made incriminating statements to the police. CB was arrested and charged with Possession of Class D with intent to Distribute. CB, a Dean’s list student, is due to graduate from college in May and saw his future job prospects going up in smoke. CB retained Lewin & Lewin to represent him. The facts did not lend themselves to a good Motion to Suppress and the evidence of guilt was overwhelming. Initially the Assistant District Attorney was looking for a conviction and a 2 year term of supervised probation. Attorney Robert Lewin met with the Assistant District Attorney and advocated on behalf of CB. The Assistant DA agreed to a continuance without a finding and agreed to lower the term of the probation to one year. On February 8, 2013 Attorney Joshua Lewin appeared in Dorchester District Court with CB. A tender of plea was presented to the Judge. Attorney Lewin asked the judge to continue the case without a finding for three months (to CB’s graduation date from college). Ultimately the Judge agreed to continue the case without a finding for six months. The Judge ordered that the probation was to be administrative. Provided CB stays out of trouble, the charge will be dismissed on August 8, 2013. At that time Attorney Lewin will file a Petition to Seal the record. If the Petition is granted the record will be sealed and it will be as if the case did not happen. In addition had there been a conviction (guilty finding) CB would have lost his license for 2 years; because the case was continued without a finding CB suffered no loss of license. Wins come in all shapes and sizes. CB was thrilled with the result: he was not found guilty; he did not lose his license; his case will be dismissed in six months; and he will be well positioned to get his record sealed in six months. He and his family were very concerned that this case would be disastrous for his future job prospects; now, however, In six months the record will be sealed and the case will not show up on his record.

On February 19, 2011 PL was arrested in Reading, MA and charged with Possession Class A, Possession Class B (two counts), and Possession of Class C. He was arraigned in Woburn District Court and his cases were continued. PL retained Attorney Robert Lewin.The night before he was to return to Court PL was arrested again in Reading and charged with Possession Class A, Possession Class B (two counts) and Possession Class C. PL’s family immediately had PL admitted to an in-patient detox facility. Chapter 111E of the Massachusetts General Laws allows a judge to stay (put on hold) the criminal proceedings against a person who is charged with a drug possession offense if that person is a drug addict or a drug dependent person who would benefit from treatment. PL wanted help for his drug dependency. Attorney Lewin filed Motions to Stay the Proceedings in both of PL’s cases. PL spent 30 days in an in-patient program, followed by two months in a “day-program”, followed by 15 months of weekly counseling which included 3-4 AA/NA meetings per week. PL has been drug and alcohol free since the night of his second arrest on April 18, 2012. PL’s cases were stayed for a total of 18 months. On September 26, 2012 PL and Attorney Lewin appeared in Woburn District Court. Attorney Lewin had reports from all of PL’s treatment providers and furnished to the Court. PL is clean of drugs, is working full-time, is supporting his wife and children. Pursuant to Chapter 111E the Judge, at the request of Attorney Lewin, ordered all the charges against PL dismissed. Attorney Lewin was extremely proud of PL and congratulated him for taking charge of his life and “earning” the dismissal of the criminal charges.