Archive for the ‘Drug Crimes’ category

The New CORI Law and who can see my record

June 15, 2012

What is a “record” and who can see it? (Criminal Offender Record Information of “CORI” laws)


What does “CORI” mean?

A: A CORI, or Criminal Offender Record Information, consists of records and data in any communicable form compiled by  a Massachusetts  justice agency.  They relate to the nature or disposition of a criminal charge, an arrest, a pre-trial proceeding, sentencing, incarceration, rehabilitation, release or other judicial proceedings.  They DO NOT include juvenile criminal history, unless the juvenile was adjudicated as an adult on the charges.

What is iCORI and the iCORI response?

A: iCORI is a newly developed computer system used by the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services to file CORI records provided to them daily by the trial courts.  An iCORI response is the confidential information regarding certain criminal offenses a person was charged with in Massachusetts, and on which that person was arraigned in either District Court or Superior Court.  Once a person is arraigned, they have a “record”, which will never disappear without a court order.

How can I get my dismissed case removed from my criminal record?


A:         The probation department routinely opposes any attempt to remove anything from your record.  In limited circumstances, such as the wrong person was listed or misidentified in some way, a court order will accomplish that result.  In most cases, the best you can hope for is a “sealed record”.  Misdemeanors may be sealed 5 years after the conviction or any period of incarceration, whichever is last.  Felonies may be sealed 10 years after the conviction or any period of incarceration, whichever is last.

However, that is not always a good thing, because it will come back, in certain circumstances, as “sealed”, which invites speculation.  Criminal justice agencies may obtain all criminal record information, including sealed records, for the performance of their duties.

Contact us to discuss this matter.  The best way to prevent problems is to contact us immediately when you suspect the police are interested in you as there are various ways of dismissing cases PRIOR TO ARRAIGNMENT, at which time there is no “record” prior to arraignment.

I was never charged with some of the offenses that appear on my criminal record.  Where do I go to dispute this?

A: You need to contact the probation department of the court in which the disputed charges were brought.  This means if you are disputing several different charges out of several different courts, you must contact each of the probation departments of each of the various courts.  We can assist you in bringing motions before the court to prove you were the not the person charged, and ask to have the matter “expunged” from your record.  These are court proceedings where you should have an attorney representing, as they are not simple processes.  Often it is necessary to go to the police departments themselves and get booking photos to prove you are not the person listed.



What are the new CORI reforms?


A:         The CORI reforms are intended to provide ex-offenders with a better chance of re-integrating themselves into the employment world, while still maintaining public safety.  Individuals may now see what non-law enforcement entities have requested their CORI, to determine if checks were run prior to an interview or job rejection.

A crucial part of the reforms is the “Ban of the Box”, which prevents employers from asking (on an initial written employment application) whether an applicant for a job has been convicted of a criminal offense, unless the employer is prohibited by law from hiring individuals for a particular position because of criminal convictions.

Applicants are also entitled to a new Due Process Right, where if an employer has obtained criminal history information about an applicant, they must provide the applicant with the information prior to asking him/her about it.

Before an employer makes an adverse decision based on an applicant’s CORI, the employer must: notify the applicant of the potential adverse employment action; provide the applicant with a copy of their CORI; provide a copy of the employer’s CORI policy (if applicable); identify the information in the CORI that is the basis for the potential adverse employment action; provide the applicant with the opportunity to dispute the accuracy of the information in the CORI; provide the applicant with a copy of DCJIS information on the process for correcting CORI; and document all steps taken that comply with the above requirements.

Who gets to see my record and how much do they get to see?


A:         That depends on who the requesting party is and the degree of access they have to request and receive criminal history information through iCORI.

Employers now have Standard Access to CORI.  This means they can receive information on:

* All pending criminal charges, including cases continued without a finding of      guilt until they are dismissed;

* All misdemeanor convictions for 5 years following the date of disposition or    date of release from incarceration (whichever is later);

* All felony convictions for 10 years following the date of disposition or date of release from incarceration (whichever is later);

* All convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and sex offenses;

* Information relating to offenses on which the subject was adjudicated as an     adult while younger than 17 years old

Landlords now have Standard Access to CORI (same as employers) in order to screen applicants for housing.  They can screen any adult leaseholder or applicant, but not other adult household members.

Hospitals, Healthcare Staffing Agencies, Healthcare Clinical Programs, Banks, Security System Installers and Amusement Device Operators are some examples of employers who have Required 1 Access to CORI. This means they must comply with regulations in hiring, and have access to:

* All pending criminal charges, including cases continued without a finding of      guilt, until they are dismissed;

* All misdemeanor and felony convictions dating from the subject’s 17th birthday;

* All information relating to those offenses for which the subject was adjudicated           as an adult while younger than 17 years old;

* All convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and sex offenses

Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes, Programs for Children, Councils on Aging, and Military Recruiters are some examples of employers who have Required 2 Access to CORI.  This means they must comply with regulations in hiring, and have access to:

* Non-conviction information;

* All pending criminal charges, including cases continued without a finding of      guilt, until they are dismissed;

* All misdemeanor convictions and felony convictions dating from the subject’s 17th birthday;

* All information relating to those offenses for which the subject was adjudicated           as an adult while younger than 17 years old;

* All convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter   and sex offenses

Only Camps for children are given Required 3 Access to CORI.  This means they must comply with regulations in hiring, and have access to:

* Non-conviction information;

* All pending criminal charges, including cases continued without a finding of      guilt, until they are dismissed;

* All misdemeanor convictions and felony convictions dating from the subject’s 17th birthday;

* All information relating to those offenses for which the subject was adjudicated           as an adult while younger than 17 years old;

* All convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter   and sex offenses

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care has Required 4 Access to CORI.  This means they must comply with regulations in hiring, and have access to:

* Non-conviction information;

* All pending criminal charges, including cases continued without a finding of      guilt, until they are dismissed;

* All misdemeanor convictions and felony convictions dating from the subject’s 17th birthday;

* All information relating to those offenses for which the subject was adjudicated           as an adult while younger than 17 years old;

* All convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter   and sex offenses;

* Information regarding criminal offenses that have been sealed

The Public has limited access to Open CORI. This means they have access to:

* Misdemeanor convictions within 1 year of conviction or release from incarceration;

* Felony convictions within 2 years of conviction or release from incarceration;

* All felony convictions punishable by five or more years of incarceration within             10 years of conviction or release from incarceration;

* All murder, manslaughter and sex offense convictions, unless sealed



There is no iCORI registration fee for public use, and individuals can use it to request their own personal CORI. Individuals can register for:

* Open CORI, which provides you with the ability to request some CORI         information of any individual;

* Personal CORI, which provides you with the ability to request your own      CORI; or

* Advocate, Guardian or Representative, which provides you with the ability to request CORI on behalf of someone else

If you don’t understand this and/or need an attorney to help you contact us at  See our website at  We can help!


Massachusetts Drug Lawyer

October 25, 2010

Defending Against Criminal Drug Charges

This article is intended to provide clients who are under investigation or have been charged with possession, distribution or trafficking in cocaine, heroin, oxycodone or other Class A or Class B narcotics in Massachusetts.  It is written by a retired Boston Police Sergeant, now criminal defense lawyer, with extensive experience in the investigation of drug crimes from initial investigations, to search warrants to actual indictment and arrests of hundreds of people charged with drug crimes in Massachusetts.  That expertise has allowed me, now as your attorney, to look closely at the charges against you and to find the best possible defense in your particular case. 

Always remember that each case is unique in its investigation, the officers involved and the court in which you are charged.  This local knowledge is helpful in knowing how the court is likely to react to your charges.

Anyone accused of a drug crime should follow the advice of an attorney experienced and knowledgeable in the defense of selling, trafficking, delivering, or conspiracy to sell, traffic, or deliver cocaine, marijuana, oxycontin, oxycodone, GHB, or other drug, and who is familiar with the specific facts of the individual’s case.   This is a general article and not meant as specific legal advice in your particular case. 


Defending a person arrested, indicted, or charged with selling or conspiracy to sell illegal drugs present unique and special challenges that many other criminal charges do not present. Unlike crimes such as robbery or assault which the government investigates after the fact; when the government conducts an investigation in the sale, conspiracy to sell, or the trafficking in drugs the government will often target individuals and “build a case” against the targeted individual.  In the typical investigation of the sale or the conspiracy to sell or traffic in drugs the government can take its time and build its case. Wiretaps, the use of confidential informants, undercover agents, accountants to comb thru financial records, video and audio surveillance, are all tools that the government will often employee in conducting a drug investigation.

If the government does not have enough evidence they simply continue to investigate  such as surveillance of the targeted individual or switch to a proactive investigation and introduce undercover agents or “confidential informants” in an attempt to entice the target of the investigation to commit criminal acts. (Note: One exception to this scenario is the vehicle stop where the police stumble upon a large amount of drugs.) Due to the extreme complexities and unusual nature of a drug sale, conspiracy or trafficking case and the extreme and harsh penalties often inflicted upon those convicted of such crimes with sentences which can reach up to life in prison, it is extremely important that anyone facing such charges hire an attorney experienced and qualified in defending against allegations of drug selling, dealing, and drug trafficking.

The most important defense against drug charges involves being aggressively proactive in seeking information regarding the investigation and the agencies or departments involved.  Also the amount of drugs you are alleged to possess will play a huge part in your case as, in Massachusetts, the drug must be tested and the actual person who tested the drug must testify at your trial.   With limited money and resources the state almost always reserves these individuals for bigger cases and you have an opportunity at trial to have the drug evidence thrown out under these circumstances if they cannot prove the substance is in fact the illegal drug they state it is.  We are aggressive in filing pre-trial motions that force the state to divulge as much information regarding the investigation and arrest as possible to better understand the case against you and the possible defenses available to you.

Anyone attempting to formulate a defense to an allegation of drug sale, drug conspiracy, or drug trafficking, should also consider the following factors when developing the plan of defense.

Hire an Attorney Immediately Who Has Experience Handling Drug Cases

Serious and irreparable mistakes can be made by the targeted individual who tries to deal with the government himself before or instead of hiring an attorney. Because the government will employ tricks or lies to get the person to agree to a search or to make a statement these individuals will usually make the huge mistake of agreeing to a search of their home, car, or other private premises, and will also often make the huge mistake of making a statement to the government. I do not know of any person who has ever been convicted of a crime for keeping quiet or for being uncooperative with the government but I do know of plenty of individuals who have talked themselves into a conviction or consented to searches that resulted in a conviction which could have been avoided had the individual first kept quiet and refused to cooperate and hired an attorney.

Hiring an attorney immediately has further benefits. When targeted by the government and under investigation or arrest or indictment for the sale, trafficking or conspiracy to sell and traffic of cocaine, marijuana, oxycontin or other drugs the targeted individual needs to take action by having an attorney and our private investigator making sure that the investigator is speaking to witnesses and potential witnesses, collecting documents and evidence which are exculpatory, making sure that favorable witness statements are locked in early so that it becomes more difficult for the witness to turn against you and later make an allegations in an attempt to save themselves from prosecution when the government starts to reward or threaten witnesses or co-defendants with charges they may be facing.

Another reason that it is extremely important to have an attorney involved as soon as possible especially if the targeted individual is in fact guilty and the State has a strong case is that it may be in that persons best interest to become the cooperating witness. In such cases it is often the first defendant in a large conspiracy that agrees to cooperate with the government that will receive a significant reduction in their ultimate sentence or possibly avoid a conviction. Those who hold out and go to trial or later plead guilty are often left facing much longer prison terms. Deciding whether to become the cooperating witness or to hold out and fight the charge to the end is possibly the most difficult and most important decision one faces. It involves considerations of whether the target is actually guilty, the strength of the government’s case, the extent of the exposure (potential sentence or prison term), whether there is danger of violent reprisal from other members of the criminal enterprise, and the personal values of the person who is under investigation. Due to the complexity of this decision it simply should not be made without the advise of an attorney who can assess the strength of the government’s case, possible defenses, and the potential sentence if a conviction is obtained by the government, and who can take measures to insure as much as possible that the government will honor any promises it makes.

Any criminal defense attorney who believes that he can match the power and resources of the government or leads his client to believe such a thing is not very experienced. Even an army of criminal defense lawyers or the largest law firms cannot match the government’s financial resources, its manpower and its resources to find and use “cooperating witnesses”.   However, this does not mean that a defendant cannot win. The government can and has been beaten. The key is to remember that the only thing that the defense attorney needs to do is to convince the jury that there is reasonable doubt. Granted, getting the jury to see that there is reasonable doubt is sometimes easier said than done. Often times however, what appears to be an impossible case for the Defendant to win can in fact be won by simply finding that one weak spot in the government’s case and exploiting that weak spot. Taking out one aspect of the government’s case, or showing one key government witness to be a fraud and a liar, or showing how federal agents and police officers can make serious mistakes in judgment and perception, or showing the willingness of the government to violate rights, can cause a jury to sometimes see the governments entire case in a different light.

In almost all cases political pressure will often dictate what types of cases will be prosecuted and how aggressively. Few types of crimes have been the focus of as much political focus as drug crimes. In fact no other type of crime has been the subject of an official “declaration of war”. The result of this political pressure and the declared “war on drugs” is the desire of the politicians to appear tough and aggressive. They are therefore often reluctant to abandon cases that should be abandoned and will sometimes seek the mandatory minimum sentences in drug cases to show they are tough on crime.  This often results in a grave injustice to the defendant.

Almost every serious drug prosecution will involve a charge of conspiracy. Prosecutors love conspiracy charges because the law of conspiracy encompasses a wide variety of activity.  Witnesses should be located and affidavits obtained for pre-trial use and for locking in the witnesses testimony for trial that verify the relationship with the other defendants or conspirators was familial, social, or a legitimate business and that these witnesses observed no criminal activity by the client. Financial, real estate, personal property, and legitimate business records should be obtained to demonstrate that the Client is not living an extravagant life style and is not wealthy, as one would expect if the person were involved in a drug conspiracy. If the targeted individual does have significant wealth evidence of legitimate sources of that income should be gathered. The targeted individual with wealth may need to hire accountants to testify as experts as to the legitimate sources of income of the targeted individual.

A “cooperating individual” is the person who agrees to testify on behalf of the government in return for an agreement from the government for a reduction in that person’s sentence, or sometimes even the dismissal or agreement not to file charges against the “cooperating individual”. In short a police officer will catch a suspect with drugs and offer him a deal if he cooperates and turns in a “friend”.  The secret to this arrangement is that rarely will the “cooperating individual” or the government directly and expressly acknowledge that a deal was made. The officer will usually tell the cooperating individual that he cannot make any promises but that if the individual testifies against the other defendant(s) that the prosecutor will take his cooperation into consideration later on. Therefore the “cooperating individual” when cross-examined will attempt to claim that he was not promised anything and that he has just seen the error of his ways and is doing his “civic duty”. It is therefore extremely important that an attorney defending a person charged with a drug offense be very skilled in cross-examination and be able to demonstrate thru cross-examination that the cooperating witness will say or do anything including lie under oath and take down an innocent person if that is what it takes to save his own skin. The difference that a skilled cross-examiner can make in this situation as compared to the in-effective cross-examiner can very well be the difference in many cases between a guilty verdict and a not guilty verdict. It is further extremely important to do as much of a background investigation on the “cooperating individual” as possible in order to obtain extrinsic evidence such as previous criminal convictions in order to attack the credibility of the cooperating individual.

Do not Cooperate with the Government Before Getting Legal Advice

One of the most important things that any person under arrest or investigation for the sale, conspiracy to sell, and the trafficking in drugs needs to understand is that there is almost never any benefit in consenting to a search, agreeing to make a statement, or agreeing to cooperate unless and until an attorney has been consulted and has worked out an understanding with the government on your behalf. When I say almost never I mean that in 10 years as a criminal lawyer I have never seen a targeted individual’s cooperation provide him with significant benefit unless an attorney worked out the deal, it may have happened but I have never seen it. Many individuals believe that a police officer cannot lie to you and believe that if the government’s agent says that they are going to help you they are legally and duty bound to honor that promise, this is not true. Government agents are allowed to lie, at least to a certain extent. They can lie about what evidence they have when interrogating a defendant. They can make implied promises and then claim that no express promise was made.

Although there are times that cooperating with the government can be a person’s best option to avoid a criminal conviction or a much longer prison sentence any “deal” needs to be negotiated by a qualified criminal attorney because if the government can get what they want from the targeted individual without providing him anything in return they are happy use him and then leave him to “hang”.

Plea Bargaining

Plea-bargaining which is the term for the defendant agreeing to a lesser sentence in return for his agreement not to take the case to trial and / or in return for his cooperation in the prosecution of other individuals is an art.

There are two things that in my opinion greatly help in the ability of a defense attorney to be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. The first is whether the defense attorney has a reputation as an attorney who is willing to take a case to trial and who is at minimum a competent defense lawyer. Prosecutors are not likely to give a favorable plea bargain to a defendant who is represented by an attorney that they know does not like to or who is afraid to take a case to trial or who is incompetent. Why should they? They know they will get what they want in the end. The more willing the defense lawyer is to take a case to trial, the better he is, and the more he will make the prosecutor work for any conviction he may hope to obtain often greatly enhances the ability of that defense attorney to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. If a prosecutor knows that he will have to work much harder (which means spending his weekends preparing for trial) or that he may not get a conviction at all because the defense lawyer knows what he is doing the prosecutor will often be more likely to offer that lawyer a better deal. The second factor that in my opinion greatly helps the ability of a defense attorney in the art of plea-bargaining is if the defense attorney has had prior experience working as a police officer or a prosecutor and has established relationships with the police and the district attorney’s office.

Taking into account knowledge of the prosecutor’s job and each particular prosecutor’s personality is very important in plea negotiations. There are times during negotiations to take a hard stance meaning that you point out the weakness of the government’s case and express your confidence you could win, there are times you need to bluff and act like you can win even though you know that is not likely, and there are times to acknowledge to the prosecutor that the defendant is in fact guilty and to appeal to the prosecutor’s sense of mercy, and compassion.

How to negotiate with the prosecutor and when simply depends upon many different variables that are different with every case and with every prosecutor. These variables include the prosecutor’s personality, how long he has been a prosecutor, local custom, the facts of the case, the defendant’s desires, the judge involved in the case, and other factors. It is the weighing, considering, and balancing of these factors and determining the best way to approach plea bargaining that makes plea negotiations an art.

Pretrial Motions

There are various types of pre-trial motions to file in drug cases, a few of the more common motions include:

A) A motion to suppress, which challenges a search or the seizure of evidence because the search or seizure by the Government was illegal.

B) A motion for bill of particulars and other discovery motions keyed specifically towards drug cases seeking that the Government discloses more details about when, where, and how it alleges that the defendant committed the crime, who was involved in the investigation and how was this particular investigation conducted.

C) A motion in limiting seeking to prohibit the Government from placing into evidence certain evidence that is unfair or overly prejudicial (such as the prior criminal conviction of a defendant).

Use of pre-trial motions is one of the best ways for the Defense to find the weak parts of the Governments case and to assess the credibility and vulnerability of Government witnesses.

Finally, if you have a drug problem and need help handling your problem then we can assist you in getting that help with our team of professionals that we have used over the years to help many clients not only beat their case but beat their addiction.  In some cases getting that help can assist you in winning your case.


Defending against criminal allegations of selling or conspiracy to sell, distribute or trafficking in cocaine, marijuana, heroin, oxycontin, or other illegal drugs present unique and special challenges that many other criminal charges do not present. Anyone facing a drug charge should hire an attorney who has extensive experience not only as a criminal defense lawyer but who also has extensive experience with how police handle drug cases.

Attorney Richard Sweeney spent years as a Boston Police Officer and retired as a Sergeant directing one of the Boston Police Drug Units and has testified in state and federal courts in hundreds of criminal cases involving search warrants, investigations, hand to hand sales and conspiracy cases involving every class of drug. Sweeney & Associates is an AV-Rated criminal defense firm and we have successfully represented our clients in every phase of an investigation or a trial involving drugs.

You NEED a law firm with KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND THE ABILITY TO DEFEND YOUR CASE!!  Call Attorney Richard Sweeney at 617-328-6900 and use my experience and knowledge to help you or your loved one.  Call now or visit us at for more information.

This article used some content ideas from many different online posts.

Mass Criminal Law – Legal Information for College Students and Parents

June 16, 2010

Greetings and welcome to Massachusetts from the attorneys at  Sweeney & Associates.

As a parent of high school and college students, both in state and out Richard J. Sweeney is acutely aware that you may not know the laws of Massachusetts, and more importantly, what to do if you, or your son or daughter, should find yourself in trouble in Massachusetts. There is nothing more terrifying than being in another state and not knowing who to turn to. We work closely with schools and colleges, as well as local police departments and courts, to ensure that students avail themselves of the many first offender opportunities available to PREVENT YOU OR YOUR CHILD FROM “GETTING A RECORD.”

An experienced attorney can guide you through the court system and assist you in getting a hearing before a clerk magistrate or enrolling you in pre-trial and pre-arraignment programs designed to give young first time offenders the ability to correct their behavior without getting a criminal record.
Each and every college will discuss the local laws with the students at their first opportunity. The colleges located in and around Boston enforce the possession of alcohol laws more than the enclosed suburban campuses due to neighborhood involvement in keeping students from partying in local neighborhoods as opposed to on-campus parties. The Boston Police have a zero tolerance policy and tend to arrest each student for simply possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 or for any possession of illegal drugs. HOWEVER you should be aware that there are MANDATORY JAIL TERMS for certain drug offenses and there are programs for first offenders. IT IS NOT WISE TO PAY THE FINE AND WALK OUT OF COURT!!! This will cause you to have a record that will follow you for the rest of your life, will impact on your status as a resident of a dorm in certain schools, affect your immigration status, your ability to have, receive financial aid or possess certain professional licenses after you graduate. You are entitled to a first offender or diversion program for certain drug and alcohol cases including possession of drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence and other offenses. Also it is important to note that urinating in public by itself does have negative consequences but it is extremely important to have an attorney involved to have the charge amended to one that will not make you a candidate for the SEX OFFENDER LIST.

In short, do not speak to the police if arrested. Ask for an attorney and DO NOT attempt to handle the case yourself in court. We have actually been in court with clients when other students, with the aid of their own attorneys not as familiar with Massachusetts’ Courts and we have watched these students, plead guilty, pay a fine and leave. THEY NOW HAVE CRIMINAL RECORDS AND LOST THEIR CHANCE AT A FIRST OFFENDER PROGRAM, while our clients are paying the same fine but PRIOR TO ARRAIGNMENT!!!!! NO CRIMINAL RECORD!!

This page is not long enough to outline all of the remedies available nor to discuss how each school or university handles these different crimes. As parents and attorneys we know that you need some free initial advice and the time to have someone explain your options. If you, a friend or your student gets stopped by the police please do not give any statements and call the experts at Sweeney & Associates. We know the law and we know the courts. Help us help you.

Richard J. Sweeney is a retired Sergeant from the Boston Police Department who spent many years dealing with students in the Kenmore Square, Allston/Brighton neighborhoods as well as directing a drug unit prior to his retirement. As a former hockey coach of high school and college students he has a tremendous amount of experience dealing with high schools, prep schools and colleges when their students get in trouble.

You are paying a tremendous amount for the best education you can get. Don’t make the mistake of a lifetime and not get the best attorney because you think you know what to do. We have been contacted by CEO’s, politicians, judges, attorneys and corporate counsel from more than half of the United States and Puerto Rico as well as foreign nationals to have us represent their children, or their client’s children for everything from possession of alcohol to sex crimes. We have our own immigration specialist, our own investigator and our own well-chosen associates that allow us to deal with your problem with individual care for you and your family during trying times. Call the experts before you make a decision that will affect the rest of your life. Choose your lawyer as you chose your school.

We welcome calls from new students, or parents of new students, that may have individual questions.

Contact us at 617-328-6900 or email us at

Please feel free to contact us with any question at 617-328-6900 or email us at  Don’t let money stop you from calling us to answer your most important questions.  You did a lot of research to choose your school.  Do the same when it comes to a law firm that will help you define your future.  We can help.  Just ask your friends.

See the Massachusetts General Laws at:

Drug Crimes in Massachusetts – CEO or Student it’s a Big Problem!

March 14, 2010

It’s not just drug dealers that get arrested for drug crimes. All too often students, professionals, housewives, doctors, lawyers, firefighters, police officers and others find themselves stopped by police and are in possession of an illegal narcotic.  For some it started as a bad back whose pain became overwhelming and for others it is a recreational drug that they are holding at the wrong time in the wrong place.  For students it can be that a roommate has it in the dorm or in a car with you and the police charge everyone present.  For others it’s a hidden addiction that now may ruin all they have worked for at home and at work.  For some it seemed like a great idea to make some quick money and only now do they realize the price they may have to pay involving strict mandatory minimum sentences.  A few unlucky clients may receive a phone call from a police officer that asks them to come to the station or meet with the officer “so we can talk before this becomes a problem.”   DO NOT RETURN THAT CALL BEFORE TALKING WITH AN ATTORNEY!!!!

The government’s “war on drugs,” has made for harsh, and often mandatory, penalties for narcotics-related crimes.  These severe penalties for drug crimes can have serious consequences for the futures of those charged. The criminal penalties are complex, depending on the drug, the amount you were caught with and the circumstances of your arrest, but even simple possession may carry prison time, steep fines, and the lifelong stigma of a felony conviction. The penalties rise significantly if your arrest involved violence, if it’s not the first offense or if firearms were involved. Unlike other crimes, many drug crimes also carry non-criminal penalties like loss of your driver’s license in Massachusetts, becoming ineligible for student loans or federal assistance programs, adverse consequences in immigration court and trouble with professional licensing or military service.  A narcotics charge hurts you everywhere you turn.

Massachusetts does have several programs available for first time offenders or those with addiction problems.  Attorney William Sullivan and Richard Sweeney work first and foremost with you on your particular case to make sure that every available defense is investigated and every piece of evidence is used to preserve your rights and get that all important NOT GUILTY!  In cases where law enforcement made a mistake that violated your civil rights, we may be able to get your case dismissed altogether. Also under recent changes in the law the government now has to produce an expert at your trial who has weighed and tested the drugs in your case and must then take the stand and go through rigorous cross-examination by us before the commonwealth can prove that what you had on you was, in fact, an illegal narcotic drug.  Due to budget restraints that does not happen in many cases and charges can be dismissed simply because the expert is not available to testify on your trial date.  Using our expertise and long experience in dealing with drug crimes we are in an excellent position to assist you even if you were actually in possession of an illegal substance.  They have to prove their case against you and that is fact specific to each case.  We make them prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

We will examine everything about your arrest and subsequent treatment to find any errors in the investigation, the search, the drug testing or other misuse of power that can destroy the case against you.  In addition we have extensive experience in the investigation phase from the police side and the prosecution of the case from our time spent working in the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting these cases and as a Boston Police Drug Unit Sergeant investigating  drug cases at all levels.

If the case is solid, we have been able to work with you and the commonwealth towards reducing your charges or the penalties you face, working towards allowing you to qualify for treatment and/or probation. Often we can get you situated in treatment programs and work towards showing the court that you are well on the way to recovery and therefore less of a risk to re-offend and that probation and continued attendance in rehabilitation programs is a better alternative than a jail sentence.

We are a dedicated criminal defense firm, well-respected by our peers and by the courts in Massachusetts.  That knowledge is reflected in our record of successes, which includes not guilty verdicts, dismissal of charges, placing clients in drug diversion programs, probation and getting reduced charges and penalties.  Sullivan and Sweeney has been awarded the coveted peer review rating of AV (“very high to preeminent” in legal ability and ethics) by the Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory — the highest rating awarded to attorneys and one shared by fewer than 7% of all lawyers in the United States and we are also listed in the prestigious Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

If you’ve been charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts you’re facing charges that will change everything about your future.  In addition your family faces the stress of not only dealing with a possible jail sentence for a loved one but also the difficulty of not knowing where to start to get help with an addiction problem.  With so much at stake, you need the experience and knowledge of attorneys who deal with these crimes daily in Massachusetts. Call Sweeney & Associates at 617-328-6900 today to schedule a free consultation on your case.

You, and your family, have a lot of questions and a lot of concerns.  We will take the time to answer your questions and work with you towards a succesful resolution to your problem.  We have represented hundreds of out-of-state students at Boston area Colleges and we can help you and your family navigate through both school and the courts.  You already have a problem now make the call to find the resolution.

Please see our website at www.RSweeney.lawcom or call 617-328-6900 for additional information and helpful links.