Inducing Minors to Distribute or Sell Drugs

Inducing minors to distribute or sell a controlled substance is a felony in Massachusetts. It is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C Section 32K. That law prohibits knowingly causing, inducing or abetting (helping) a person under 18 years old to distribute, sell, possess with intent to sell, make or hold drugs. Since this crime involves both controlled substances and the exploitation and victimization of minors, it is extremely serious. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials will vigorously pursue a conviction as they are far from sympathetic to adults accused of using minors in the drug business, or for any criminal purpose, whether or not the minor in question acted wittingly.

At a trial for exploiting a minor to distribute a controlled substance, the district attorney is not required to prove that the defendant knew that he was using a person under 18. At a trial for abetting a minor to distribute drugs, however, the prosecutor will have to prove that the defendant knew that the minor was under 18. In an abetting case, the prosecutor also has to prove that the minor distributed the drugs and that the defendant was ready to help the minor do so by an express or implied agreement. The requisite agreement does not require that the minor understood the transaction in the way that the adult did or even that the minor knew that he was distributing drugs.

What Types Of Defenses Can Be Used With This Type Of Case?

When evaluating what type of defense may be appropriate, the starting point for these types of cases is similar to that of most drug cases. The first step is to evaluate whether any stop, exit order, frisk and search was done appropriately or whether a motion to suppress evidence should be filed. In any case in which “possession” is an element of a crime this is a good starting place.

In the event that it is necessary to prepare for trial, the circumstances surrounding the incident must be carefully examined. Obviously, if an argument can be made that the defendant did not know that the individual involved in selling the contraband was under eighteen years old, that is critical. This could be established by the person’s appearance and perhaps statements that were made to the defendant or others in which the individual stated that he or she was over eighteen years old.

What Potential Punishment Do I Face If Convicted Of This Crime?

Inducing a minor to distribute or sell a controlled substance carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment in the state prison. This means that if you are convicted, your sentence cannot be any less than that. You could be punished by up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $100,000 (on top of the 5-year mandatory minimum).

What Should I Do If I Am Charged With This Crime?

Given the seriousness of the potential punishment, it is imperative that you immediately contact a skilled criminal defense attorney when faced with this charge. Kathleen M. McCarthy is an attorney who is well known for her excellence and experience in criminal defense. She is never afraid of a challenge and always works tirelessly for her clients.

If you have been charged with inducing a minor to distribute or sell a controlled substance or any other crime in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Kathleen M. McCarthy at (978) 975 8060 or send her an e-mail today. It is never too late to do so, but the sooner you call, the better your chances of success.