Knowingly Being Present Where Heroin is Kept

Knowingly being present where heroin is kept is a misdemeanor under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C Section 35. You can be convicted of this crime if the district attorney proves beyond a reasonable doubt either:

  1. That you knew you were at a place where heroin was kept or deposited; or
  2. That you were with another person who you knew to be in possession of heroin.
What Constitutes “Possession”?

In order for a defendant to be convicted of “possession” of heroin the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she had knowledge that the heroin was present and the he or she had the ability to control the substance. An individual may have “direct” possession of something that is in his or her pocket or in his or her hand. However, a person can be in “constructive” possession of an item that is not necessarily on his or her person but in a drawer, glovebox or closet.

What Are Common Defenses To This Crime?

Similar to other drug crimes, a great place to start in defending these types of crimes is to evaluate whether the defendant’s state and federal constitutional rights were violated by an illegal stop, exit order and/or search. If this appears to be the case a motion to suppress must be filed. In the event this type of case goes to trial, the defendant often claims that he or she did not know that the heroin was present.

Is Knowingly Being Present Where Heroin Is Kept A Lesser Included Offense Of Possession Of Heroin With Intent To Distribute?

This is not a lesser included offense of possession of heroin or possession of heroin with intent to sell it. This means that a conviction of this crime is not duplicative of those convictions and that therefore, there can be multiple punishments. This is true even when the district attorney can use the same evidence in proving the different crimes. The fact that a person is present in a place where heroin is illegally kept or with another person who is in possession of heroin does not make him a joint venturer in possession with intent to sell.

It is not a crime to be present where drugs other than heroin are present, even if you are aware of it. This is because the legislature considers certain activities, such as heroin use or sale, to be so dangerous and destructive that merely allowing that conduct to continue is criminal.

If you have been charged with this offense, you face up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $1,000, or both the prison sentence and the fine.

If you or someone you know has been charged with knowingly being present where heroin is kept in Massachusetts. The attorney is undeniably one of the best drug crimes lawyers that Massachusetts has to offer. She has been successful in handling drug crimes of all kinds for more than 20 years, and she knows how they are likely to proceed. She often gets drug cases dismissed. Additionally, the attorney is valued and respected by her clients because she keeps them informed at every step of the process and is attentive to their concerns. She is admired by fellow attorneys for her skill and professionalism. The sooner you call, the better your chance of success.