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Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class A, B, C, D, or E)

The charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C, Section 34, which provides that, “No person knowingly or intentionally shall possess a controlled substance….”.  There are five different “classes” of controlled substances: Class A (such as heroin, fentanyl, or morphine), Class B (such as cocaine), Class C (such as klonopin), Class D (such as marijuana), and Class E (such as prescription pills not covered in the other classes).  

To prove the charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance, the Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt: 

  1. That the substance in question was a controlled substance;

  2. That the defendant possessed some perceptible amount of that substance; and

  3. That the defendant did so knowingly or intentionally.

It is now only a crime to possess marijuana when it either weighs more than two ounces and is not within a person’s primary residence or if it weighs more than ten ounces.  A person aged twenty-one years or older is no longer prohibited from possessing one ounce or less of marijuana outside their residence, or ten ounces or less inside their residence. Possessing more than one ounce but less than two ounces of marijuana is a civil infraction, as is possession of less than two ounces by someone under the age of twenty-one.

The possession of a controlled substance does not always mean it is on your person.  As noted in the Criminal Model Jury Instructions, a person “possesses” something if he or she has direct physical control or custody of it at a given time. However, a person also “possesses” an object without physical custody if he or she has knowledge of the object, the ability to exercise control over that object, either directly or through another person, and the intent to exercise control over the object.  This second form of possession is more commonly known as constructive possession.  For a more detailed explanation of actual possession versus constructive possession of an item, click here.

Each county District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts treats Possession of a Controlled Substance differently.  For instance, in some courts, you have a good chance of getting the matter outright dismissed.  For a more detailed explanation of how to get a possession charge dismissed, click here


If you have been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, it is important to speak to an experienced drug crime lawyer as soon as possible.  For a free consultation, contact Attorney Thaler at 781-366-0806 or at

To set up a free consultation, or for general inquiries, please use this form:

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