Will an out of state conviction count as a first offense in MA?

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Seven years ago, while I was living in NJ, I was convicted of possession of a controlled substance. I’m in grad school now in Central Mass and was arrested on similar charges. I did some research and found that the possession law in Massachusetts has stiffer penalties for those convicted of a second offense. For possession of a Class B substance, maximum of 2 years in jail vs. only one year for a first offense. Will the New Jersey conviction count as a first or prior offense for me? Thanks for any help.


The Answer is maybe.  If the Commonwealth does what is known as a III search for out of state records, they could try to amend the charge to a second offense.  Please keep in mind, however, that proving an out-of-state conviction is more difficult as it is unlikely that anyone from NJ is going to come to Massachusetts to confirm that you are the same person as that the named defendant in the NJ case.

The Central MA Drug Possession Lawyers  at Berid & Schutzbank provide legal representation for drug possession offenses and and can help guide individuals through the complexities associated with the criminal process in Massachusetts.  The criminal defense lawyers at Berid & Schutzbank serve the communities of Lowell and surrounding areas including: Dracut, Tewksbury, Billerica, Chelmsford and Tyngsborough.

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