drugs on a table

Class A Drug Possession In Massachusetts: Provisions Of The Law, Fines, And Penalties Involved

While all states in the United States of America have laws regarding the field of illicit drugs and substances, each state has different penalties and handling methods for cases. For Massachusetts, drugs are still marked as illegal and punishable by law, but with a proper structure on penalties caused by drug possession. 

In Massachusetts, it helps to understand the drug classifications, and in this article, we will be covering what Class A drugs are. A Class A drug for this state is any drug or controlled substance listed under MA General Laws in Chapter 94C, or the Controlled Substances Act, Section 31. These include heroin, morphine, and “designer drugs” like ketamine and GHB. 

The law has a whole list of Class A drugs that fall under it, with many of them unrecognizable by the common user, or used in medicinal fields for veterinary or human purposes. It is important to note that a number of these are no longer manufactured, and even some prescribed legally by a doctor fall under the category if abused or wrongfully distributed. 

Why Are They Identified As Controlled Substances?

The list of drugs that are deemed illegal was created under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. These substances were known to produce psychedelic effects that altered the mental state of users, which were deemed dangerous to the public by the US government. 

Substances are defined as any officially recognized drug that affects the way a human or animal functions. This does not include food, as food and drink are necessities for survival. The change in mental stability or functions due to mind-altering properties makes up the term “controlled substance.”

Class A Drugs In Massachusetts

Class A drugs in MA are one of five controlled substance classes that were set up to organize penalties surrounding the field of illicit drugs that violate Chapter 94C’s provisions. The Commonwealth contains five classifications, and different drugs are grouped with the criteria of the risk of abuse, dependency probabilities, and medicinal utilities. Class A ones have a higher risk of abuse that may cause addiction, with few to no medical applications than the others on the list. 

Class A Provisions On Possession And Penalties

Possession of a controlled substance means that the prosecution needs to prove that you had immediate possession of the drug, access or control over it, and knowledge on its existence. Physically having Class A substances on your person is unlawful and extremely punishable unless you are prescribed these substances from a licensed practitioner, which needs proof. 

Unless it was heroin on your person, first instances of possession are marked as misdemeanors. Heroin is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs, in which the Commonwealth has specific laws made for heroin crimes. 

Prior possession of substances that fall under Class A can land you up to two years in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both during your succeeding cases. Also, note that being in the company of someone who was found to possess heroin is a crime, even if you yourself did not use it. Massachusetts law must prove you knew that the person charged with having it knew it was there. 


While Massachusetts has clear laws laid out for Class A substances and the possession of these, the law is extra punishing when it comes to heroin. When charged with any offenses to the provisions laid out above, be sure to contact a criminal defense attorney to assist you in dealing with the law. Remember that convictions of any sort of crime are damaging to you and your reputation, with the added after-effects of difficulties landing a job, and so many others. 

At The Fernandez Firm, we are some of the most experienced and renowned criminal defense attorneys in Boston who specialize in Massachusetts law and jurisdiction. If you find yourself in a tight spot with difficulties due to charges pressed against you, contact us and give us the details for a free consultation.