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Traffic stop leads to drug charges

Westport Police officers recently pulled a car over for speeding on Crandall Road. As they approached the vehicle, the smell of marijuana was detected. The vehicle was subsequently searched and officers uncovered some marijuana cigarettes, a pipe and Hydrocodone tablets that lacked a proper prescription.

The suspect, a 39-year-old male, was charged with a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana, a felony for the possession of Hydrocodone and driving while in the possession of a controlled substance. He was arraigned on drug charges and released on a $1,000 bond.

Under Massachusetts law, marijuana is a Class D substance and possession of an ounce or less is no longer a criminal offense but rather subject to a lesser civil fine. However, if more than an ounce of marijuana is found, it can still result in criminal penalties. Hydrocodone, which is also known by the brand names Vicodin, Lorcet and Lortab, is a Class C substance. This class of drugs includes most prescription tranquilizers and hallucinogens. Criminal and civil penalties depend on how much Hydrocodone the defendant possessed and if the person has a valid prescription for the drug. Penalties are also higher if the defendant is suspected of drug trafficking activities.

Drug offenses are very serious and can carry possible prison time, fines, and extensive probation periods. A criminal defense attorney may be able to review the case and investigate whether or not police followed proper search and seizure procedures. The parameters for a search are very specific and if the officers don't follow the rules, it may be possible to have the charges reduced or dismissed.

Source: Tiverton-LittleCompton Patch, "Westport man arrested on multiple drug charges," Erin Tierman, Jan. 30, 2013

Source: The 188th Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, General Laws: Chapter 94C

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