If you are arrested for certain specified drug offenses under Massachusetts law, and these offenses occur within 300 feet of a school zone between the hours of 5 a.m. and midnight, there is an enhanced penalty under Massachusetts law. If found in violation of the statute and given a house of correction sentence, the punishment is for not less than 2 years nor more than 2.5.
If sent to the state prison, the sentence is for not less than 2.5 years, and for not more than 15 years. Any sentence under the school zone statute is to run on and after the sentence for the underlying drug case.
It is important to note, however, that the school zone statute was recently amended by the legislature within the past year, changing the distance required to be found in violation under the statute from 1,000 to 300 feet, and abolishing any potential violations between the hours of 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. This highlights the legislature’s intent that the statute be tailored to drug cases occurring in very close proximity to a school, at a time when there is a possibility that a school activity may be taking place.
Even with the legislature’s tightening up of the distance and time requirements under the statute, if you or someone you know is charged with such a violation, contact a criminal law attorney who will fight for you and who will challenge the Commonwealth’s evidence.