Drug Distribution Near School Zone, Park or Playground

The Massachusetts drug crime of Distribution and/or Possession with Intent to Distribute in a School Zone or Park carries additional enhanced penalties after convictions.

Effective as of August 2, 2012, the Massachusetts State Legislature amended General Laws Chapter 94C, Section 32J and reduced the size of the school zone area from 1,000 feet to 300 feet.  The amendment also limited the scope of the statute as to the drug offenses that only occur between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and midnight.

Presently, a person is alleged to have violated this statute if the offense occurs within 300 feet of a public or private school between 5:00 a.m. and midnight (whether or not the school is then in session); or within 100 feet of a public park or playground.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C, Section 32J imposes the enhanced sentence of not less than 2.5 years to 15 years in state prison; or not less than 2 years up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections; and a possible fine of not less than $1,000 up to $10,000.  Massachusetts law requires that a conviction for a School Zone/Park Violation run 'from and after' the expiration of the sentence for the predicate offense.

In order to be convicted of a Drug School Zone / Park / Playground Violation, the prosecutor is first required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant guilty of Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance.  The jury must then go on to consider whether the prosecutor has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the offense was committed:
  • within 300 feet of the real property comprising a school (public elementary, vocational, secondary school, preschool or head start facility, or similarly privately accredited schools); and
  • between 5:00 a.m. and midnight;
  • within 100 feet of a public park or playground.
Notably, Massachusetts law does not require the prosecutor to prove that the defendant knew that he/she was within that distance from such school, park or playground.

In determining distances for alleged Drug School Zone / Park Violations, Massachusetts law does not specify any particular method for establishing the boundaries of a school.  The law prefers, however, that the distance be measured in a straight line from the school's boundary to the alleged site of illegal drug activity.

If you have been charged with a Drug Crime, including the additional crime of School Zone / Park Violation, you should immediately consult with a criminal defense lawyer who has the experience in defending against Drug Crimes. 

Massachusetts Criminal Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis has represented hundreds of persons charged with a variety of drug crimes, including simple Possession, Distribution, Possession with Intent to Distribute, School Zone / Park Violations, and Trafficking.  He has had successes in not only challenging the unlawful Searches & Seizures and Constitutional violations resulting in charges being dismissed, but has also taken cases to trial resulting in outright acquittals.

To schedule a Free Consultation with Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis, call him directly at 617-325-9500 or Click Here to Submit Your Case.