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New Ruling Will Help Those With Mass. Drug Convictions & Suspensions

Massachusetts Registry News

If you are currently serving a Massachusetts license suspension because of a drug conviction, a recent Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ruling could give you relief. You may be able to reverse your conviction on the grounds that the prosecution relied only on a drug certificate and did not call the chemist who tested the alleged illegal drug. This ruling could have a huge impact on Massachusetts drug convictions and the license suspensions and revocations which these drug convictions triggered.

The state’s highest court ruled that the prosecution, in Massachusetts drug cases, routinely violated the rights of defendants by not calling the chemist as a witness to testify regarding the chemical analysis which he or she performed. Instead, for years, the prosecution relied only on certificates signed by the chemist or laboratory analyst. In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the failure to produce the live witness and subject him or her to cross examination violates the confrontation clause of the United States Constitution.  In the recent case of Commonwealth v. Vasquez, the Massachusetts SJC ruled that this legal principle can be applied retroactively to Massachusetts drug cases, even when defense counsel failed to object to the introduction of the drug certificate without the chemist’s testimony at the time of trial.

Reversal of an underlying drug conviction will, as a matter of law, result in an automatic reversal of the resulting license suspension. This means that if your Mass. License or right to drive in Massachusetts was suspended or revoked due to a drug conviction such as possession with intent to distribute, distribution, drug possession, school zone violations, and similar offenses related to Class A, B, C, D, or E controlled substances, you may be able to get your license back by challenging the underlying Massachusetts drug conviction. Reversal of the conviction woudl give you a full and unrestricted license. You would not need a hardship or 12 hour license.

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