Joint Venture Drug Cases

Joint venture drug cases, often involving charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine or marijuana, are frequently observed when the police have stopped a motor vehicle containing multiple occupants or entered a home where more than one person is present and drugs are discovered. The police may charge each of those present with serious drug charges on the theory that each was involved in a joint venture to possess with intent to distribute the drugs and each is equally criminally responsible. Boston criminal drug defense attorney Robert J. Wheeler, Jr., has successfully represented a large number of individuals charged as joint venturers in drug cases in his nearly three decades of practice devoted exclusively to defense of criminal charges. Contact Attorney Wheeler at (617) 973-5858 or to discuss your joint venture drug case and possible defenses.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has recently discussed joint venture and aiding and abetting liability. In the case of Commonwealth v. Zanetti, 454 Mass. 449 (2009) the court stated that, “(a) defendant knowingly participates in the commission of an offense if he/she intentionally participates in some meaningful way in the commission of the offense, with the intent required to commit the offense. Such participation may take any of several forms. It may take the form of asking or encouraging another person to commit the crime, or helping to plan the commission of the crime. Alternatively, it may take the form of agreeing to stand by at, or near, the scene of the crime to act as a lookout, or to provide aid or assistance in committing the crime, or in escaping, if such help becomes necessary.”

However, mere knowledge that a crime is to committed is not sufficient to convict a person and mere presence at the scene of a crime is not enough to find a person guilty, even if a person knew about the intended crime in advance and took no steps to prevent it. The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant intentionally participated in committing the crime with the intent to commit the crime. Contact Attorney Robert J. Wheeler, Jr., to discuss your case and mount the most vigorous defense.