School Zone Radius Reduced in Massachusetts Drug Cases

school_zone_drugsThe Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driver’s license for a period of 1 to 5 years if you have been convicted of a drug offense, even if it has nothing to do with driving or a motor vehicle. In accordance with G. L. c. 94C, § 32J, drug offenses committed within school zones carry minimum mandatory sentences of at least 2 year in jail. In 2012, the school zone radius was reduced from 1000 to 300 feet. In two decisions which were published today, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced that school zone violations which were committed prior to August 2, 2012, the effective date of the law reducing the radius to 300 feet, are still governed by the new 300 feet radius, so long as the cases are still pending and have not resulted in convictions or guilty pleas. This will allow numerous drug defendants to avoid mandatory jail time. However, they will still have their licenses automatically suspended if they are convicted or plead guilty. Fortunately, hardship licenses are available to qualified applicants.