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26 West Main Street
Dudley, MA 01571
Phone: 508-461-6241
Fax: 508-461-6243
Warrants preventing license renewal?
If you can’t renew your driver’s license due to old Massachusetts warrants or other unresolved Massachusetts legal issues, please call me. I can help.

mike asks: If someone had sold a counterfeit controlled substance to me knowingly, for the purpose to rip me off, and I reported it to the authorities are there any possible charges or penalties that I may face by doing so?

You indicated via email that this is a purely hypothetical situation that hasn’t happened to you, so here is a purely hypothetical answer. Yes. The ripped off buyer in such a scenario could be charged with attempting to possess a controlled substance, even if the “controlled substance” turns out to be a perfectly legal counterfeit substance.

Here’s how that works. It is illegal to attempt to commit a crime. The law views an action as an “attempt” if the person both intends to commit the crime and performs an act that is so closely connected to making the intended crime happen that the crime is reasonably likely to happen, barring outside interference. Under this definition, it doesn’t matter if the crime actually happens. A common example is the would-be thief who puts his hand in the till and then learns the till is empty. He could be charged with attempted larceny, even though he didn’t take any money. He intended to steal and he performed an act that was reasonably likely to result in him stealing, if not for the unforeseen fact of the empty till.

So somebody who intends to buy a controlled substance (say a few ounces of marijuana), and then learns that he actually bought oregano, could be charged with attempt to possess marijuana. The buyer intended to possess marijuana and then committed an act that was reasonably likely to result in him possessing marijuana, if not for the unforeseen fact of the seller’s duplicity.

 

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