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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Bucks County Drug Trials

If you have been charged with a drug offense, speak with a skilled drug attorney that could help. A qualified lawyer could answer questions you may have about Bucks County drug trials and help you navigate the drug trial process. Speak with a lawyer today and know that you are in capable hands.

Where Are Drug Cases Heard

In Bucks County, drug cases are treated in the same fashion as other criminal cases that go through the system. They are often started at the magisterial justice court level, that is, the town in which the crime has occurred and the local magisterial justice who heard such a crime will handle the preliminary hearing.

Once the preliminary hearing is completed, should the matter continue onto trial, it will be set for an arraignment date in Doylestown which is the county seat and, there, get a pretrial and trial date before a court of common pleas judge elected in that county.

Are Drug Cases Typically Bench Trials or Jury Trials?

Individuals have a choice of whether to have a matter tried before a court, that is, a judge without a jury present, or by a jury of their peers which includes 12 individuals, unbiased, and two alternates. Both of these rights exist for both the defense and the prosecution.

Should the defense request a jury trial, then the prosecution would be required to do a jury trial. Should the prosecution request a jury trial, then the defense would be required to do a jury trial.

It is only when a defendant, through their counsel, chooses a bench or judge trial and the Commonwealth agrees to proceed in that fashion. Most cases that are not as severe will often end up as bench trials before a court of common pleas judge. However, jury trials are also very common and take additional time, but often carry higher consequences should an individual be convicted.

Elements the Prosecution Must Prove

In Bucks County drug trials, the prosecution always has the burden of proof like all criminal cases throughout Pennsylvania do. The prosecution must use evidence to prove the elements of each and every crime that they are charging that are related to drug offenses.

For instance, should the prosecution charge possession with the intent to deliver, they must show that either a person possessed drugs and was seen transferring them, that is, making sales and there are witnesses, whether police informants or police themselves make observations that the individual participated in drug sales.

Elements the Defense Could Dispute

In some cases, where no sales are seen, but an individual is stopped with a certain quantity of alleged narcotics, then drug experts from the prosecution and the defense can dispute whether or not the person possessed that particular amount of controlled substance with the intent to deliver them or not. In either case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drugs that were recovered in a particular case were done so with the intent to deliver.

Additionally, in cases involving paraphernalia, possession, violation of the Uniform Firearms Act, anything that can accompany a drug charge, the elements of those crimes must also be met beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution prior to any conviction on any charge.

Sentencing in Drug Trials

Bucks County often treats drug-related crimes at the sentencing level, meaning an individual has been convicted or pled guilty in a harsher fashion. Local courts are known to give up to the maximum sentences permissible by law. Generally speaking, sentences can range from anywhere between probation to ten years’ incarceration. Thus, having a proper mitigation packet, details and having the case handled in the right fashion only aids in reducing an otherwise severe sentence.

In Bucks County drug trials involving possession with intent to deliver graded as a felony, judges often are much less sympathetic given that the individual may not be a user and is simply selling into society an illegal substance. On the other hand, individuals charged with mere possession and usage of alleged narcotics often face a misdemeanor or less charges and, in those cases, treatment is often part of the elements of recovery and the courts are much less severe, regarding incarceration, in those cases.