Police and prosecutors aggressively go after alleged drug offenders in Pennsylvania. Prosecutors may even overcharge drug crimes to try to get you to plead guilty or to make an example of you with harsh penalties. You need to understand your legal rights, and a Montgomery County drug lawyer can help you to respond to your charges strategically to try to reduce or avoid penalties for drug offenses.
The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act defines different categories of drugs that are regulated in PA, making contact with a Montgomery County drug lawyer necessary. The “schedules” or categories are defined under Section 4:
Section 13 of the Controlled Substances, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act establishes prohibited acts related to Schedule I-Schedule V substances. Acts that are forbidden include:
A Montgomery County drug lawyer will review the charges against you and help you to determine what specific laws you have been accused of violating.
Penalties for drug crimes vary depending both on the schedule of the substance and amount of substance you have under your control. Simple possession will typically result in less than a year of incarceration. Possession with intent to sell a schedule I or Schedule II drug could result in decades of incarceration, especially if you have prior convictions. Even if you never sell a single drug, you can be charged with intent to sell simply for having large volumes of narcotics under your control.
When you are arrested, you will be informed whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A Montgomery County drug lawyer can help you to argue for a reduced charge or reduced sentence if you want to plea bargain instead of going to court on your drug charges. You may also be able to avoid a criminal record if you can qualify for Probation Without Verdict.
You must be treated as innocent until proven guilty in the criminal justice system. You have the right to plead not guilty and defend yourself in a jury trial. There are a number of defenses to drug charges, including arguing you were not actually in control of the substances you have been accused of possessing. If the police found the drugs on you, in your vehicle, or in your home, the evidence can be used only if police had a warrant and/or probable cause to conduct the search. Any evidence obtained in a search that violated your Fourth Amendment rights may not be used to convict you for a drug offense.
A Montgomery County drug lawyer can argue to keep evidence out of court, to dismiss the charges, or to introduce reasonable doubt at trial. Contact an attorney today to learn more.