Being arrested and charged with a drug crime can be a stressful and frightening experience. However, the severity of the penalties and the process of your case will be determined by the kind of drug charge filed against you.
In Pennsylvania, drug possession, distribution, and/or manufacturing of controlled substances are some of the most common criminal charges filed against a person. Whether filed locally in adult and juvenile courts or on the federal level, drug crimes are prevalent throughout Pennsylvania. The most common set of circumstances consist of a controlled sale or buy by a narcotics officer using confidential informants to make a purchase of a controlled substance or simply being in possession of a controlled substance in a house, vehicle, or on your person.
All circumstances can suggest drug possession or distribution and manufacturing under a specific set of facts that my office has been defending for over nineteen years.
In Pennsylvania, drug charges mainly consists of the manufacturing and sale of a controlled substance or substances with the intent to deliver or mere possession of a controlled substance or substances. Depending on the specific circumstances of an arrest either may be charged. Often the charges of conspiracy, use of a communication facility, and even gun charges are added given the facts of an individual case.
The severity of the charge is determined by the amount or weight of a controlled substance, the specific types of controlled substances involved and the way in which these substances were sold, manufactured or used. Additionally, mandatory sentencing may be imposed under certain circumstances showing a gun was involved and such an addition will impact the severity of such a crime.
In Pennsylvania, an individual is entitled to a preliminary hearing on all cases involving narcotics and other crimes. This is unique as an experienced attorney after such a hearing can properly evaluate whether a narcotics case should go to trial, be referred to a pre-trial program or be negotiated for a plea. That’s why it’s imperative to have an experienced drug lawyer from the start.
The most common misconception is simply that because this is an accused first narcotics case they will be treated lightly with or without the use of an attorney. This is the most critical time and the person without an experienced attorney often losses the opportunity to protect their record in the future.
Once a conviction for a drug offense is there, a person’s employment, future voting ability, and even driver’s license can be affected, not to mention large fines and penalties from the court.