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What Evidence is Used in Drug Prosecutions in Pennsylvania?
Drug laws in Pennsylvania cover a wide array of different drugs and drug penalties, making it imperative that you understand the specific charges you are facing.
Below are some frequently asked question on how prosecutors handle drug cases in Pennsylvania, including evidence prosecutors typically use and how intent is proven. Pennsylvania drug lawyer Amato Sanita answers the questions.
What Do The Prosecutors in Pennsylvania Need To Prove For a Drug Conviction?
The prosecution has the burden to prove the crime of possession with the intent to deliver versus mere possession of a controlled substance. The foremost results in a felony charge and the latter a misdemeanor. It is the job of a drug lawyer to evaluate a drug case and determine what is the best defense for a person charged with both or one of the drug crimes.
How Do The Prosecutors Go About Proving Their Case?
In order to prove their case, prosecutors use both hard physical evidence and circumstantial evidence offered by police drug experts.
What Evidence Do Prosecutors Typically Use?
Some examples of hard physical evidence include videotaping drug transactions, undercover surveillance by narcotics trained officers, the use of confidential informants to provide information and make controlled purchases, the use of confidential locations and undercover vehicles to conduct the drug surveillance in a particular area and additionally specifically trained narcotics dogs are often employed.
Some examples of circumstantial evidence include the use of narcotics experts to determine how much narcotics can be attributable to personal use versus possession with the intent to deliver, the appearance of scales, narcotics packaging, any and all weapons found at a specific location and certain chemical agents or machinery that can suggest possession with the intent to deliver even without any visible sales.
How Do Prosecutors Prove Intent?
Prosecutors prove intent, again, through the use of hard physical evidence or circumstantial evidence both of which we’ve already indicated. Such evidence shows that a person possesses or can possess a controlled substance with the intent to deliver or can possess a controlled substance with the intent to use.
Under circumstances where a person can possess drugs with the intent to deliver, videotaping drug transactions, undercover surveillance, the use of confidential informants, the use of confidential locations, and the use of K-9 dogs specifically trained to locate narcotics are often used.
In other circumstances, as we would call circumstantial evidence, the use of drug narcotics experts to determine how much narcotics can be attributable to personal use, the appearance of scales, narcotics packaging, firearms, or certain chemical agents as well as machinery that can suggest possession with the intent to deliver.
Are Drug Cases Prosecuted Vigorously in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania prosecutes drug offenses very vigorously. Pennsylvania prosecutors often seek sentences that far exceed sentencing guidelines. The general belief is that more serious crimes are caused by drug offenses and to root out more serious crime, drug offenses are often treated more harshly.