Pennsylvania prisons are filled with drug offenders. While you would think prison space would be reserved for those convicted of violent crimes, the War on Drugs has changed that. While the pendulum is beginning to swing in the other direction, in favor of treatment for drug offenders, serious drug crimes often carry serious prison sentences.
The presence of drugs in Pennsylvania communities is often seen as an indication of the dangerousness of that community. People are scared of drug dealers and users, not understanding that many times those accused of such crimes are more similar to them than they would care to recognize.
Just because you are accused of selling, trafficking, manufacturing or intending to sell drugs, doesn’t make you a bad person. When it feels like no one is on your side or interested in what you have to say in your defense, a criminal defense lawyer can help.
Serious drug offenses like these are penalized severely by Pennsylvania courts. You could be facing charges like:
- Possession with Intent to Sell
Any one of these charges has the potential to dramatically change your life. From prison time and fines to a permanent criminal record, a conviction is the last thing you want.
Pennsylvania Drug Distribution Charges and Penalties
The penalty you face for you alleged crime depends on precisely how much of the drug you are accused of dealing with and what type of drug it was. Obviously, the more dangerous the drug, the more severe the penalties will be.
Marijuana: At least 2 pounds, but no more than 10 pounds; mandatory minimum 1 year in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Cocaine: At least 2 grams, but less than 10 grams; mandatory minimum 1 year in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Methamphetamine: At least 5 grams and less than 10 grams; mandatory minimum 3 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Narcotics: At least 2 grams and less than 10 grams; mandatory minimum 2 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Heroin: At least 2 grams and less than 5 grams; mandatory minimum 2 years and $5,000 in fines.
**If you have prior drug convictions, these sentences will be elevated** (PA Code §18-7508)
The only way to know for certain what kind of penalty you are facing is to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Your criminal history, the amount of the drug, and the facts of the case will all play an important role in the sentence that the prosecution seeks in your case.
How Can I Fight a Felony Drug Charge in Pennsylvania?
Drug cases hinge on the evidence collected by police. Sometimes the physical evidence (including any drugs) is collected in a manner that violates your rights as a U.S. citizen. Your attorney will investigate the actions by police to ensure that your rights were protected. If they weren’t, your attorney can motion the court to suppress the evidence seized.
Even in cases where the evidence is legitimate, you have options. It is common for police to “overcharge” cases as intent to deliver or sell drugs, when a simple drug possession charge is more appropriate and justified by the law. If you have what the police or prosecutors consider a significant quantity of drugs that was actually for your personal use, or it was purchased or package in multiple containers, they may try to inflate the charges to a felony drug distribution offense.
We can argue that the facts don’t support the more serious charge and should be reduced.
Contact our offices today to discuss your case and what can be done.