If you have been arrested and charged with misconduct involving controlled substances or drugs in Pennsylvania, such as distribution, sale, or even possession, you can face serious criminal consequences if you are convicted. A drug offense conviction can result in lengthy jail sentences, hefty fines, and probation, not to mention the negative impact that a criminal conviction can have on your job or career, or even your education. If you are facing or are potentially facing drug charges, it is important to understand how drug offenses are defined and punished under Pennsylvania law. As you will see, drug charges should not be taken lightly. In the event that you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense, be sure to contact an experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney right away.
The Categorization of Drugs in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, controlled substances, or drugs, are grouped or categorized into five different schedules. The schedules group certain drugs together usually based on their potential for abuse or addiction, their potential for any health risks, and also whether there is a known use for the drug in the medical field. The five schedules, Schedule I through Schedule V, are used to determine the severity of your offense. For example, Schedule I drugs, like morphine, heroin, and marijuana, are considered to have a high potential for abuse and are the most dangerous. Offenses involving Schedule I drugs usually carry the harshest sentences. On the other hand, offenses involving Schedule V drugs, which typically are prescription medications and are considered less dangerous, carry less severe sentences.
Drug Distribution Offenses in Pennsylvania
Offenses that involve the distribution of controlled substances or drugs in Pennsylvania include the following:
Possession of Drugs with the Intent to Deliver
You can be arrested and charged with the possession of controlled substances or drugs with the intent to deliver them if law enforcement finds you with a large quantity of illegal drugs; finds you with drugs and drug paraphernalia, such as a bong or a crack cocaine pipe, scales, owe lists, multiple cell phones or pagers; finds you with drugs and you are near a large quantity of cash; finds you with drugs and the form or packaging of the drugs looks as though they are intended for another; or finds you with drugs and you act suspiciously.
Delivery of Drugs or Controlled Substances in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, it is also illegal to deliver controlled substances or drugs to another without authorization. It is important to note, that the Commonwealth does not need to prove that an actual sale or exchange of cash occurred. In fact, the Commonwealth needs only to prove that you transferred the illegal drugs to another person.
Possessing Drugs or Controlled Substances in Pennsylvania
Remember, for any drug delivery charge you face, you may also face a drug possession charge. The circumstances of your case will determine whether or not you will be found to have simply possessed those drugs, or possessed those drugs with the intent to deliver them, or you possessed them and thereafter delivered them to someone else. It is illegal in Pennsylvania to intentionally possess drugs or controlled substances unless you have authorization or a license to do so. Under the law, you must have actual knowledge that the drug or substance that is in your possession is illegal. But, if you have a valid doctor’s prescription for the substance you possess, it is possible that you may have a defense to your drug possession charge.
Penalties Associated with Drug Offense Convictions
If you are found guilty and are convicted of a drug offense, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you can face significant time in jail, hefty fines, probation, loss of PA drivers license, among other penalties and negative impacts on your day-today life.
Contact an experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney today to help you fight your drug charge!
If you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense, your charges should be taken seriously as you can potentially face devastating consequences in your everyday life. If you are facing drug charges, contact a seasoned Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Coover & Scheidemann have successfully helped other people who have faced similar criminal charges like yours, and they can review your case, and help you determine the best strategy for fighting your drug charge.