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There are a number of drug-related offenses for which you can be charged in Pennsylvania. Importantly, different drugs can be separately charged and graded with specific penalties. Moreover, each charge has separate facts and elements that go into it, and have to be proved by the prosecution.
Whatever stage of the process you are in, having an attorney to assist you every step of the way is essential to fighting the charges you may be facing. At the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, our experienced and dedicated lawyers have what it takes to zealously advocate for you in criminal matters in Pennsylvania.
What is Drug Possession?
First, drug possession in Pennsylvania refers to the knowing or intentional possession of a controlled substance. A controlled substance is generally a drug that it is illegal to manufacture, possess, or use. This includes drugs like cocaine as well as prescription medications like OxyContin if you possess it without a prescription. Even if a drug is not found on you, you might be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Possession means that the person knows that the drug is present and has the ability to exercise “dominion or control” over the substance.
Sentencing depends on a person’s prior record, but also specifically on their prior record for drug crimes. If it is a first offense, you could face a misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine or both. If it is not your first offense, while still a misdemeanor, you could face up to three years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000 or both.
For a free legal consultation, call 215-515-3360
What is Possession with Intent to Deliver?
There is also possession with intent to deliver (PWID). This involves the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell a controlled substance—drug dealing.
The main difference between possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver is that in the latter situation the prosecutor needs to prove that you intended to distribute the illegal substance as opposed to personal use. Possession with intent to deliver is a felony.
Whether one is charged with possession or possession with intent to deliver depends on the facts in the situation. Some relevant facts can include the amount of the substance (physical weight), whether the substance was broken down, whether unused packing was present, and whether cash is also present. These facts generally indicate that you might have been intending to sell the substance rather than just use it. Of course, if the police will testify that they observed sales on the street, that may be direct evidence of the intent to deliver.
Finally, similar to possession, the penalties for possession with intent to deliver in Pennsylvania change whether it is the first time you committed a drug crime, as well as whether there are any other crimes on your criminal record. Based on these issues and the facts of the specific situation, the penalty can range vastly, from up to five years in year in jail to a felony or felonies with up to fifteen years in prison along with up to a $250,000 fine or both.
What is Possession of Paraphernalia?
A person can also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, which means one was possessing something related to using or creating drugs. This could be items used to produce a drug, like items used for storing, containing, or cultivating a drug. It could also include items for using the drug, like a needle or a bong.
For possession of drug paraphernalia in Pennsylvania, you could be charged with a misdemeanor, with up to one year in jail, along with a maximum fine of up to $2,500, or both. In addition, there could be additional aspects of the case that make the crime worse, such as giving drug paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years younger than the person who committed the crime. This would cause you to be charged with an additional misdemeanor of the second degree.
Contact The Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC Today
Fighting these kinds of criminal charges in Pennsylvania can be one of the hardest and scariest situations you have been in. In these situations, having the guidance and expertise of a seasoned criminal attorney in Pennsylvania is crucial to navigating the difficulties and stresses of a criminal charge. There are a number of important defenses that a well-versed criminal attorney can bring to the table to advocate on your behalf. The skilled, steadfast attorneys at the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder know how to work with individual clients to address their individual needs, as they go through one of the most challenging moments in their lives.
If you need a criminal defense lawyer, act fast and call 215-515-3360. We can help 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, including holidays.