First-time drug offenders in Pennsylvania can go to jail under 18 Pa. C.S. Section 7508. This statute imposes mandatory minimum penalties for crimes like possession and trafficking.
What Penalties do First-Time Drug Offenders Face in Pennsylvania?
Someone arrested with possession of between two and ten pounds of marijuana faces a $5,000 fine and one year in jail, even for their first offense. More serious penalties result from possession of a substance like heroin. This could result in a $25,000 fine and a minimum five-year prison sentence.
You can also face changes to your lifestyle. These could include:
- Loss of a professional license, like a commercial driver’s license
- Possible deportation
- Difficulty in renting an apartment
- Difficulty securing a loan
- Loss of child custody
However, you might have options to fight the charges. Early intervention can help your case, so do not hesitate to speak with a lawyer.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
What Defenses Could Benefit Your First-Time Drug-Related Case?
You might decide to hire a lawyer to represent you at trial, as is your legal right. Your lawyer could use the following defenses to get your charges waived or reduced.
The Drugs Were Not Yours
The police might have found drugs in your apartment, in your vehicle, or on the street near you when you were arrested. These drugs might not be yours, though. A successful argument of this claim could result in reduced charges and penalties.
The Police did Not Read You Your Rights
The police might not have read you your rights when you were in custody and interrogated. This does not mean the charges can be dropped as a result. However, this does mean that whatever you said during interrogation cannot be used against you in court.
The Police Lacked Probable Cause
The police must have an objective reason to believe you have committed a crime to stop, search, and arrest you. If your lawyer can prove the police did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do that, you could suppress the evidence and get your case dismissed.
You did Not Consent to the Search
Your lawyer could argue that the police searched your vehicle or apartment without proper consent. In this situation, any evidence the police found could be suppressed. This could lead to a dismissal of your case.
Your Lawyer Could Push for a Reduction of Penalties
Our intent is to get your case dismissed or secure reduced penalties for you. We could utilize several options.
Some counties in Pennsylvania have drug courts, where people accused of drug crimes can pursue treatment in exchange for less jail time. If you struggle with addiction, the court might recognize this and give you the opportunity to make positive changes.
If you are drug-dependent, your lawyer could advocate for probation under Section 17 of Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act. This program is available only to people with no prior record. After completion of the program, your charges would be dismissed.
State Intermediate Punishment
You could benefit from the State Intermediate Punishment program, or SIP. This program is most applicable to offenders facing more severe penalties. The program involves two years of drug treatment that occurs at a reduced rate over time.
Your lawyer would need to advocate for the prosecutor and judge to recommend you for this program, however.
You Could Retain a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Drug Offense Charges
When you are arrested and charged with a first-time drug offense, you might have reservations about fighting for yourself. This is understandable. You might not have any idea of how you could change your circumstances. However, our lawyers can help you.
We commit ourselves to fighting for justice for Pennsylvanians charged with crimes. Your criminal defense attorney could do the following:
- Argue for a reduction in penalties to benefit you
- Suppress evidence
- Help you prepare for court and answer all your questions
- Interview witnesses
- Advocate for release on bail or a reduction of bail
- Negotiate with the prosecutor
- Analyze evidence
- Explain the law to you
Call the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC Today So We Can Get to Work
We have the time, resources, and experience to advocate for you. The law can be confusing, and we do not expect you to educate yourself in a stressful situation like this. Our team can be there for you and walk you through your options.
Call the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC today for a free consultation. We could negotiate a plea or secure other beneficial circumstances for you. Our staff aims to educate you about your options with possession charges in Pennsylvania.