Fight a Drug Crime Charge in Allentown
Turn to our Pennsylvania Attorneys if You are Under Investigation
Pennsylvania categorizes controlled and dangerous substances into five schedules. Schedule I drugs are deemed the most dangerous and have the highest probability of addiction and abuse. Schedule II through V drugs decrease in severity and addictiveness and increase in recognized medical uses. Facing a criminal charge involving a controlled substance can lead to serious legal penalties. This includes possession (even a small amount of marijuana), manufacturing, or possession drug paraphernalia.
Get a free evaluation of your drug crime case by calling (484) 498-6334 to speak with a drug crime defense lawyer in Allentown.
Drug Possession Charges: What You Need to Know
A person can be found guilty of possession if he or she knowingly possesses illegal drugs. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance without a prescription from a doctor. Penalties for possession can include:
- fines up to $5,000, and/or
- jail time of up to 1 year
Any second or subsequent conviction can bring the following penalties:
- fines up to $25,000, and/or
- up to 3 years in prison
Possession or transportation of GHB (a date rape drug) is a felony, and carries a fine of up to $250,000, up to 15 years in prison or both. Additionally, it is illegal to intentionally possess marijuana. If you are found with up to 30 grams, you may face penalties including a fine of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail. Being convicted for possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana is punished by a fine of $5,000 and/or a year in jail.
How Regan Law Firm Can Help You: Our Defense Strategies
In a possession case, the defendant and his attorney should answer several questions before deciding how to proceed with the case:
- Did the defendant have a script for the controlled substances in his possession?
- Was the search of the defendant or his property, resulting in the seizure of the controlled substances Constitutional?
- If it was not a Constitutional search and/or seizure, then the attorney must file for a suppression hearing and request the Court suppress all of the evidence gathered as a result of this illegal search.
- Was the controlled substance in the defendant’s possession, or merely in his vicinity?
If the questions above result in unfavorable answers, the defendant may decide it is in his best interest to enter into plea negotiations with the District Attorney’s office. If he or she has no prior convictions, he /she may be eligible for a first offender program, such as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or a Section 17 disposition. In both of these programs he / she will be placed on probation. Upon successful completion of the ARD probation, the charges are dismissed, and the defendant can file for expungement of the arrest. With the completion of the Section 17 probation, the charges are automatically expunged. Another option is to attempt to plead the charges to a lesser crime, such as a summary offense Disorderly Conduct, which usually results in a small fine.
Transporting Drug Components
In addition to the possession of illegal drugs, Pennsylvania also has penalties for the possession of the compounds used to manufacture them. For example, transporting or possessing liquefied ammonia, when not used for approved agriculture, may result in fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 5 years. Liquefied ammonia gas, ammonium sulfate, red phosphorous, or another specified precursor to controlled dangerous substances, with the express intent to make a controlled substance, can result in up to $15,000 in fines and/or 7 years in prison.
Possession With Intent to Deliver (PWID)
A defendant convicted of this crime may be sentenced to mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. Factors that determine whether a mandatory minimum sentence can be applied by the District Attorney’s office include:
- the type of controlled substance,
- the weight of the controlled substance,
- if the crime occurred within 1000 feet of a school or 250 feet of a playground,
- if the defendant or an accomplice had a firearm on him or within his reach,
- and if the person receiving the controlled substance was a minor.
Additionally, a defendant convicted of this crime will have their driving privileges suspended for six months if it his first conviction. A second conviction will result in a license suspension of one year, while a third or subsequent conviction will result in the two-year license suspension.
Drug Distribution, Growing, and Manufacturing in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, if a person makes, grows, sells, or possesses drugs with the intent to distribute, that person can be charged with distribution. Depending on the drug distributed, a person convicted for the first time under this law could face a maximum sentence of anywhere between one to fifteen years, and a fine between $5000 and $250,000. The maximum potential sentence doubles if the person has a prior conviction for distribution.
The penalties associated with the growing or distribution of marijuana is based on the amount and whether it was sold or given away:
- The distribution of up to 30 grams of marijuana without compensation is an ungraded misdemeanor and is punishable by fines of $500 and/or 30 days or fewer in jail.
- Selling 1,000 pounds or less of marijuana is punishable by fines up to $15,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years.
- Selling more than 1,000 pounds is punished by up to $100,000 in fines and/or 10 years or less in prison.
In addition, there are mandatory minimum sentences that are applicable if the amount distributed was over two pounds. It is also illegal to make, sell, or advertise paraphernalia used to take drugs, or possess devices intended for drug use. Paraphernalia is a broad term including anything used to grow, process, sell, or use marijuana.
Penalties for selling or manufacturing paraphernalia include:
- a fine of up to $2,500,
- up to one year in jail
- or both.
Selling paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years younger than the seller incurs increased penalties. These penalties may include a fine of up to $5,000, up to two years in prison, or both.
Drug Paraphernalia Charges
In Pennsylvania, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia is classified as an ungraded misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail. Drug paraphernalia includes any object used or designed for the use of packaging, containing, transporting, growing, creating or ingesting a controlled substance. Examples of drug paraphernalia include:
- tin foil,
- rolling papers,
- and heat lamps.
If it contains a drug, such as a cardboard box containing marijuana, then it is drug paraphernalia. If it is intended to ingest a drug, such as a pipe or bong, then it may be considered drug paraphernalia.
If you or a loved one are facing drug charges, contact the experienced Pennsylvania drug crime defense attorney at Regan Law Firm. He has more than a decade of experience and can help you look for options during your initial case evaluation -- it is free of charge and confidential. Call (484) 498-6334 today. Check out our drug charges FAQ for more information.