Drug Offenses in Pennsylvania and How an Attorney Can Help
Drug offenses have serious punishments in Pennsylvania. In fact, their local laws are among the toughest in the United States, which means that you should be really concerned in case you get involved in this situation.
Beyond being really concerned, however, the more crucial thing for you to do is to hire the services of a criminal defense attorney in PA immediately to help you get out of this situation. We, at Engle, Kauffman, and VanHorn — can give you the assistance for the defense you need to ensure the protection of your rights.
Drug Offenses in PA and Penalties
There are different types of drug offenses in Pennsylvania, but the most common type involves marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The main concern of law enforcement is to prevent the illegal trafficking of these substances; for the mitigation of their distribution to the public.
Especially with the prevalent drug problem throughout the country nowadays, the local governments are taking it upon themselves to come up with comprehensive approaches to the drug problem. Not only is there a strategy from the side of law enforcement, but also from the social aspect of it.
There are a couple of ways you can get charged with drug possession in Pennsylvania. Depending on the type and amount of drugs you have on you, it can either be a misdemeanor or felony.
Drug possession and illegally using prescriptions are misdemeanors punishable with up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Meanwhile, there are three drug offense-related felonies, which, depending on what schedule the drug falls under can have up to 15 years of imprisonment and/or fines of up to $25,000 per count:
- Possession with Intent (Drug Trafficking)
- Possession with Intent to Deliver
- Unlawful Manufacturing
The curious thing about Pennsylvania’s approach to the drug problem is that they have identified “schedules.” These are basically categories for controlled substances, depending on how prone they are to abuse versus their therapeutic value.
There are a total of 5 Schedules:
- Schedule 1 – highly addictive drugs with no medical value (marijuana, heroin, GHB, LSD, ecstasy)
- Schedule 2 – may possibly create “severe psychological or physical dependence” but has some medical use (opium, PCP, methamphetamines, cocaine, morphine)
- Schedule 3 – may possibly create “severe psychological or physical dependence” but could have less propensity for abuse, and are also medically prescribed (anabolic steroids, ketamine vicodin, xanax, etc.)
- Schedule 4 – the very low possibility of addiction, and is usually medically prescribed (valium, alprazolam, clonzaepam, etc.)
- Schedule 5 – the very little risk of addiction, and are medically prescribed (cough medicines, zolpidem, etc.)
If you ever find yourself involved in a first-time offense of paraphernalia possession in PA, make sure to immediately search for a “drug possession lawyer near me” to get the legal help you need.
The Importance of Having Legal Representation in Drug Cases
As you can see, the penalties awaiting someone with a drug offense charge are not something taken lightly. Regardless if it is a small possession charge PA, you are better off finding a “drug possession lawyer near me” as soon as you can to help get you out of this bind.
With a reputable and credible lawyer by your side, you can exhaust all possible legal remedies to make sure the protection of your rights throughout the legal process. Your drug attorney is your best bet in raising the most effective and appropriate defense for your case.
Among the possible defenses you can use include:
- Lack of intent
- Lack of knowledge
- Legitimate drug prescription by a doctor
- Unlawful search and seizure
- License to carry/licensed medical prescription
- Insufficient amount
Your lawyer not only can build a strong defense to minimize the penalty, but it is also possible to scrap the case altogether. This will require some really extensive planning and solid evidence finding; so make sure to work as closely as you can with your lawyer.
Engle, Kauffman, and VanHorn is the law firm to consult with if you need any help with legal representation for your drug offense. Whether it is a small possession charge PA or a more serious illegal manufacturing allegation, you have the right to have the best possible legal representation in Pennsylvania.