Pennsylvania is one of those states where having illegal narcotics on you is considered a crime. If you are found in possession of an illegal drug or controlled substance, and if found guilty, you will go to jail. Those drugs include:
- Other recreational drugs
For a defendant to be found guilty, the court has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally and knowingly possessed a controlled substance.
The only “way out” is with an attorney’s help. If you are facing drug possession charges in Pennsylvania, we highly recommend you to get in touch with Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys and schedule your initial consultation today.
Here is how you can create your defense case when charged with drug possession charges.
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Several Possible Defenses
There are many different ways in which you can prove that you are innocent. With the help of an attorney, if you can prove the following, you will be set free of all the charges:
- The lack of intent
- The lack of knowledge
- The insufficient quantity of the drug
- The drug was prescribed by a medical doctor
- You had a license to carry the drug and you are a medical practitioner licensed by the State Board
- The drugs did not belong to you
- You were unlawfully searched and the drugs were unlawfully seized
If you have a valid prescription from a physician to use the drug, you will be set free of all the charges. However, getting a license is not as easy as it sounds. In reality, only some individuals receive a valid prescription to use medicinal marijuana, but these individuals usually have a condition and the drug helps with removing or curing the symptoms.
Possible Penalties and Sentences
Based on the charges, you could be looking at different penalties and different sentence time. A person caught with several joints will not face the same consequences as the person caught with half a pound of cocaine. Also, there is a difference in whether or not the defendant intended to distribute and manufacture the drug and if the drugs were for personal use. It is still a crime (having these drugs on you), but these circumstances can impact the decision of the court.
Penalties for drug possession vary and are differently fined. Having less than 30 grams of marijuana will be an ungraded misdemeanor, and will come with a penalty of 30 days in prison and fine of up to $500.
Having other narcotics (cocaine, heroin) on you could cause you to spend up to fifteen years in prison, and be fined with up to $250,000 or more. The court will issue a warrant to exhaust all your assets and profits built up from the illegal activities (sales and the distribution of the illegal narcotics).
The penalties will depend on:
- the type of the drug found in possession
- the amount found in possession
- the classification of the drug
Minor penalties include probation and small fees, and major penalties could lead to life behind bars and very large fines. Speak with Pittsburgh criminal attorneys if you are facing drug possession charges. Do not waste your time; instead, start working with your attorney and try and clear your name of all the charges.
Drug Possession Charges May be Permanent
Once you are convicted, it will be difficult to get a drug charge off your record. And even though Pennsylvania allows for expungements (the criminal record is sealed and no longer appears on background checks), getting your record cleared or hidden after receiving drug possession conviction will be nearly impossible.
Besides jail time and fines, other penalties come with charges of drug possession. Once convicted, you will most likely lose your professional licenses and the ability to work in the field of:
- school teaching
Once your professional license has been invoked, finding a job will be harder than ever, especially without the ability to obtain new licenses.
Additionally, you could lose custody of your children (if previously assigned). If you are an immigrant, you will most likely get deported back to your country of the previous residence.
Those convicted of drug possession will usually face serious consequences every subsequent time after the initial arrest. And the penalties and charges will just get worse and worse.
If you think that you can get away with these charges without speaking with an attorney, you are wrong. Your only way out is with the right and proper defense. Get all the help that you need today. Phone our offices and speak with available criminal attorneys in Pittsburgh, and you will be offered the chance to schedule a consultation and receive a free case review, followed by legal representation (should you choose to hire our services).
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
If you are found in possession of a group of apparatus, equipment or furnishing used for a particular activity (related to drug abuse or usage), you will be charged with up to one year in prison, and up to $2,500 in fines. Additionally, if it is proven that you have manufactured the drugs, distributed the products or used as a mule, you will face serious penalties and probably spend the next 5 to 20 years in prison.
Defending Your Legal Rights
Drug possession charges have many negative penalties. Besides having to spend time in jail and having to pay fines, you could lose all your assets. Additionally, your reputation will be defamed, you will lose your job and all your sources of income. If you are a gang affiliate or a member, you will receive additional penalties.
The only chance you have to rebuild your life and start over is to either serve your time or to hire an attorney and try to form a defense case.
If you do not have an attorney on speed dial, contact Pittsburgh criminal attorneys today and they will help investigate your case and find evidence to support your innocence or to reduce your sentence to a minimum one, with minimum fines.