Lancaster County Drug Crimes Lawyer
Lancaster Drug Crimes
In Lancaster and across the state of Pennsylvania, drug crimes are taken extremely seriously. A person who is in possession of an illegal drug, drug paraphernalia, or any other illegal substance classified under Pennsylvania drug schedules, could be charged under (35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(16)). Every drug possession charge is dependent on the actual circumstances surrounding the case, including the type of drug, the amount of the drug, and other factors associated with the arrest. We defend clients in Drug Cases throughout Lancaster County PA including Ephrata, Paradise, Gap, Manheim, Lititz, Millersville, Columbia and Lancaster City.
If you are facing drug charges in Lancaster, we can help. Our team of attorneys have the experience, passion, and consideration to protect your future and your freedom during this difficult legal process. Contact us today at (717) 291-9400 or (877) 529-2422. Our Lancaster Office is located at 313 West Liberty Place, Lancaster PA 17603.
The War on Drugs is an ever-present fight that claims countless victims every year. A large part of this war’s victim count are those charged with small drug charges and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Not every drug possession charge should result in prison time. If you have been charged with a drug crime in Lancaster, you need a criminal defense attorney who will defend your rights against a judicial system with sights set to defeat the War on Drugs, no matter what.
Finding the Best Attorneys Defending Your Rights
At Ciccarelli Law Offices we fight for you. We utilize over 100 years of legal experience to get you the defense you deserve after being charged with a drug crime. Whether a minor Marijuana charge, or an escalated trafficking charge, Ciccarelli Law Offices will defend you against a government that is set to make you an example of the law. Even as the defendant, you have rights that should be protected. Those rights are our first concern.
Our Knowledge of the Pennsylvania Drug Laws Can Keep You Out of Jail
With our extensive trial experience and depth knowledge of the law, we have all the resources you need to minimize your sentence or stay out of jail all together. It’s important to understand the drug laws so you and your rights can be fought for justly.
The Pennsylvania and federal drug laws overlap in quite a few areas regarding what they find illegal: possession of certain drugs, distributing narcotics, manufacturing narcotics, dispensing narcotics. Pennsylvania is more likely to house your case in instances where the trafficking or possession are on a smaller scale, while Federal courts are more likely to take your case on larger distribution crimes. Whether you’ve been charged federally or under the Commonwealth, we can help.
Common Drug Charges:
- Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana
- Sale or Delivery of Marijuana in Chester County
- Delivery of Marijuana by a College Student
- Delivery or sale of Marijuana by a high school student
- Sale of Marijuana in a School Zone
- Juvenile Offenses of Marijuana Delivery or Distribution
Many drug charges can result in any of the following sentences:
- Jail time
- Negative impact on your family, your job and your future
- Loss of driver license privileges
- Parole or probation and fines
- Multiple different sentences that can include time in prison and up to $100,000 fines
If you’ve been charged for a drug crime in the following areas, our criminal defense lawyers can help your case and keep your sentencing minimal – New Holland, Millersville, Quarryville, Ephrata, Intercourse, Lititz, Manheim, Paradise, or any other area surrounding Lancaster. For further legal information or for a free case evaluation, call the lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices today. We will help you receive the justice you deserve, call us today!
Understanding the Lancaster Drug Charges You Face
Pennsylvania drug possession laws define possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance such as marijuana cocaine, methamphetamine or other illegal narcotics as well as some legally available prescription medications when they are possessed without proper prescription. Other than possession of an illegal substance Pennsylvania drug laws detail additional drug crimes such as:
- Possession with Intent to Deliver (35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(30)) is defined as the manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. The main difference between drug possession charges and charges of Possession with Intent to Deliver is the determination of whether the illegal substance is for personal use or for distribution to others. This determination is generally based on the amount of the illegal drugs, whether or not the drugs in question were packaged and whether a large amount of cash was found along with the drugs. Like possession, the penalties for Possession with Intent to Deliver will depend on the specific drug, the amount of the drug and whether the person being charged has a prior criminal record. Therefore, the crime could be charged as a misdemeanor, with a one-year maximum jail sentence, or as a felony, bringing up to 15 years in prison and a fine as large as $250,000.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(32)) is defined under Pennsylvania law as the use of or the possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia “for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this act.” The drug paraphernalia laws in the state of Pennsylvania apply to pipes, needles, scales, bongs, grinders or rolling papers. If the drug paraphernalia is delivered to a minor who is at least 3 years younger than the alleged perpetrator, may be charged with an additional misdemeanor in the second degree. This separate misdemeanor is punishable by a fine as large as $5,000, and/or up to two years in prison. Penalties for the offense of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia can be up to one year in jail, and a maximum fine of $2,500 or both.
Marijuana Defense Attorneys You Can Trust
While many states have decriminalized possession of marijuana in smaller amounts, and while the city of Philadelphia has decriminalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana, the drug is still considered a controlled substance in Pennsylvania. As such, if you are found in possession of marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania you can be criminally charged with either possession of a small amount of marijuana, simple possession or possession with intent to deliver.
Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the state, meaning it is classified as highly addictive, with no medical use—even though medical marijuana is now legal in the state of Pennsylvania. Other schedule I drugs include heroin, ecstasy and LSD. Schedule II drugs include OxyContin, Percocet, cocaine, Demerol, Ritalin and Adderall (without a prescription). Schedule II drugs are also considered to have serious potential for abuse but have a medical use and can be available via prescription.
Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana (35 Pa. Stat. Ann. §780-113 (a)(31)) could be charged when a person is in possession of 30 grams or less of the drug. This unique offense category has been created by the state, acknowledging the fact that possession of marijuana is a lower-level offense with lower penalties than simple possession. The charge is a misdemeanor however the penalties are up to 30 days in jail, and a fine as large as $500.
Simple Possession of Marijuana (35 Pa. Stat. Ann § 780-113(a)(16)) is knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance; the law assumes the drug is intended for personal use. Simple Possession of Marijuana is the same offense as Simple Possession of any controlled substance, assuming, once again, that the drug is intended for personal use only. If there are strong indications that there was intent to distribute, despite the smaller amount of the drug, then Possession with the Intent to Distribute could be charged.
A person convicted of a first offense of simple possession of marijuana could face up to a year in jail and a fine as large as $5,000. For a second offense of simple possession, the sentence increases significantly—up to three years in prison and/or a fine as large as $25,000. Additionally, a person convicted of simple possession will have their driver’s license suspended—a six-month suspension for a first offense, a one-year suspension for a second conviction and a two-year suspension for a third or subsequent conviction. Enrollment in the ARD or a similar diversionary program will circumvent the suspension.
Possession with the Intent to Deliver
Possession with the Intent to Deliver (35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(30)) for marijuana—or any other controlled substance is a very serious crime in Lancaster and across the state of Pennsylvania. Not matter the type of drug or the amounts of the drug involved, PWID involves an upgraded felony offense, however the penalties for the offense will depend on the type and weight of the drug involved, the “offense gravity score,” whether this is a first, second or subsequent offense for PWID and whether mandatory sentences apply as related to school zone, delivery to a person under the age of 18 and weight of the drug.
If you are charged with PWID you are, by extension, also charged with simple possession since you cannot possess the item with the intent to distribute without possessing them at the same time. For PWID charges, the simple possession charge would be considered a lesser included offense. While PWID is usually charged when you are found with a significant amount of illegal drugs in your possession, leading the police to believe it was more than you would have for your own use, you could also be charged with PWID if the police allegedly observed you dealing illegal substances, discovered scales, packaging materials, large sums of money in small denominations or even if you allegedly gave a drug to friends for their use without charging.
To further complicate matters, every street drug is treated differently under Pennsylvania law. As an example, PWID for cocaine might incur a maximum 20 year prison sentence, while a heroin PWID could incur a maximum sentence of 30 years and a marijuana PWID could incur a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, although the range of minimum to maximum sentencing to the court would include only probation for a marijuana PWID.
Lancaster Lawyers Ready to Take on Drug Charges
Police officers in Lancaster need a search warrant in most cases if they intend to look for illegal drugs in your home, yard or vehicle. A search warrant is issued by a judge after the police show sufficient evidence (probable cause) that there is a reasonable belief a crime has been committed and that the evidence of that crime can be found in a specific location—i.e. your home. If the police have a warrant, they have the right to search your property for evidence of the crime.
If the warrant gives the police the right to search only the kitchen in your home, but while they are doing so they hear sounds that lead them to believe drugs are being flushed in the bathroom, then they are allowed to expand the search to the bathroom as well. The only times the police have the right to search your property without a warrant is if you give them consent, the evidence is in plain view, or it could be considered an emergency. As you can see, the police have fairly wide latitude where drug searches are concerned, however your attorney could be able to have evidence from a search ruled non-admissible if it is clear the search was illegal.
Picking the Best Drug Crime Defense Lawyer in Lancaster
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Lancaster drug crimes attorney will build a solid defense based on the specific circumstances surrounding your charges. Some of the ways we can do this include these most commonly-used defenses to drug crimes:
- Illegal stop
- Illegal detention
- Illegal search
- Invalid search warrant
- Deficient search warrant
- Lack of actual possession
- Lack of constructive possession
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Lancaster—no matter how minor the charges may seem to you at the time—it is imperative that you contact a highly experienced Lancaster drug crimes attorney as soon as possible. The sooner your attorney is able to start building a defense on your behalf, the more likely you are to have the most positive outlook possible to your charges. Those who wait, hoping the charges will somehow go away, usually end up with very harsh penalties for their drug crimes.
Contact Our Lancaster Drug Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Lancaster, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Lancaster drug defense attorney as quickly as possible to avoid lengthy jail time. The highly experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices can help. We will fight aggressively for your rights and freedom. Contact the Ciccarelli Law Offices today by email or by phone at (717) 291-9400 or (877) 529-2422 immediately to begin building a solid defense against these serious charges.