There are stiff penalties for those who are caught with illegal narcotics in Pennsylvania. This is particularly true for those who possess, sell, or manufacture drugs. However, there are situations where a person could be in possession of drugs that actually belong to someone else.
Unfortunately, if you are caught with drugs in your possession, you could still be convicted and face severe penalties. If you or someone you care about has been charged with drug possession and the narcotics were not yours, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania as soon as possible.
It Does Not Matter Whether The Drugs Are Yours
If you have any type of interaction with law enforcement officials and they find narcotics in your possession after a legal search, it is very likely that you will face charges. It does not matter whether or not the drugs found are actually yours.
Unless an individual can prove right then and there when they are interacting with police that someone else had access to the area and could be the owner of the drugs, the individual will likely be arrested and face charges of possession.
If this happens to you, it is crucial that you do not resist arrest and that you remain polite and respectful at all times. You should also avoid giving any information other than your identity. You should not answer any questions posed to you by the police or prosecutors until you have an attorney representing you.
There are various defenses that an attorney could use to help your case. First, a drug possession defense lawyer will work to prove that you were not the only person with access to the drugs that were found, whether they were found in a home or in a vehicle.
Prosecutors have the burden of proof of showing the drugs that were seized or found did, in fact, belong to the person they arrested. If it can be shown that other individuals had access to drugs, this could help get the charges dismissed or place doubt in a juror’s mind.
Additionally, police officers have to have probable cause to search an individual, a car, or a home for drugs. If they did not have probable cause, then the search was illegal, and any evidence found will be disregarded. An attorney will conduct an independent investigation into the incident to determine whether or not law enforcement officials had probable cause.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Pennsylvania
The drug possession laws in Pennsylvania are harsh. The severity of penalties for the possession conviction will depend on the type of substance involved, the amount of substance in a person’s possession, past convictions, as well as the intent of the individual.
Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense, and possession of 30 grams or less will result in a fine of $500 and up to 30 days in jail. A person carrying more than 30 grams could result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
The possession of other types of drugs is considered a felony in Pennsylvania. This includes the possession of cocaine, crack, meth, PCP, isomers, and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Any person charged with possession with intent to deliver could face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 25 years in prison.