Drug Penalty Lawyer in Chester County
Pennsylvania laws are quite severe for violations of the Controlled Substances Act and an individual facing drug charges is well recommended to consult with an experienced drug crimes lawyer such as the West Chester PA based firm of Ciccarelli Law Offices to discuss their rights and options.
Penalties for a Violation of the Controlled Substances Act in Pennsylvania can include significant fines, jail time or incarceration, probation, suspension of drivers’ license operating privileges and a permanent criminal record.
The chart below summarizes how serious a drug crime conviction can be, whether you or a first time offender, a college student or an individual with a drug dependency that is out of control:
|30g or less||misdemeanor||30 days||$ 500|
|More than 30g||misdemeanor||1 year||$ 5,000|
|First possession conviction is eligible for conditional release. Subsequent conviction can lead to a doubled penalty.|
|Sale or Distribution|
|30g or less for no remuneration||misdemeanor||30 days||$ 500|
|2 – 10 lbs||felony||1 year*||$ 5,000|
|10 – 50 lbs||felony||3 year*||$ 25,000|
|Less than 1000 lbs||felony||3 years||$ 25,000|
|More than 1000 lbs||felony||10 years||$ 100,000|
|Within 1000 ft of a school or within 250 ft of recreational playground punishable by 2-4 years in prison.|
|To a minor, or after a previous drug conviction, brings doubled penalties.|
|Courts are authorized to increase the maximum fine to exhaust all proceeds from drug sales.|
|* Mandatory minimum sentence|
|10 – 21 plants||felony||1 year*||$ 5,000|
|22 – 51 plants||felony||3 years*||$ 15,000|
|* Mandatory minimum sentence|
|Hash & Concentrates|
|Possession of 8 g or less||misdemeanor||30 days||$ 500|
|Possession of more than 8 g||misdemeanor||1 year||$ 5,000|
|Manufacture||felony||5 years||$ 15,000|
|Penalties for selling or trafficking hashish or concentrates are the same as the trafficking penalties for marijuana. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details.|
|Possession or sale of paraphernalia||misdemeanor||1 year||$ 2,500|
|To a minor at least 3 years younger||misdemeanor||2 year||$ 5,000|
|Suspension of driving privileges upon receiving a conviction of any offense involving the possession, sale, delivery of any controlled substance.|
Ciccarelli Law offices defends individuals and their families facing serious drug related offenses including drug and narcotics crimes, possession and delivery or trafficking crimes in Pennsylvania. Our Pennsylvania criminal lawyers have been handling drug cases for more than 30 years and look to help clients avoid having these charges lead to serious jail time and a permanent mark on their criminal record.
Contact us if you need legal advice and representation to defend against drug penalties for charges of narcotics and controlled substances charges such as: marijuana possession, cocaine possession, possession with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, cultivation or growing of marijuana, prescription fraud or forgery and drug offenses in school zones.
Having an experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense attorney with established credibility and a reputation for success at trial can be an invaluable asset in these matters. Our defense often begins before you have been arrested and before you have spoken to the police. Look to our team to protect you. If this is your first arrest for drug possession, there is a good chance that our attorney can get you placed into a diversion program that will keep a conviction off your record. In cases where trial is the best option, we will work with you to combat the legality of any arrest or search, combat the prosecutions’s case and work to put the case in the best posture. Where directed, we will also use or skills as litigators and negotiators to negotiate a reduction in the charges and/or penalties.
No two cases are the same, but our experience and commitment to case preparation can have a strong bearing on how your case turns out. Where possible, we will involve defense investigators and other experts in preparing your defense. We work with the client in establishing what their particular goals and desires are in a serious criminal case and will work with them in establishing a defense plan. In many cases, early initiative in developing and executing your defense strategy can play a key role in the ultimate outcome of the case.
What Are The Best Defenses For a Drug Crime Charge?
A good defense strategy is imperative if you want to avoid a conviction for a drug crime charge. Here are a few effective sentences that your drug crime lawyer in Philadelphia might use to defend you.
1. Violation of Your Constitutional Rights Through an Illegal Search
If your property was searched illegally, meaning law enforcement was without probable cause or was not in possession of a warrant, your Fourth Amendment Rights have been violated. If the court recognizes this, the charges against you will be dismissed, or the drug evidence will be suppressed.
If the majority of the evidence against you came from an illegal search, your case could be dropped, and if the law enforcement officer truly set you up, you may be able to sue the officer. Your drug crime defense attorney will be clear on whether this is an appropriate action.
2. Proving Entrapment by Law Enforcement
When a law enforcement officer manipulates a situation to coerce you into committing a drug-related crime that you typically would not have committed, the officer has tried to entrap you. This strategy requires an experienced drug crime defense lawyer since it is more subtle and challenging to prove than an illegal search.
Your attorney will need to show the court that you were coerced or intimidated, and this caused the crime. This differs from having the opportunity, but the differences are nuanced.
3. Evidence Was Planted in an Effort to Frame You
This is a complex strategy to attempt to prove. However, there are times when law enforcement plants drugs on a person they are trying to frame. A talented criminal defense team may be able to prove you did not purchase or possess the drugs.
The evidence needed to prove this can be complicated to obtain. It might involve gathering body cam videos and investigating the officer’s reputation for personal biases and previous misconduct.
4. Substances in Your Possession Were Legal
At times, drug possession can be a mix-up. Sometimes, this happens when a person is in possession of a drug that could be sold as an illegal substance, but they have a prescription for it. Another case would be if the substance in your possession were simply not a drug. These can require the substance to be lab tested.
What is Drug Court?
In Philadelphia, drug courts use a combination of judicial oversight, mandatory drug testing, and treatments, paired with some incentives, to aid those charged with drug-related crimes to beat their substance addictions. There are teams that monitor those charged with drug crimes and help provide the supervision and encouragement they need to successfully beat the negative spirals of drug abuse and criminal behavior.
There is a judge in charge of a drug team, and the team is made up of the following:
- Probation officer
- Law enforcement
- Drug treatment professional
- Defense counsel
- Court coordinator
This team works together with the offender to provide structure and motivation to make positive choices in the future. Drug testing occurs regularly, the offender must appear in court when required, and there are recovery and treatment protocols that must be followed in order to keep the matter out of criminal court. If the person the team is working together to help finds themself in noncompliance, they may face sanctions or may see the criminal charges return.
Contact Our Experienced Drug Penalty Lawyers Chester County
There are never any guarantees when it comes to criminal defense. However, understanding your legal options can immensely improve your chances of defending yourself in court. With years of experience in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system, our attorneys understand how to negotiate, how to identify questionable police conduct, and how to prevent clients from making certain kinds of mistakes.
Our attorneys are ready to defend your drug crime case. We will take the time to investigative your case both before and after the charges have been filed in court at the Preliminary Hearing Representation, and thereafter until the case is over. For questions or a free case evaluation, call our West Chester office today!