Person smoking marijuana joint

Defenses Against Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania

Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. July 10, 2020

If you’ve been charged with or, are under criminal investigation for a drug crime, it can be stressful and difficult to fight. Drug convictions usually carry stiff penalties and potentially life-long consequences. It’s imperative that you take immediate action and speak to a drug charge attorney. Your life, your career, and your livelihood could be at risk.

By understanding your options and possible defenses, you can feel better prepared to face the legal process. A skilled drug charge attorney will discuss your case with you and educate you on potential next steps.

At Allegheny Attorneys at Law, we’ve spent over 15 years providing comprehensive legal representation to the people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding areas. Contact us today to see how we can fight for your rights during a criminal drug charge or investigation.

Common Types of Drug Charges in Pennsylvania

We create defense strategies for a wide variety of drug-related charges, including:

  • Simple possession

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia

  • Possession with intent to deliver (drug trafficking/distribution)

  • Drug deliver or sales charges

  • Manufacture of a controlled substance

  • Possession of a controlled substance

  • Cultivation of drugs

Pennsylvania Health and Safety Code, Title 35, Section 780-113, lists a complete account of prohibited drug-related acts.

Possible Drug Charge Penalties under Pennsylvania Law

Pennsylvania law considers multiple factors when determining drug charge penalties. The factors, which include the following, can substantially either increase or decrease the penalty associated with each criminal drug charge.

  • The severity of the charge

  • Prior drug-related convictions

  • Charges involved in previous drug-related convictions

  • Amount of time passed between current charge and prior convictions

  • Classification of drug involved

  • Amount of drug involved

  • How the drug was packaged (Individual bags can be presumed to have been packaged for sale.)

The charge for drug trafficking/distribution in Pennsylvania is typically a felony, even for first-time offenses. It can result in prison sentences of anywhere from seven to 20 years. Federal charges may apply if your case crossed state lines.

Penalties for drug possession vary widely based on the type of drug involved and the amount found in a defendant’s possession. Possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana will be considered an ungraded misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 30 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $500. If the charges involve other narcotic drugs, the defendant can be charged with a felony and may receive a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 or more.

Defenses of Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania

If you’re facing criminal drug charges in Pennsylvania, possible plausible defenses that your attorney may argue include:

  • Lack of intent to distribute or deliver the drugs to another person

  • Lack of knowledge

  • Insufficient quantity of the drug

  • The drug was prescribed by a medical doctor

  • You have a license to carry the drug or are a medical practitioner licensed by the State Board

  • The drugs did not belong to you

  • Unlawful search and seizure

  • Entrapment

Working with a criminal defense attorney that understands the nuances of state law addressing drug charges is key in building a strong defense.

How a Drug Charge Attorney Can Help

The consequences of a drug-related conviction can be severe, so it’s critical that you have a knowledgeable drug charge attorney on your side. He or she will be able to address any questions or concerns about your case and provide professional guidance throughout the legal process.

At Allegheny Attorneys at Law, you can count on us to approach your drug-related case from every angle, constantly looking for new evidence that could help reach the most ideal outcome. We proudly serve clients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well as those in Fox Chapel, Penn Hills, Aspinwall, Oakmont Borough, and Shaler, Ross, O’Hara, and Indiana Townships. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free telephone meeting.