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Drug Crime Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with any type of drug offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you need to contact the experienced drug crime lawyer of Czekaj Law, LLC as soon as possible. Some drug offenses may not seem too serious – like if you are caught with a small, personal amount of marijuana. However, the truth is that any drug offense needs to be taken seriously. Having a drug crime on your record could significantly affect your future. Additionally, if you already have a criminal record, you could be looking at harsher punishments. The best thing you can do for yourself is contact an attorney experienced in handling drug charges to fight for your rights and exoneration.
Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substances Schedule
The federal government has its own schedule for categorizing controlled substances. However, many states – including Pennsylvania – have their own schedule that influences the charges you face when accused of a drug crime.
Pennsylvania’s controlled substances schedule includes:
- Schedule I drugs- These drugs have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. They include opiates, heroin, hallucinogens such as LSD and ecstasy, and marijuana.
- Schedule II drugs- Have a high potential for abuse and have a currently accepted (though limited) medical use in the U.S. Schedule II drugs include morphine, cocaine, methadone, PCP, and methamphetamine.
- Schedule III drugs- Have a potential for abuse less than Schedule I and II substances, and currently have an accepted medical use in the U.S. HGH, codeine, and anabolic steroids are all Schedule III substances.
- Schedule IV drugs- Have a low potential for abuse compared, and have a currently accepted medical use in the U.S. Included in this class of drugs are Valium, Xanax, and many other prescription medications.
- Schedule V drugs- Have a low potential for abuse and a currently accepted medical use in the U.S. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications with codeine are considered Schedule V substances.
Simple Drug Possession
It is illegal to intentionally or knowingly possess controlled substances. If the substance is a prescription medication, you can only lawfully have it in your possession if the valid prescription is for you, and you have the appropriate amount. If you are found in unlawful possession of any controlled substances, then the level of the charge against you will depend on the type and amount of the drug in addition to your criminal record.
A first offense for drug possession is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fine up to $5,000. A second offense is punishable by up to 3 years’ incarceration and a fine of up to $25,000.
While you may be able to get off light for a first-time offense of possessing a small amount of an illegal drug, you cannot expect leniency when you have a previous conviction on your record, if you were driving under the influence of drugs, or if your offense took place near a school. Aggravating factors such as these may lead to harsher charges and punishments, including a longer duration of imprisonment. To try and avoid harsh penalties for a drug possession charge, contact our drug crime attorney at Czekaj Law, LLC as soon as possible. (717) 275-9770 .
The penalties are slightly different for marijuana. If you are caught in possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 along with a 6-month driver’s license suspension. By working with a drug crime attorney, you may be able to get probation and avoid jail – but only if it is your first offense. If you are caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana, the punishment is up to 1 year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine, along with a driver’s license suspension.
Common Penalties and Collateral Consequences for a Drug Offense
If you are convicted of a drug offense in Pennsylvania, you may be penalized with:
- A permanent criminal record
- Time in jail or prison
- Driver’s license suspension
- Community service
- Drug counseling
There are many more consequences of a misdemeanor or felony conviction than the potential statutory penalties. A conviction may also lead to:
- Difficulty getting into college or graduate school
- Difficulty getting a job
- Ineligibility for or difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses
- A reduction or complete loss of child custody or visitation
- Immigration issues
- Loss of gun ownership rights
Drug Possession with Intent to Deliver
You can be charged with the more serious crime of drug possession with the intent to deliver if there is evidence you were intentionally or knowingly manufacturing, delivering, or possessing controlled substances with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell one or more of them.
You may or may not be charged with this offense. It all depends on your specific actions. However, in some cases, it may be less about your actual intent and more about the amount of illegal drugs in your possession. The greater the amount of drugs in your possession or under your control, the greater the chance that you will be charged with possession with the intent to deliver, and not simple drug possession. It also depends on where the drugs were found, how they were packaged, and any other evidence against you.
The charge you could face can be confusing under Pennsylvania law, which has a lengthy drug offense schedule. However, our attorney for drug charges at Czekaj Law, LLC will thoroughly review your situation, including all of the evidence for and against you, to determine if there is a way to argue for reduced charges. This is particularly important if having the charges lowered would mean you face a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
Penalties for Drug Possession with Intent to Deliver
If you are found with a significant amount of one or more controlled substances, then the sentence you face will be based on the types and total amount of drugs. There is a wide range of minimum and maximum penalties for different substances, depending on the amount of the substance allegedly possessed. Please contact our experienced drug crime attorney at Czekaj Law, LLC for more information. (717) 275-9770
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
It is illegal in Pennsylvania to use or possess with the intent to use any drug paraphernalia that could be used for planting, growing, manufacturing, testing, storing, ingesting, or otherwise introducing into your body any controlled substance. This includes rolling papers, grinders, bongs, pipes, scales, needs, lab equipment, and more.
Possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. However, if you are found to have delivered drug paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years younger than you, then you may be charged with an additional second-degree misdemeanor, which could essentially double your punishment.
Potential Defenses to Drug Crimes
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, there may be one or more potential defenses that our drug crime lawyer of Czekaj Law, LLC can use to exonerate you in court, or at the very least, minimize the consequences of a conviction. Some of these defenses take the form of pre-trial motions, while others are defenses that will be presented during a trial.
Some of these defenses may include:
- Challenging whether you were in possession of the drugs
- Proving your constitutional rights were violated during an arrest or investigation
- Challenging the credibility of the arresting officer
- Attempting to have certain evidence ruled inadmissible
- Challenging whether you had the necessary intent to commit the crime
- Demonstrating that the prosecutors do not have enough evidence to meet their burden of proof
Let Our Pennsylvania Drug Crime Lawyer Fight For You
The last thing you want is a drug conviction on your record, and we are here to help you avoid that. We will thoroughly examine your situation, looking for every weakness in the prosecution’s case. We will also seek to obtain any and all evidence that will establish your innocence. At all times, our highest priorities will be protecting your rights and fighting for the best possible outcome in your case. While we will strive to exonerate your name in court, we will also prepare to minimize any possible penalties and consequences in case of a conviction.