Pennsylvania Drug Lawyer

Illegal drugs, generally referred to as “controlled substances” under Pennsylvania law, are governed by both state and federal law, and that is one of the reasons it can be difficult to understand what is involved in a criminal drug case.

The physical facts of the situation are very important, and even an individual’s state of mind can have a big impact on the outcome of a case.

Anyone involved in a criminal investigation involving drugs needs to work with an experienced criminal attorney to help build your defense. A Pennsylvania drug lawyer has an understanding of the laws applicable to the case and the preferred course of action to work toward the best possible outcome.

Overview of Violations

The law takes a different view of possessing a controlled substance in comparison with manufacturing, selling, deliver or attempting to sell it. Pennsylvania law has five different classifications of controlled substances, broken into schedules.

Those listed on Schedule I are considered the most dangerous, meaning they are the most often abused, whereas those on Schedule V would be those more likely to be used strictly for the medical purposes for which they are intended.

Different penalties apply to violations involving different substances, and penalties are more severe when the individual involved is shown to intend to deliver the substance to others.

The amount of the substance involved also plays a key role in determining any penalties involved. It is also a crime to manufacture, advertise or sell paraphernalia used with drugs. If an individual finds themselves confronting substance violations, a Pennsylvania drug lawyer can help them fight their charges.

Substances Most Likely to be Abused

While Pennsylvania law includes a staggering number of substances on its list of controlled substances, the ones most commonly abused or used illegally include:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin/morphine
  • Prescription opiates
  • PCP
  • Methamphetamine

Drug Possession Laws

It is possible to be convicted of violating possession laws even if an illegal substance is not actually found on the body of the individual. Under the concept of constructive possession, people may be determined to have actual control of a substance even when it is not in their physical possession.

If the substance is found in the bedroom of an individual, it may be deemed in actual control and therefore constructive possession. To have actual control, an individual must have the power to control the substance and the intent to control it. This situation becomes complicated when a substance is found in a room used by several people.

For an individual to be convicted of drug possession, it must be proven that:

  • The substance at issue is prohibited under state or federal law
  • The individual involved had the intent to possess the substance
  • The individual knew the substance was illegal
  • The individual had constructive or actual possession of the substance

Manufacturing and Distribution

Penalties are more severe where it is shown that in individual either manufactures or distributes a controlled substance or possesses it with the intent to transfer it. Moreover, Pennsylvania drug lawyers have seen these penalties increase when a minor is involved in the sale.

The amount of the penalty varies depending on the type and amount of the drug, but fines for first offenses can include a fine of up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail. Subsequent offenses or the sale of especially dangerous substances increase both the fines and the length of the prison sentences.

How a Drug Attorney Can Help

Criminal charges involving drugs may be common, but that does not mean they are simple. While the penalties can be severe, there are a number of arguments that can be raised in defense. An attorney with experience dealing with state and federal controlled substance cases will know the laws involved and the best defenses to be raised in the circumstances of your case. If you have been charged with a crime involving controlled substances, contact a Pennsylvania drug lawyer to get a professional advocate working for you.