Philadelphia Drug Lawyer

While Pennsylvania law covers a range of drug charges, including trafficking or manufacturing, the most common drug crime charged in Philadelphia is the possession of a controlled substance.

If law enforcement has accused you of possessing an illegal substance, it may be in your best interest to discuss your case with a Philadelphia drug lawyer right away. Let a seasoned criminal attorney fight for you and possibly help you reach a favorable resolution to your case.

Drug Possession Charges

In Pennsylvania, it is unlawful to knowingly possess a controlled substance according to (35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(16). Some of the controlled substances commonly associated with a drug possession charge include:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • PCP

While the potential penalties for a Philadelphia drug possession charge vary depending on the type and amount of the drug, in many cases a possession offense will result in a felony charge. A drug lawyer in Philadelphia may be able to shed some light on the potential penalties attached to a drug possession case.

Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession

A defendant may face conviction of drug possession even in cases where there were no drugs in the vicinity at the time of the arrest. That is because it is a crime to be in either actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance.

Actual possession involves the defendant having the controlled substance in their direct physical possession at the time of their arrest. This can include in a defendant’s pocket, zipped up in their backpack, or stuffed into their sock.

Constructive possession involves a defendant having dominion or control over the controlled substance. It is possible for a defendant to have dominion over a controlled substance even if they are not nearby. For example, a defendant has control over drugs locked in a safe in their room even when they are not home.

A jury may find a defendant is in constructive possession of illegal drugs in other circumstances as well, including in a vehicle, non-residential property, or mobile home.

Common Pre-Trial Motions in a Philadelphia Drug Case

Even if the prosecutor has substantial evidence of alleged possession, a Philadelphia drug attorney may have several options for resolving the case favorably before it ever goes to trial.

Defense counsel will have the opportunity to raise a defense through one or several common pretrial motions. If granted, these motions can have a significant effect on the outcome of a case.

Speedy Trial Motions

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, prosecutors in drug possession cases must comply with what is known as “Speedy Trial” rules. This rule guarantee a defendant will not be forced to wait an unfair amount of time before having a trial. If the case is in municipal court, the prosecution must bring the case to trial within 180 days. If the case is in the Court of Common Pleas, the prosecution must bring the case to trial within one year.

Should a case last longer than the allowable time, the defense lawyer can file a Speedy Trial motion seeking the case to be dismissed.

Motion to Suppress

If the evidence against the defendant was collected illegally, a Philadelphia drug lawyer might file a motion to suppress that evidence. That is because evidence that stems from an illegal search or seizure cannot be allowed as evidence at trial.

Motion to Reveal the Identity of a Confidential Informant

Law enforcement frequently relies on the use of confidential informants in Philadelphia drug cases. But thanks to rights guaranteed by the Constitution, a defendant has the right to confront the witnesses against them. If defense counsel can show that the confidential informant is a critical witness, the prosecutor will be forced to either produce the witness or dismiss the case.

Reach Out to a Philadelphia Drug Attorney Today

All drug crimes are serious charges. If you are facing allegations of drug possession, a Philadelphia drug lawyer may give you the best shot at clearing your name and avoiding a conviction. Call today and get started on your defense.