When you are facing drug charges in Northeastern Pennsylvania, life as you know it will change forever. There are countless penalties that will affect your life depending on the seriousness of your charges. Some penalties include thousands of dollars in fines and years in jail.
Therefore, if you have been charged with a drug-related crime or are under investigation, it is time to contact the knowledgeable Scranton drug charge lawyers at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam. We have experience handling drug cases throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, and extensive knowledge of the legal system in our area. Our attorneys know what it takes to defend those facing drug charges that could potentially ruin their life.
Most drug charges in Pennsylvania violate either state or federal laws involving drugs classified as controlled substances. The most common drug charges involving controlled substances include marijuana charges, drug DUI, drug possession, drug manufacturing, drug distribution, and drug trafficking.
However, the criminal justice system can make these charges seem confusing to those convicted. The smallest mistake in your case could cost you your freedom, along with straining your relationship with family and friends.
Firstly, understand that in Pennsylvania, there are five classes or schedules of drugs that are illegal to possess:
In conclusion, the class of drug that led to your conviction determines your jail time, the number of fines, and other penalties you face
In 2018, 65% of Pennsylvania overdose deaths were due to opioid drug usage. With opioids making national headlines as a result, states have come to create their own legislation for the highly addictive and dangerous narcotics.
So, this has led people to commonly associate the current opioid crisis in Pennsylvania with the common drugs:
Pennsylvania drug laws follow the federal classification system of drugs under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act in addition to state laws. This means if the court finds you guilty, you’ll face federal and state drug charges for possession, trafficking, etc
While all drug charges lead to extreme penalties, charges stemming from distribution and manufacturing are the sternest. Pennsylvania’s PWI (possession with intent to distribute) statute criminalizes possession with the intent to distribute any of the controlled substances found in Schedule I through Schedule V.
The prosecution will try to prove “possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances” using the different circumstances surrounding the presence of those substances near or on your person or property. The following evidence can prove intent to distribute:
It’s a felony charge if the prosecution proves that you grew or manufactured the drugs or other controlled substances.
Furthermore, a drug arrest needs to be lawful and merited for it to hold up in court. Did law enforcement have probable cause to search or detain you or have the warrant to search your premises? Did you consent to search your vehicle?
These are important questions, and consequently, the answers to them will determine your fate. Mistakes that police officers commonly make in drug charge cases can include forgetting to read you your Miranda rights, asking you questions without the presence of a lawyer when a lawyer was requested, illegal searches, improper investigations, and entrapment. Subsequently, any one of these mistakes can go a long way toward helping your case.
There are other defenses against a charge aside from or in addition to proving law enforcement made a mistake. One of the following defenses may be applicable to your case against your drug charge:
Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam will use all our resources to get your drug charges dismissed or reduced. In addition to that, we’ll get evidence excluded from the hearing that could affect your freedom. Our attorneys have resolved a wide array of drug crimes throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.
When dealing with a drug crime, the time to act is now and not later. If this is your first offense, there may be ways to prevent you from having a criminal record. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. We look forward to securing your justice.
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