Harrisburg Drug Crime Attorney
Effective Drug Crime Defense Strategies in Dauphin County
Drug crime convictions can cause immediate and irreparable harm to your future. For many employers, landlords, and loan officers, a criminal history is a red flag that can cause them to scrutinize your application with more suspicion. You need to prevent a conviction. Get help from the Harrisburg drug crime lawyer at the Dorward Law Firm today. We offer free consultations to help you better understand the charges you face and the legal options you have available.
What are the Drug Crime Penalties in Pennsylvania
There are effectively two types of drug charges: misdemeanor crimes and felony crimes. The difference lies in the amount found on the accused at the time of the arrest and what police suspect they were trying to do with it.
For example, if you were in possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $500. However, if you are caught with more than this and are traveling across state lines, you could be charged with trafficking and sentenced to up to one year in prison with fines of up to $5,000.
Your case is contingent on the police’s account of what happened. There are plenty of cases where police unlawfully searched a car and wrote up charges against a person. As your advocate, we are here to make sure you get the chance to tell your side of the story.
Penalties for possession of a controlled substance:
- Fine of up to $5000.
- Up to 1 year incarcerated (2 years for second offense and 3 for third).
- 6 month driver's license suspension (1 year for second offense and 2 for third).
- Felony conviction and the consequences that come with such a charge.
Possession with intent to Deliver
When making an arrest for a drug possession, police can decide to increase the charge to something much worse than normal possession called "Possession with Intent to Deliver." Many other states have similar laws like "Possession with intent to Sell" or "Possession with Intent to Distribute." Here are a few potential reasons your charge could be enhanced this way:
- Possession of a large amount of drug. There are specific amounts listed in some statutes (30 grams for Marijuana).
- The police claim to have seen you selling drugs.
- The police found physical but "circumstantial evidence (e.g. bags, lots of cash in small bills, multiple cell phones, a scale etc.)
You could be charged with a drug crime if police believe you were:
- Manufacturing, selling, or in possession of a controlled substance
- Adulterating or misbranding a known legal substance
- Falsifying information about a drug
- Failing to register a controlled substance
Penalties are worse for subsequent offenders. In order to avoid a conviction, it is crucial that you have an effective defense strategy to clear your name.
Drug Courts in Pennsylvania
Dauphin County, like many counties in Pennsylvania, has a program that is intended to help rehabilitate drug offenders and prevent recidivism called Drug Court. If beating the case in court sounds like a big challenge, this may be your best route.
Drug Court can help you avoid serving any jail time, but it involves going through treatment programs, probation and regular drug testing. Upon completion you will be eligible to have your case dismissed so it will no longer affect your record, but failure to follow through can result in an automatic guilty plea.
Getting into a Drug court on your own or with just a public defender can be a challenging and complicated task, so it is a good idea to get the help of someone who has years of experience. Contact us to see if getting into a Drug Court program may be right for you and we will help show you exactly what your options are and how we can take whatever route is best together.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Possession Charge?
If you are facing charges for drug possession, a good attorney can find the right defense for your case. Some common defense tactics include:
- The drugs belonged to someone else
- The drugs were planted
- An unlawful search and seizure occurred
- There was not a crime lab analysis
- The drugs are missing
Since many defenses can be made that may not be apparent, it is important that you speak with a lawyer about your drug possession case.
How We Can Help
We may be able to help you prove:
- The substances in question did not belong to you
- The substances in question are not illegal
- The evidence does not exist for a conviction
- You were unfairly arrested through entrapment
- Your property was unlawfully searched
Let the Dorward Law Firm help you plan your defense. The sooner you get started, the better your chances will be at a favorable outcome. We want to help you protect yourself, so get started now.