Drug Possession Criminal Defense Lawyers in York, PA
In Pennsylvania, being charged with any drug-related offense can be serious. Even a first offense for possession can mean up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5,000. If you are convicted of possession with intent to deliver, you may face up to $250,000 in fines and up to 25 years in jail.
Drug charges can impact your freedom, job opportunities, finances and relationships. If you have been charged with any drug-related crime or are under investigation for any such offense in the York, PA area, you need an experienced attorney to launch a drug charge defense. An attorney can help you get a second chance.
If you need a drug charges attorney in York, PA or the surrounding area, contact MPL Law Firm. Our relationship-based law firm cares about your case and puts you, the person behind the charges, first. Our goal is to help you reclaim your life and get the best possible outcome for moving forward.
Drug Charges We Handle
We work with individuals from all walks of life, and we handle many defense cases, such as:
- Drug possession, including first offenses and subsequent offenses — keep in mind that in Pennsylvania, possession of some substances, such as cocaine, meth, PCP, isomers and other substances can result in felony charges.
- Drug possession with the intent to deliver.
- Distribution of a controlled substance.
- Drug dealing while in possession of a firearm.
- Corrupt organizations and (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) R.I.C.O. as well as charges related to allegations of organized crime.
- Illegal drug paraphernalia possession.
- Manufacturing and cultivation.
- Prescription drug charges — many people are surprised to learn Pennsylvania laws make it illegal to have possession of some prescription drugs if you do not have a valid prescription or reason to have the controlled substance.
Pennsylvania Drug Possession Laws
Drug possession laws in Pennsylvania can be strict, even for first offenses. Some of the more common laws one sees in drug crime defense cases in York, PA include:
- Marijuana possession of under 30 grams. This misdemeanor can result in up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days in jail for a first offense or double these fines if you have previous convictions. Similar fines and jail time apply for possession of hashish or THC under eight grams.
- Marijuana possession over 30 grams. This misdemeanor can result in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5,000 — or even double that amount if you have previous convictions. Similar fines and penalties apply for possession of hashish or THC in excess of eight grams.
- Felony drug charges. These occur if someone is convicted of possession with intent to deliver or has more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Felony drug charges can also be levied against those who are in possession of cocaine, meth, PCP or isomers.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia. This offense carries jail time of up to one year and fines of up to $2,500.
The legal team at MPL Law Firm has put together a page to help you better understand state laws, and you can always contact us if you have questions or need a drug defense lawyer in York, PA or surrounding areas.
Common Questions About Drug Possession Charges
Being charged with a drug offense or being under investigation is deeply upsetting and can be frightening. Drug laws in Pennsylvania can also be confusing, and at MPL Law Firm, we understand you may have many questions about your drug possession defense case or about PA laws.
Here is are some common questions you might have about drug possession charges:
What Are Controlled Substance “Schedules”?
Legislators understand different drugs have different potential to do harm and have categorized controlled substances into schedules in recognition of this fact. Due to the differences in drugs, you may face very different penalties for Schedule I substances than you would for Schedule II substances.
The PA Code lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. Other substances with this same designation include Allylprodine, Alphacetylmethadol, heroin, Benzethidine, Betacetylmethadol, Alphameprodine, Alphamethadol and others, including many opiates.
Schedule II controlled substances have not only the potential for abuse, but they are also likely to lead to dependence. On this list are coca leaves and any salts or derivatives thereof, opium and any of its derivatives as well as other substances. The PA code lists Fentanyl, Methadone, Sufentanil, Alfentanil, Carfentanil, Isomethadone, Levomethorphan, and other substances as Schedule II controlled substances.
Schedule III substances can be abused, but the potential for dependence is low or moderate. Controlled substances in this category include Chorhexadol, Lysergic acid, derivatives of barbituric acid, Lysergic acid amide, Methyprylon, Sulfondiethylmethane, Sulfonethylmethane and others.
Schedule IV substances have a lower potential for dependence. This category includes Barbital, Quazepam and others.
How Does the Quantity of Controlled Substances Affect the Crime With Which I Am Charged?
In almost all cases, the larger the quantity, the higher the charges. However, be aware of cut-off points. In Pennsylvania, for example, possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana can mean fines of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail, while possession of over 30 grams can mean one year and potentially $5,000 in fines.
If you are found to be in possession of more than 1,000 pounds of the same substance, you can be charged with felony possession. You may face fines of up to $250,000 as well as jail time of up to 25 years.
How Do I Know If the Search of My Home, Car or Person Was Lawful?
Police must follow the law when they stop you and search your property. If the search of your person or property was illegal, the evidence gathered cannot be used in court, and your attorney may even seek to have charges against you dropped. The search of your property or person may have been illegal if:
- A police officer stopped you or pulled you over when they did not have a reason to do so.
- A police officer searched your property or car without probable cause and in a situation where there were no extenuating circumstances justifying the search.
- A police officer entered and searched your home without a warrant and without a legal reason to do so.
It can be challenging to tell whether the search of your home and person was legal or whether you were the victim of entrapment. To find out whether the evidence gathered against you can be used against you, consult with a qualified drug possession attorney in York, PA.
If I Plan to Plead Guilty, Will I Receive a Smaller Sentence?
There is no guarantee that pleading guilty will mean a lesser sentence. In fact, if you simply plead guilty, you may be given the same sentence as if you had pleaded “not guilty,” and the case against you was proven. However, you can work out a plea bargain, in which you plead guilty to a lesser charge and thus face the penalties of that lesser charge.
If you are considering such a tactic, it is important to work with a qualified attorney who can build a robust drug possession defense in York, PA or your jurisdiction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may seek to have the charges dropped entirely or may have other strategies that would be a better option for your specific situation.
What If This Is My First Drug Offense?
For a first possession offense, you may be able to secure a conditional release. With a conditional release, you may get up to a year of probation and no jail time.
Even if you do not qualify for conditional release, your attorney may wish to emphasize that you have never been charged before. If you have never even been in trouble with the law previously, your attorney may seek a lesser sentence or try to have your sentence kept as small as possible.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Been Accused of or Arrested for a Minor Drug Crime?
There is really no such thing as a “minor” drug crime in Pennsylvania. Even convictions of small amounts of marijuana carry stigma and can lead to up to 30 days in jail. This is enough time to lose your job, affect your relationships and more.
Your “minor” drug offenses can show up in background checks and can affect your life for years to come. For this reason, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney who can seek to have your charges reduced or even dropped if possible.
Get an Experienced Lawyer to Defend Your Drug Case
At MPL Law Firm, we understand an accusation can be deeply troubling, which is why we always approach your case without judgment. Our goal is to ensure you get a fresh start, and to that end, we offer personalized representation. Since each case is different, we handle your situation with a customized approach designed to suit the specifics of your case.
We have served York and Central Pennsylvania for over 30 years, and during that time, we have seen many people who have been able to turn their lives around after being charged. We know what is possible.
We also understand the challenges of being charged. We know your freedom is on the line, and we work to get a fast resolution and the best possible outcome for you. Contact our team today online or at 717-845-1524 to start discussing your situation.