Drug Charges

Drug Charges in Pennsylvania

Possessing controlled substances without a valid prescription is illegal in Pennsylvania. Controlled substances are defined as drugs, substances or immediate precursors as listed in Schedules 1-V. Drug crimes are listed in Title 35, Chapter 6 of the Pennsylvania Code in connection with Health and Safety, rather than the criminal code. 35 P.S.§780-113 lists all crimes involving drugs and 35 P.S. §780-104 lists the complete schedule of controlled substances in Pennsylvania. If you are charged with a drug crime in Levittown, Langhorne, or elsewhere in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, an experienced Bucks County drug crime defense attorney can develop a sound strategy to defend you.

Defenses Against Drug Charges

It can be intimidating to face drug charges. You may be afraid of being sentenced to jail time or fines you're not sure you can pay. On top of those things is the stigma attached to a criminal record, particularly one involving drugs. The penalties for drug felonies in Pennsylvania are harsh. They can be more severe than the penalties for property crimes, particularly if there are aggravating circumstances such as a drug sale that occurs in a school zone. There are enough school zones in the state that it is relatively easy to be caught with drugs in one.

As noted above, controlled substances are ranked in different schedules. Schedule I substances are drugs that are considered to have a high potential for abuse and no permissible medical uses. The drugs on this schedule include heroin, ecstasy, crack cocaine and LSD. Schedule V are the drugs considered to have the least potential for abuse. Schedule V includes cough suppressants with codeine, for example. The potential penalties vary depending on the type of drug, the action associated with the drug and whether there are any prior offenses. For example, sale of 10-50 pounds of marijuana is a felony punishable by 3 years incarceration and up to a $25,000 fine.

Different defenses may be appropriate depending on the factual circumstances of your case. Some of the most common defense strategies focus on procedural defects, while others focus on evidence that undercuts the prosecution's case. For example, under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, police officers may not conduct illegal searches. Among other things, law enforcement officers can't search your house without a warrant except under very limited circumstances. If they conduct an illegal search, evidence that is seized from that search may be suppressed (excluded from admission at trial). This is a procedural error.

On the other hand, if the charges are based on the claims of a confidential informant, your attorney will try to attack that witness's credibility. Often confidential informants have a criminal past and have an incentive to inform on others, sometimes inaccurately or falsely, in order to obtain leniency for charges pending against them. A defense attorney will look into the backgrounds of all witnesses to see whether there is a basis for "impeaching" or discrediting their testimony. The prosecution bears the burden of proving a case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense attorney's strategies will work to trigger doubt.

Fight Drug Charges in Levittown and Bucks County, Pennsylvania

As a local Bucks County attorney, Mr. Kenney is familiar with judges and district attorneys and can work to get the drug charges against you dismissed or reduced, or represent you at trial. Contact experienced Bucks County drug crime defense lawyer John Kenney at (215) 547-3031 or by completing our online form. We serve clients in Levittown, Yardley, Langhorne, and throughout Pennsylvania.