In Pennsylvania, drug trafficking is a serious crime. It is usually considered a felony, even for a first-time offense. Penalties can range in severity and may include a prison sentence. Furthermore, a drug trafficking conviction can have serious ill effects on a person’s life after the prison sentence is served and can have a negative impact on many future prospects.
If you face drug trafficking charges in Stroudsburg, Palmerton, or Bethlehem, seek legal counsel immediately. An attorney can answer all of your criminal defense questions and can be your best resource in building a defense. For more information about what constitutes a drug trafficking conviction in Pennsylvania, as well as what the penalties for drug trafficking are, refer to the following.
Defining a Drug Trafficking Conviction in Pennsylvania
Drug trafficking — or drug distribution — in Pennsylvania typically involves illegal substances and narcotics such as cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and more. In order for a person to be convicted of drug trafficking in the state, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant grew, manufactured or obtained an illegal drug and then delivered, or had the intent to deliver, the drug to another person or group of people. If the prosecutor cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this intent was present or that the actions mentioned above took place, a person will not be convicted of drug trafficking.
It is important to note that cases involving marijuana are handled differently. Under Drug Trafficking Sentences and Penalties, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 7508, those who are charged with trafficking marijuana, when the amount of marijuana is at least two pounds but less than 10 pounds, shall face lesser penalties than those who are convicted of trafficking narcotics or other illegal substances.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Pennsylvania
The penalties for drug trafficking in Pennsylvania vary greatly, depending upon the type of drug trafficked and whether or not the accused has any previous convictions. For example, in the situation named above where the amount of marijuana is less than 10 pounds but more than two, the crime is considered a misdemeanor, and the penalty is a minimum of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, in a case involving 1,000 tablets or 300 grams of a narcotic drug, the crime is considered a felony and carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and maximum fine of up to $250,000.
Other penalties for drug trafficking include three years in jail and a fine of $10,000 for schedule IV drugs, or drugs such as those that are accepted for medical use in the U.S. or have limited physical or psychological dependence; five years in jail and a fine of $15,000 for schedule I, II, or III drugs or drugs that that lead to moderate physical and psychological dependence upon the drug, such as certain stimulants and depressants; and a fine of $100,000 and 10 years in prison for specific drugs listed by the state of Pennsylvania, including cocaine, isomers and salts, and marijuana in a quantity of 1,000 pounds or more. Schedule I, II, III and IV drugs are defined as such by the United States Controlled Substances, Act, 21 U.S. Code Sec. 812 – Schedules of Controlled Substances. On top of all of this, a conviction of possession of any controlled substance will also lead to a driver’s license suspension of six months or more.
An Attorney at ARM Lawyers Can Help
If you face drug trafficking charges in Pennsylvania, it’s important that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An attorney can help explore your options in building your defense and can provide you with invaluable legal advice related to your case. In some cases, an attorney may be able to demonstrate that you did not have the necessary intent to distribute and have the charges lowered. In other circumstances, a lawyer may explore getting the charges dropped altogether, depending on the circumstances.