There are many different types of offenses a person can encounter when dealing with illegal drugs. The offenses and possible penalties will vary on many factors. The type of drug, the amount, or even use of the drug will affect the penalty.
At Freundlich & Littman, LLC, we want the citizens of Philadelphia to understand drug offenses. Drug offenses convictions come with hefty penalties. Some drugs offenses cross into federal law. If you face a drug offense, call our offices immediately.
Basics Of Drug Offenses
The legality of a drug depends on the type and the intended use of the drug. Drugs like LSD, methamphetamine, and heroin are illegal in the United States. Others, like amphetamines or barbiturates, are components in pharmaceutical drugs. These types of drugs are illegal if overused or taken without a prescription. For instance, stealing oxycodone from someone’s medicine cabinet for your own use is illegal.
Marijuana use depends on the state. Medical marijuana, if taken without a prescription, is illegal in certain states. It is important to note that the federal government has not legalized full marijuana use.
Marijuana use is not a protected activity even if your state permits its recreational use. As an example, a Colorado court ruled on a recent marijuana case. A man lives in Colorado where marijuana is legal. He worked for Dish Network, a national company. For his use, the company fired the man. The court ruled that the company could fire him.
Types Of Drug Offenses
The most common drug offense is drug possession. Drug possession is intentional. If someone drops drugs into your purse with your knowledge, it is not intentional. Still, you need to prove this fact if charged with possession.
“Drugs” includes marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, heroin, and other designer drugs. Possession applies to any individual who uses the drugs or intends to use the drug. Possession also includes the one who sells the illegal drug. In Pennsylvania, a law enforcement may charge a seller with “possession with the intent to distribute.”
Possession also includes drug paraphernalia. This extends to items used to make the drugs. For example, large amounts of cough medicine to make meth. It may even mean equipment to make LSD and meth. Having any bit of the illegal substance on the paraphernalia will strengthen the possession charge.
The manufacturing of drugs applies to both drugs made in a lab and the growing of marijuana. As with drug paraphernalia, buying equipment for the use of manufacturing will help strengthen the case against someone.
In Pennsylvania, it is a felony to furnish someone with drugs that lead to their death. According to the law,
“A person commits a felony of the first degree if the person intentionally administers, dispenses, delivers, gives, prescribes, sells or distributes any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance in violation of …The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act and another person dies as a result of using the substance.”
Punishments For Drug Offenses
In the state of Pennsylvania, first-time offenders with a simple possession charge may apply for Diversion. Diversion allows first-time offenders to maintain a clean criminal record by pleading guilty. They must then complete a substance abuse program. Additionally, they cannot commit any more criminal acts while in the program. If they do, the court suspends the program.
The average period for Diversion is 18 months. Once an individual completes the program, the court clears their criminal record. This is both a forgiveness to first-timers and a means to rehabilitate individuals.
Penalties for drug charges will vary based upon the circumstances of the arrest. First, it depends on which law enforcement and jurisdiction are handling the drug charges. A federal drug charge is more severe than a local drug charge.
Additionally, different drugs are in different classes. These classes will affect the punishment. The law scales the drugs from 1 to 5, with 5 being the least severe and less likely for abuse. The amount of the drug will also affect the punishment, as the buyer will face a shorter time than the seller.
The final aspect that changes the penalty is personal use. Compared to other drug charges, the penalty for possession is not as severe. Law enforcement often wants the manufacturers and sellers off the streets. Likewise, the buyers are often given shorter sentences, especially if they are willing to give up the sellers and testify.
Drug Offense Lawyer
Are you in need of a drug offense lawyer? Were you charged with a drug-related crime and need legal aid? We at Freundlich & Littman, LLC may be able to assist you. If the law enforcement charged you with a drug offense, contact us as soon as possible.