Erie, PA Drug Possession Lawyers
Veteran Criminal Defense Lawyers go to Battle for Clients Accused of Drug Possession in Erie County, PA
Accusations of drug possession cannot be taken lightly in this day and age—Pennsylvania law enforcement officials are serious about these crimes, and the legislature has developed equally severe penalties if you are found guilty. A conviction for drug possession is serious and can have lasting consequences that can impact every aspect of your life. In addition to monetary fines and jail time, a conviction for drug possession can result in loss of driving privileges, probation and the need to disclose your conviction to potential future employers and even landlords.
Regardless of the type of drug possession, you have been accused of, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side to fight to minimize the potential damage that conviction can cause. At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our veteran team of Erie, PA criminal defense lawyers have the experience necessary to build the strongest possible defense in your case and will explore every potential strategy to get your charges reduced or dismissed if at all possible.
Pennsylvania Drug Possession Charges Vary Case-by-Case
Under Pennsylvania law, several factors will be important in determining the severity of a drug possession charge, including:
- The type of drug involved (for example, possession of marijuana will carry less severe penalties than possession of heroin),
- How much of the drug you had in your possession,
- Whether you have a prior record, and
- Whether you intended to deliver or distribute the drug, or simply possessed the drug for your own personal use (an element that can often be inferred from the amount you had in your possession).
Some of the possible drug possession charges that can apply in Pennsylvania include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Possession of drugs. This crime requires establishing that you knowingly possessed illegal drugs without a prescription or license. Convicted first offenders can face up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, while subsequent offenders may be sentenced to up to three years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
- Possession with intent to distribute. This crime is essentially drug possession with the added element of intending to sell or deliver those drugs, and can be based upon the amount of drugs in your possession, whether those drugs were packaged for sale and other relevant factors. Possession with intent to distribute can be either a misdemeanor or felony charge, with jail sentences ranging from one year to 15 years, and up to $250,000 in fines.
- Drug paraphernalia possession. Drug paraphernalia includes items relating to the use or manufacture of the drugs themselves, including pipes, needles, rolling papers and any other related items. Possession of drug paraphernalia is generally a misdemeanor carrying up to a one-year jail term and/or $2,500 in fines. If the drug paraphernalia is distributed to a minor who is at least three years younger, an additional misdemeanor charge will apply.
PA Defense Lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. Dedicated to Providing the Strongest Possible Defense for Clients Accused of Drug Possession
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. will immediately act to begin investigating your case to build the strongest possible defense against your Erie drug possession charges. Depending upon the circumstances, drug possession defenses that may be available include:
- Illegal discovery. If the stop or search, during which the drugs were discovered was illegal, the evidence of drug possession discovered cannot be used against you. A search or stop may be illegal if law enforcement did not have probable cause to stop you, or did not possess a valid warrant to search your home.
- No actual possession. In some cases, it may be possible that you did not know that the drugs were in your possession when law enforcement conducted the search.
- Failure to establish constructive possession. If you are present in a place where drugs are located (meaning that the drugs were not actually with you, such as in your pocket), the prosecution must establish that knew the drugs were there, that you intended to take control of the drugs, that you had the ability to take control of the drugs and that you knew that the drugs were illegal.
- Possession was legal. The crime of drug possession requires that you possessed the drugs illegally. If you had a prescription for the drugs, or were licensed to possess those drugs, this argument supports the fact that were not guilty of drug possession.
Call Today to Schedule a Confidential Consultation With Our Skilled Erie, PA Drug Possession Lawyers
If you have been arrested for drug possession, or are being investigated for the crime, call our offices or fill out this online form, to schedule a confidential consultation with our drug possession defense lawyers today. For your convenience, we have three office locations located at 2525 W.26th St., Erie, PA 16506, 310 Chestnut St., Suite 111, Meadville, PA 16335 (in the Masonic Building) and 68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428.
Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Possession
The laws governing possession of marijuana are changing all over the country, this is true. Despite this, if you are in possession of marijuana—whether because you intend to use, distribute or are growing the substance—it is still illegal in Pennsylvania without a proper license. The severity of the crime will depend upon how much marijuana you were growing (evaluated by the pound). Contact our drug possession lawyers for the most up-to-date guidance regarding the legality of, and penalties for possessing, marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania.
Mandatory jail terms for drug possession have been challenged in several recent Pennsylvania court cases. Whether you will actually have to spend time in jail will depend upon the severity of the charge, and whether you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense before. The judge will have some discretion in determining whether jail is appropriate, and our lawyers can fight to help you avoid jail time even if conviction is unavoidable.