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Being found in possession of any amount of cocaine will usually lead to you getting arrested and being charged with possession of cocaine. Drug possession charges are no laughing matters. They are quite serious and come with severe penalties if you’re convicted of them. Pennsylvania has some of the harshest penalties for those convicted of drug crimes, so if you’ve been charged with possession of cocaine in Montgomery County, you need to seek out legal representation as soon as possible.
Penalties for Possession of Cocaine
Cocaine is classified as a Schedule I drug, which basically means that it’s a drug that is not recognized for having any medical value. On the contrary, it is a type of drug that’s been rated to have a high addiction rate, so there is no amount of cocaine that’s legal to possess. Even being found in possession of a minute amount of cocaine for personal use purposes is against the law.
Under Pennsylvania law, if you’re convicted of being in possession of cocaine, you’re looking at up to a year in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. That is only if it’s your first offense. If you’ve been convicted of a drug-related crime in the past, then your penalties will be more severe than this, depending upon the circumstances surrounding your case. In some instances, the charges could be amplified to possession with intent to distribute if you’re found to be in possession of a large amount of cocaine.
While these are the primary legal consequences, there are of course other consequences that you’ll likely have to deal with if you’re convicted of possession of cocaine. For instance, you could end up losing your job. Many employers have a zero tolerance policy regarding drugs, so if you’re convicted of being in possession of them, you could be fired. On the other hand, if you don’t currently have a job and was looking for one, then your job search could be negatively impacted since many workplaces hesitate to hire someone who’s been convicted of a drug crime.
Your relationships with others could also be affected to. Some people won’t date you when they find out about your criminal history, and some friends and family members might choose not to associated with you either. A lot of stigmas are associated with being convicted of possession of cocaine, so fighting your charges is of the utmost importance.
Fight Your Charges With a Lawyer
A criminal lawyer who’s experienced with dealing with drug crime cases can help you navigate through the court process. A criminal lawyer knows the laws and what your rights are, and they can help ensure that you receive a fair court hearing and that your rights aren’t violated.
When you contact a criminal lawyer with your possession of cocaine case, the first think that he or she will likely do is ask you a series of questions about the events leading up to your arrest. They’ll also look at any paperwork or supposed evidence that the State has assembled in an attempt to determine whether or not the arrest itself was lawful. If your lawyer can prove that the police office arrested you without probable cause, then everything else, including the evidence of cocaine, is inadmissible in court, which means that your case could be dropped entirely.
However, if your lawyer can’t prove that the arrest was, in fact, unlawful and it looks like you are going to be convicted of possession of cocaine, then your lawyer can at least work with the prosecution to attempt to mitigate the damages incurred. For instance, sometimes the court will agree to lower the amount of incarceration time you must serve if you’ll agree to enroll in a drug education and treatment program.
One thing is sure. You don’t need to go into the courtroom without legal representation. A lawyer can help ensure that you are treated fairly.