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Drug trafficking is a serious offense that carries the potential for significant penalties, including prison time. A drug trafficking conviction can have life-changing consequences. Because of this, persons who are being investigated or who have been charged with drug trafficking should immediately seek out legal representation from a Pennsylvania drug trafficking lawyer.
What is considered drug trafficking in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law defines the elements of drug trafficking. In general, to be charged with drug trafficking there must be evidence of a person grew, manufactured, or possessed an illegal drug, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, or marijuana, and the person had the intent to deliver the drug to another.
The prosecution may use a variety of evidence to try and prove the elements of drug trafficking. Some examples of evidence that may be relevant to the charge includes:
Because there are several elements that must be show in a drug trafficking case, it is important to carefully review the case to determine whether the prosecution has enough evidence to prove the charge. A Pennsylvania drug trafficking lawyer will be able to gather the information in the prosecution’s possession to determine any weaknesses in the case.
What are the potential penalties for drug trafficking?
Drug trafficking is a felony offense. A felony conviction may result in significant jail or prison time. It also may adversely affect certain civil rights. There may also be financial penalties, probation, treatment requirements, restitution, community service and a driver’s license imposed.
The extent of the penalty depends on the substance alleged to be trafficked and the amount of that substance. Because there are significant consequences, it is important to have an experienced drug trafficking lawyer representing you to advocate for a fair result.
Are there any defenses to drug trafficking?
Depending on the facts of your case, there may be certain defenses available to challenge the charge or result in exclusion of evidence. Some defenses may include:
1) Lack of probable cause: In order for a case to be pursued, there must be at least probable cause to support the charges. This means that there must be sufficient evidence to show each of the elements of drug trafficking. If there is not sufficient evidence, then the case should be dismissed before there is a trial.
2) Reasonable doubt: In order for you to be convicted of drug trafficking, the prosecution must be able to prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the fact finder at a trial determines that there is reasonable doubt, then you should be acquitted of the crime.
3) Intent: For drug trafficking, there must be evidence of an intent to distribute the illegal drugs. Mere possession of the illegal drugs, without more, is not enough to be convicted of drug trafficking.
4) Tainted evidence: if evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights or if the state failed to follow the proper procedures in collecting and analyzing evidence, then the tainted evidence may be excluded from consideration in your case.
How can a Pennsylvania drug trafficking lawyer help?
A Pennsylvania drug trafficking lawyer will act as your advocate and protect your rights. They will help you understand the charges and the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If defenses are available, a lawyer will raise those defenses and argue for the appropriate remedy.
By have representation from a Pennsylvania drug trafficking lawyer, you will be able to make informed decisions about how to proceed with your case. A lawyer will argue on your behalf and take the appropriate action to protect your rights.
If you are facing drug trafficking charges in Pennsylvania, then contact us to schedule a consultation.
Having possession of any illegal substance in Pennsylvania can lead to harsh legal consequences, and your circumstances may be even worse if you are also charged with an intent to distribute. This is a separate charge that may be added on to drug possession charges, and it is meant to further punish those involved in drug trafficking. Here are some important things to do know about Pennsylvania intent to distribute charges.
The Legal Definition of Intent to Distribute in Pennsylvania
In the state of Pennsylvania, possessing drugs and planning to sell or give them to others is called possession with intent distribute. According to Pennsylvania Health and Safety Code, Title 35, Section 780-113, the legal definition of possession with an intent to distribute is a person who grew, manufactured, or otherwise obtained an illegal drug and then either gave or planned to give it to someone else.
Punishments You Face If Convicted of Intent to Distribute
Because intent to distribute is considered drug trafficking, the penalties for it are quite severe. Even if it is a first offense, it is almost always a felony charge. As such, possession with an intent to distribute always comes with time in prison and a hefty fine. The exact punishment will vary depending on how many offenses you have had, what type of drug you had, and how much of the drug was in your possession. Due to mandatory minimum sentencing, a conviction comes with at least one year in prison. Depending on circumstances, you can end up with up to 10 years in prison and fines of $50,000.
How Is Intent to Distribute Proven in Court?
Prosecutors tend to focus on two types of strategies when trying to prove that you should be convicted of an intent to distribute drugs. Their first strategy relies on sharing proof of any actions you did or statements you made that could indicate you planned to distribute the drugs to others. If this fails, prosecutors can argue that the amount of drugs you had was so large that the only reasonable conclusion is that you planned to sell these drugs to others. These are the minimum amounts you must have for Pennsylvania law to let prosecutors use this argument:
How Can a Lawyer Help With Intent to Distribute Charges?
If you are facing charges, your Pennsylvania intent to distribute lawyer can help through many methods. Their overall goal will be to show that you do not meet the legal definitions for possessing drugs or intending to distribute the drugs. Depending on your case, here are a few strategies your lawyer may use:
If you or someone you know is being charged with intent to distribute, the potential consequences can be very severe. Do not hesitate in getting an experienced Philadelphia drug possession attorney who can help. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.