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Our firm has over 25 years of combined legal practice. Our Philadelphia criminal attorneys have been recognized by the top lawyer ranking services.
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We take on fewer clients than other firms. Each client works 1:1 on with one of our senior attorneys.
The state and federal laws make prohibit the use or possession of controlled substances in Philadelphia. Examples of such substances include heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, powder cocaine, PCP, THC, and drug paraphernalia. The law is also harsh to those found in possession of specific prescription drugs. Some of the highly controlled prescription drugs include Ambien, Adderall, Oxycontin, fentanyl, valium, morphine, methadone, Xanax, and Vicodin.
In the state of Pennsylvania, each count of drug possession is charged separately, and it may attract a hefty fine and lengthy prison terms. The charges for drug possession depend on a variety of factors that include the type of drug at hand, the amount, past convictions, and the intent of possessing such drugs. In Philadelphia, drug possession laws fall into two categories:
• Simple possession (where you possess drugs for personal use)
• Possession with intent to distribute.
The state laws define possession of a controlled substance as the willful act of possessing a controlled or counterfeit substance by an individual without proper prescription or by a practitioner who is not licensed by the appropriate state board.
Possession with intent to deliver
Any individual found to create, distribute, or possess controlled substances can be charged under the state and federal drug laws.Individuals found in possession of small quantities of the drugs may be charged with a misdemeanor while those with large quantities may face felony charges.
Possession of drug paraphernalia
In Philadelphia, drug possession laws also prohibit an individual from being in possession of drug paraphernalia such as crack pipes, syringes, and bongs. Being in possession of drug paraphernalia can cost you up to $2,500 in fines and a one-year jail term.
Long term effects of drug possession charges in Philadelphia
Drug possession charges can put a tag on your life forever. If a drug possession conviction goes through, it can cost you hefty fines, lengthy jail term, mandatory suspension of driver’s license, probation or even compulsory community service.
Besides, drug possession charges can also affect your current job and also ruin your future career prospects. Many people have lost their job due to drug charges. Teachers, daycare employees and other individuals who work with children are at a higher risk of losing their jobs. Drug charges also affect other individuals such as truck and commercial vehicle drivers, taxi drivers, and pilots.
In Philadelphia, the ‘war on drugs’ does not spare even first-time offenders. An individual found in possession of heroin will face stiffer penalties than those found in possession of marijuana in Philadelphia. If you have been indicted with drug possession in Philadelphia, you need to take the necessary steps to build a strong defense by hiring an aggressive drug possession lawyer.
Eligibility for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in Philadelphia
The purpose of the ARD program is to help first time offenders- who are not criminals to clean their criminal drug record after meeting specific requirements. If it’s your first to be charged with possession of small amounts of marijuana, the ARD program can help you to get back to a normal life with no criminal charge on your name.
Individuals who chose to take this route must complete the probation period and pay their fines. They can then apply for the expunction of their crimes.
Appealing for drug possession charges in Philadelphia
Most of the individuals found in possession of drugs believe that they have no options and hence they easily plead guilty to the charges. However, it’s worth noting that conviction doesn’t mark the end of your case. You are still eligible to pursue post-conviction options even after pleading guilty.
Remember that you must first be convicted of the drug possession crime before you can launch an appeal. Once the sentence has been passed, a drug possession lawyer in Philadelphia can help you in either filing a collateral appeal or a direct appeal.