In Pennsylvania, it is rare that a person acquires a standalone drug charge. Many people face additional charges in relation to a drug crime that manages to significantly stiffen their sentence. The “criminal use of a communication facility” is a drug charge that is tacked onto a large number of people's already severe and damaging drug offenses, and it's relatively easy to prove.
If you've been accused of this crime, it's important you understand what you're up against. In this article, we will address what the criminal use of a communication facility entails, and the penalties associated with it. But for more insight as to how this crime applies to your individualized circumstances, you should contact a criminal defense attorney.
Criminal Use of a Communication Facility under Pennsylvania Law
According to Pennsylvania statutes, a person will be convicted of this crime if it is proven that the defendant utilized a communication facility to commit, cause or facilitate the commission of a felony crime. In this case, a felony drug crime.
State law defines a communication facility as “a public or private instrumentality used or useful in the transmission of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part, including, but not limited to telephone, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric or photo-optical system or the mail.” In recent years, the state added more instruments that are used commonly in modern society, like the use of a cell phone, text messages, and a computer.
Basically, if any communication device is used in the commission of a felony crime, a defendant can be convicted of the criminal use of a communication facility. The law states provide that every instance where a communication is proven to be utilized constitutes a separate offense.
The penalties for this offense will depend on the circumstances of your case. The courts will assess factors to determine the severity of a sentence. These factors include the type of drugs involved, the type of drug crime committed, whether or not a weapon was present, whether or not anyone was harmed, a defendant's criminal history and other relevant elements.
However, the maximum penalty for committing this offense is a term of imprisonment for seven years and/or a fine that does not exceed $15,000.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
The minute you receive notice that you've been charged with a felony drug offense, you should get in contact with an attorney. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has successfully represented clients charged with felony drug crimes, including those who've acquired charges for the “criminal use of a communication facility, for years. And he can do the same for you. Contact him today for assistance.