Maybe you don't use illegal drugs but volunteered to bring them to a party. Or perhaps you get a prescription for pain medication that your friend who is in severe pain can't get a prescription for, and you chose to give some of your share to them. Your intentions, no matter how pure, are not enough to save you from criminal drug delivery charges. Unfortunately, even though you may not have possessed the drug for personal use, delivering it to somebody else exposes you to harsher penalties than a simple possession charge. People convicted of this crime undergo penalties of imprisonment and are required to pay incredibly costly fines.
If you have been arrested for delivering an illegal drug, it's important you retain an attorney and understand what you're up against. When you get an idea of your state's approaches and remedies to drug distribution, you will understand just how pivotal the role of an attorney in your case is.
Drug Delivery Laws in Pennsylvania
Drug deliveries are charged as “possession with the intent to deliver” (PWID) or distribute. It is pretty high on the list of the most charged felonies in Pennsylvania. In these cases, the existence of a transaction is not relevant. As long as it is proven that a defendant attempted, or successfully delivered the drugs to another individual - with or without a purchase - he or she can be convicted of this crime.
In order to constitute charges of PWID, a prosecutor must prove the following:
- The defendant knew the drugs were illegal, that they were present, and he or she had intentions of delivering them
- The defendant had actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance
Actual possession is established when the drugs are discovered on the defendant upon arrest. If law enforcement found cocaine, for example, in the pocket of a defendant during a search, then that is proof of an actual possession. Constructive possession, on the other hand, refers to drugs that are found in places that a defendant has control over. Illegal drugs that are confiscated from a person's home or car would establish constructive possession.
In these cases, the courts will have to assess a number of factors to determine whether a defendant intended to use these drugs for personal consumption or was planning on delivering them, or both. These factors include, the way in which the drugs are packaged, the quantity of drugs discovered, the presence of items commonly connected with the distribution trafficking deliveries (scales, packaging materials, multiple cellular devices), whether or not the defendant was under the influence, a drug defendant's history of drug use, and more relevant factors.
Since PWID is a felony charge, a conviction for this offense will likely result in dire penalties. However, the severity of a sentence is dependent on the type of drug being delivered.
Possession with the intent to deliver schedule 1 and 2 drugs will result in a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The attempt to deliver schedule 3 drugs warrants a penalty of up to five years in prison and $15,000 fine. Being caught with a schedule 4 drug will let to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine while attempting to deliver a schedule 5 drug will land you a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with PWID, the first step you should take is to retain an attorney. When a person acquires drug delivery charges, mandatory minimums come into effect that upon a conviction, will ensure you go to prison. With the help of a skilled attorney, you can get your sentence drastically reduced, or your charges completely dismissed. Contact legal professional Joseph D. Lento today.