A person does not have to possess an illegal drug in order to be charged with a criminal offense in Pennsylvania. Simply being connected with a drug operation - no matter how minuscule your involvement is in the sting - can land you state and federal conspiracy criminal charges.
Conspiracy is a crime that almost any innocent person get wrapped up in, especially since one can be convicted without proof that they possessed, used or trafficked the drug themselves. If you have been arrested and charged with this crime, it's important you understand what you're up against. In this article, we will address the laws and penalties concerning conspiracy drug laws in the state, and the importance of retaining an attorney to advocate for you in lieu of acquiring such charges.
Drug Conspiracy Laws in Pennsylvania
Drug conspiracy laws are intended to punish everyone involved in an alleged drug ring, even those who did not actually traffic, cultivate, distribute or possess the drugs. In order to constitute a conviction for conspiracy, a prosecutor will have to prove that you, along with at least one other individual did the following:
- The defendant agreed to commit a crime
- Each of you was aware of the agreement to commit the crime and planned to partake in the accomplishment of this crime
- A conspirator (which does not have to be you) committed an act in furtherance of the crime
Example: Law enforcement arrests you while you were out on the street corner talking to your friend who happens to be a drug dealer. You had no intentions of purchasing or partaking in any other type of transfer of illegal drugs, you were just catching up with an old friend. However, if the police testify that they arrested you because you were doing things that led them to believe you were a lookout, like looking around or being hyper-aware of your surroundings, you could be charged with the conspiracy to sell drugs.
Prosecutors have been known to use conspiracy charges to take down the masterminds behind massive drug operations. They charge the minor players who do most of the legwork and offer them reduced sentences to identify and testify against the leaders of the operation. Since most conspirators will face the same serious penalties as the people who actually committed these acts, this method is incredibly effective.
The penalties for a conspiracy drug offense in Pennsylvania are dependent on the circumstances of a case. These circumstances include the type of drugs involved, the quantity of the drug involved, whether a weapon was present, a defendant's criminal history, and a variety of other elements.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
The conviction of drug conspiracy charges is incredibly damaging. You will have to deal with having a permanent criminal record that will limit your job prospects, strip you of certain rights, and more. With the help of a skilled attorney, you can effectively disassociate yourself with a drug crime and clear your name. Contact legal professional Joseph D. Lento for help.