In 2018 in Bucks County there were approximately 2,558 drug-related offenses that were reported. Across the state of Pennsylvania in 2017, there were nearly 800,000 total crimes reported. Over 63,600 of the crimes in the state in 2017 were drug abuse-related offenses. This represents nearly an 8% increase over the prior year. These are offenses that include possessing, using, growing, manufacturing of illegal drugs, and others.
New Bucks County Diversionary Treatment Program
The Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Department of Human Services, and County Court of Common Pleas collaborated recently to create the District Court Diversionary Program (DCDP). This program offers drug treatment for offenders at the “earliest point” in their justice system. Offender eligibility is determined by their prior criminal record and several other considerations.
Those entering the DCDP will have their cases postponed for up to a period of six months. Those offender participants who complete the program may have their charges dismissed. Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub explained that this is a useful solution because most of the crimes they encounter now are “drug or alcohol” related. The County has an existing drug court program that serves violators of probation and parole and pre-sentence offenders.
Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act
In 1972 the state enacted the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. The Act contains provisions relating to the “manufacture, sale and possession of controlled substances” in addition to other drugs, devices, and cosmetics in Pennsylvania. Controlled substances are categorized into five “schedules” according to the following:
- Scientific data regarding its “pharmacological” results or effects
- The historical, current, or potential for abuse
- The “scope, duration, and significance” of any abuse
- How likely it is to be mentally or physically addicting and the overall impact on public health
- If it is categorized for control according to Federal law
- Any relationship to existing controlled substances
Drug-Related Offenses in Pennsylvania
There are a host of criminal offenses associated with illegal or controlled drugs. The most fundamental charge is drug possession. Drug possession charges may be misdemeanors, such as when involving marijuana, or a felony, such as when involving GHB (ecstasy). Simple possession increases in severity when there is “intent to deliver”—meaning to sell or distribute. The same penalties generally apply to manufacture or cultivation of drugs like those for intent to deliver.
Other drug-related offenses include possession of drug paraphernalia—a misdemeanor offense. Law enforcement in Pennsylvania has also trained many officers as Drug Recognition Experts for detection among those potentially operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance.
Severity of Penalties
Penalties including fine and jail time may increase for factors such as:
- Intent to deliver drugs to minors
- Intent to deliver drugs in a school zone
- The classification of the drug according to Schedule I, II, II, IV, or IV
- The quantity of the drug involved
- Any prior record of related convictions and more
Importance of Having Legal Representation
There were over 1.6 million drug-related arrests across the U.S. in 2017. Those facing a drug-related offense now face harsh penalties and evidence of past drug convictions can have long-term consequences. Having a seasoned lawyer is critical to your future.
Defense Attorney for Drug Offenses in Bucks County
Attorney Joseph D. Lento will aggressively defend clients in Bucks County facing drug offenses and other criminal charges. These cases require an attorney that will thoroughly review the facts and evidence to develop and execute an effective defense. Take a step in the right direction by contacting the office at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.