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Experienced Pottstown Criminal Defense Attorney for Possession With Intent to Distribute

In Pennsylvania, you can be arrested for possessing any type of illegal drug, including prescription drugs -- the charge would be possession of a controlled substance. If, however, the quantity of the drug meets a certain statutory threshold, the officer may think you possess the drugs with the intent to distribute them. This offense is Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID), and it includes the manufacture, delivery, or possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute. 

A conviction for this offense results in a sentence much harsher than a conviction of simple possession. Simple possession involves the personal use of an illegal drug while PWID refers to possession to make the drug and/or to distribute it to other persons by selling it, sharing it, giving it away, or any other means of distribution. A PWID conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence, too -- that means if convicted, the judge must in the least order the minimum required by law. In other words, you aren't going to get out of any jail time. 

To protect yourself, you need an experienced drug crimes criminal defense lawyer in Montgomery County advocating for your rights and freedom. David J. Cohen, former experienced police officer, knows the law and the courts. His knowledge is wide and varied and can be used to help defend you. Contact David J. Cohen's Pottstown law office today to learn more about the charge against you and his approach to criminal defense.

What is the Pennsylvania Crime of Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID)?

A charge of possession with intent to deliver simply means the police officer is accusing you of selling or distributing drugs. Common examples of when the charge is applied include situations where:

  • You were at a party a shared a drug;
  • You had on your person or within your control a quantity considered by law to be more than for merely personal use;
  • You were allegedly seen dealing a drug on a street corner.

For some of you, you may have been under investigation for some time and surveilled by the police. For others of you, it may have just been unfortunate, random timing. In either situation, a PWID charge is serious because it is a felony, which means prison time, steep fines, among other penalties. The type of drug in your possession matters greatly to the extent of the penalties.

In Pennsylvania, drugs are classified according to the Federal drug schedule and are delineated in The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act. There are five schedules. Schedule I drugs are the most heavily controlled because they are deemed to be the most addictive with no medicinal value. At the opposite end, Schedule V drugs are the least controlled for the very opposite reasons – they are not addictive and have medicinal value. Pennsylvania's sentencing is in part based on which drug you are found with and how that drug is classified. 

Below are examples of what types of controlled substances are found under each schedule.

Schedule I

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • Mushrooms
  • LSD
  • Peyote

Schedule II

  • Cocaine
  • Ritalin
  • Opium
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Pure Codeine
  • Pure Hydrocodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Percodan
  • Methamphetamine
  • PCP
  • Some Barbiturates

Schedule III

  • Ketamine
  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Marinol

Schedule IV

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Darvon
  • Darvocet

Schedule V

  • Cough suppressants with codeine
  • Anti-diarrheal treatments

How can a drug crimes attorney defend a Possession with Intent to Deliver charge in Pennsylvania?

It doesn't matter if you are innocent or guilty, you should always plead not guilty at your arraignment. To do otherwise eliminates your chance of defending yourself and securing your freedom. At David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC, we understand if you are feeling nervous or scared, especially if this is your first drug offense. We take a comprehensive approach to your case and will look at all the angles to develop a working defense that will challenge the prosecutor's case against you. 

Ways we can challenge the State's case include things like:

  • Proving you did not intend or know you were in possession of an illegal substance -- the State must prove you knowingly and intentionally had control over the illegal drugs;
  • Proving you were not in actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance -- the prosecutor must prove possession in order for you to be found guilty of this offense; 
  • Proving you did not know the drugs were illegal -- another element of PWID that must be proven is that:
    • you knew the drugs were illegal, 
    • you knew the drugs were present, and 
    • you intended to use or control them;
  • Challenging the search and seizure of your person and your property -- it is unlawful in most cases for the police to search you or your possessions or property without a warrant, and if they do, then we can file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained from that unlawful search and seizure.

What happens if convicted of PWID in Montgomery County, PA?

If you are convicted of possession with intent to deliver in Pennsylvania, then the sentence will depend on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • the amount of drugs in your possession;
  • the type of drug in your possession and the schedule to which it belongs; and
  • any prior drug crime convictions.

There are any number of combinations of circumstances that will result in any number of sentences. Depending on the above three factors, longer mandatory minimum sentences may apply. Mandatory minimum incarceration sentences are controlled by 18 Pa. C.S. § 7508, and the below chart provides examples of what minimum sentences may look like for various common drugs, quantity, and prior convictions.

Quantity

1st Conviction

2nd Conviction

Marijuana

2 to <10 lbs or 10 to 20 live plants

1 year

2 years

10 to <50 lbs or 21 to 50 live plants

3 years

4 years

>50 lbs or >50 live plants

5 years

5 years

Heroin

1 to <5 grams

2 years

3 years

5 to <50 grams

3 years

5 years

>50 grams

5 years

7 years

Schedule I or II Narcotics

2 to <10 grams

2 years

3 years

10 to < 100 grams

3 years

5 years

>100 grams

5 years

7 years

Cocaine

2 to <10 grams

1 year

3 years

10 to <100 grams

3 years

5 years

>100 grams

4 years

7 years

Methamphetamine

5 to <10 grams

3 years

5 years

10 to <100 grams

4 years

7 years

>100 grams

5 years

8 years

Apart from incarceration, the State will also impose steep fines in accordance with 18 Pa. C.S. § 7508 and may suspend your driver's license and/or seize property and assets. 

It is important to note that if convicted, penalties imposed by the court is only part of your problems. You will also likely face collateral consequences, which includes things like:

  • Becoming ineligible for federal student loans; 
  • Having difficulty finding a job;
  • Having difficulty securing personal loans or loans for a mortgage; and
  • Having difficulty securing custody of a child.

Contact a Resourceful PWID Criminal Defense Attorney in Pottstown, PA Today

If you have been charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, contact Montgomery County criminal defense lawyer David J. Cohen today. Your rights and freedom may depend on it.

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