What Are The Classifications Of Drug Charges In Pennsylvania?
The main drug charges are possession, possession with intent to deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Possession charges are misdemeanors, possession with intent to deliver is a felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor.
Are Drug Charges Removed From My Criminal Record At The Age Of 18?
If you have a juvenile encounter and you are adjudicated delinquent or you were placed in a consent decree then your record could be expunged at a certain point. Otherwise, those charges would stay with you.
Are Drug Charges Considered A Violent Crime In Pennsylvania?
No, I don’t believe they are normally considered crimes of violence.
Could My Drug Defense Attorney Get My Case Dropped?
It depends. If you have a very good preliminary hearing and the Commonwealth is unable to establish what’s called their prima facie burden then yes, it could be dropped. Normally if it is a misdemeanor case you’re looking to place a client in what’s called the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition program or ARD. The arrest record can be purged at a certain point after the ARD probation has been completed. If the charges prohibit admission into that program an application may be made to the youth offender program. If successfully completed, the felony conditional guilty plea can be withdrawn, leaving only the misdemeanor. You have to be between the ages of 18 and 25 to qualify for these options.
Is Possession Of Paraphernalia A Drug Charge Under Pennsylvania Law?
Yes, it’s a misdemeanor charge.
Can A Felony Drug Charge Be Reduced To A Misdemeanor Charge In Pennsylvania?
If the facts and circumstances warrant reduction from possession with intent to deliver to possession, then yes. Otherwise, the felony could be withdrawn upon completion of the youth offender program.
Can I Still Own A Gun In Pennsylvania If I Am Convicted Of A Drug Charge?
It depends on the maximum punishment and that applies regardless of whether it’s a drug offense or not. If you’re convicted of or under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year then you cannot get a gun. If you’re a fugitive from justice or an unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance you can’t get a firearm. If you are adjudicated as mentally defective you can’t get one. If you’re dishonorably discharged from the military you can’t get one. If you renounce your United States citizenship you can’t get one. You’re subject to court-ordered supervision if you have been convicted for a misdemeanor domestic violence. These are just a few examples of charges that would make you ineligible to purchase and possess a firearm.
When Could A Drug Charge Elevate From Simple Possession To An Intent To Distribute?
If the person only had a small amount but then took some of that small amount and sold it or even just gave it to somebody else, then they could technically be charged with possession with intent to deliver even though the amount is not very significant.
Can Police Execute A Warrantless Search Of A Home Or Vehicle If They Suspect A Drug Offense?
Those are two different areas for search and the court has taken a different approach with each one. If the police pull over a vehicle and they smell what they believe to be marijuana then they’re going to be able to search that car. Present case law would allow them to do it. Ordinarily when you’re dealing with a home you have to have a warrant unless there are exigent circumstances which means emergency circumstances. There would be a much higher burden for them to search a home without a warrant as opposed to a car.
Can A Passenger In A Motor Vehicle Be Charged If Drugs Are Discovered In The Vehicle?
That depends on your actions in the vehicle. If you handled a controlled substance when it was being delivered to an undercover officer, you could be charged as a co-conspirator. I’ve had situations where the undercover officer made the deal with a certain person. That person handed the controlled substance to the passenger who then handed it to the officer who handed cash back, and the passenger was charged with criminal conspiracy with intent to deliver.
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