The opioid epidemic continues to affect our nation, and more people are charged with drug crimes each year. People may be charged with drug crimes not only related to opioids, however, but also related to several other illicit and prescription substances. If you are charged with a drug crime, you should speak with an attorney regarding the strategies that you may be able to use to protect your interests. The Scranton drug crime lawyers at Lenahan & Dempsey, P.C., are skilled at handling the complexities of serious charges, and we will help you strive for the best legal outcome available in your case.Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania
There is a wide variety of drug crimes with which a person may be charged, but the three most common drug crimes that are charged in Pennsylvania are possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and possession with intent to deliver. A person may be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if he or she uses, or possesses with the intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, growing, processing, storing, or ingesting a controlled substance into the human body in violation of the law. Common items of paraphernalia include bongs, pipes, needles, scales, and grinders.
A charge of possession of a controlled substance alleges that a person intentionally or knowingly possessed a controlled substance without a valid prescription or order from a physician. Controlled substances include marijuana, heroin, and prescription opioids, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. Lastly, a charge of possession with intent to deliver arises out of delivering, manufacturing, or possessing with the intent to deliver a controlled substance by a person not licensed by the State Board. A drug crime attorney in Scranton can develop a strategy that is tailored to the nuances of your charge.
Generally, the severity of a charge and the penalties associated with a charge vary depending on the nature and amount of the drug that the person is accused of having in his or her possession. For example, a person who is arrested for having less than 30 grams of marijuana may be charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and face up to 30 days in prison and a fine of up to $500. Conversely, a person found with a large amount of opioids can be charged with felony intent to distribute, and they may face penalties of up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.Potential Defenses in Drug Crime Cases
While many people charged with drug crimes are struggling with substance abuse issues, addiction is not a defense to offenses arising out of the use or distribution of drugs. There are numerous defenses that a Scranton drug crime attorney may be able to set forth to prevent a conviction, however. For example, if the police did not have an adequate basis to conduct the search that revealed the drugs, or if they exceeded the scope of a warrant, the search may constitute a violation of your constitutional rights, and the evidence obtained via the search may be suppressed.
Additionally, for some drug crimes, the Commonwealth is required to prove that you intentionally and knowingly possessed the drug in question. If the prosecution cannot prove that you had the required mental state, it should not be able to obtain a conviction. In other instances, you may be able to show that the Commonwealth cannot establish that you possessed the amount of an illegal substance needed to be charged or found guilty.Discuss Your Charges with a Skillful Criminal Defense Attorney
If you were recently charged with a drug crime, it is wise to discuss your case with an attorney who is experienced in handling high-stakes criminal matters. At Lenahan & Dempsey, P.C., our attorneys are adept at defending people charged with serious crimes. Our drug crime lawyers represent Scranton residents and other people throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Lycoming, Monroe, and Montour Counties. We also assist people who have been charged with a vast range of other crimes, such as federal crimes, fraud crimes, DUI, theft crimes, violent crimes, gun crimes, and probation violations. We have offices in Scranton, Tunkhannock, New Berwick, and the Poconos Mountains region, and you can reach us via our online form to set up a conference. You can also call us at 888.536.2426 to discuss the specifics of your case at no obligation.