When you are facing drug charges in Northeastern Pennsylvania, life as you know it will change forever. There are countless penalties that will affect your life depending on the seriousness of your charges, including fines that are thousands of dollars and years in jail.
If you have been charged with a drug-related crime or are under investigation, it is time to contact the knowledgeable Scranton drug charge lawyers at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano. We have experience handling drug cases around Northeastern Pennsylvania, not to mention an extensive knowledge of the legal system in our area.
Our attorneys know what it takes to defend those facing drug charges and will defend you against accusations that could potentially ruin your life.
Drug Charges in Pennsylvania
Most drug charges in Pennsylvania violate either state or federal laws involving drugs that are classified as controlled substances. A controlled substance can be marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and other illegal drugs. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, the most common drug charges involving controlled substances include marijuana charges, drug DUI, drug possession, drug manufacturing, drug distribution, and drug trafficking.
However, the criminal justice system can make these charges seem confusing to those convicted. The smallest mistake in your case could cost you your freedom, along with straining your relationship with family and friends.
Classes of Drugs
In Pennsylvania, there are five classes or schedules of drugs that are illegal to possess:
- Schedule I: includes drugs that have a high potential for abuse, like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin
- Schedule II: includes drugs that have a high potential for abuse but have an accepted medical use, like OxyContin, methamphetamine, and methadone
- Schedule III: includes drugs that have a high psychological dependence or moderate physical dependence, like Vicodin, anabolic steroids, and ketamine
- Schedule IV: includes drugs that have an accepted medical use and limited psychological/physical dependence, like Xanax, Valium, and Ambien
- Schedule V: includes drugs that have a current medical use and limited psychological/physical dependence relative to Schedule IV, like Lomotil, Lyrica and cough medicines such as Robitussin AC
Jailtime, the amount of fines, and other penalties are determined by which class of drug led to your conviction.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
While all drug charges lead to extreme penalties, charges stemming from distribution and manufacturing can lead to those that are the sternest. Pennsylvania’s PWI statute criminalizes the possession with the intent to distribute any of the controlled substances found in Schedule I through Schedule V.
Possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances can be proven by the different circumstances surrounding someone being found in the presence of those substances. The following evidence can prove intent to distribute:
- Guns and other weapons
- Multiple cell phones
- Packaging materials
- A large amount of cash
- A large number of drugs/narcotics
A felony charge can also occur when it’s proven that the drugs and other controlled substances were grown or manufactured.
Mistakes Can Be Made
Even though the police found illegal drugs on you, it doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted of a crime. A drug arrest needs to be lawful and merited for it to hold up in court. Did law enforcement have probable cause to search or detain you? Did they have consent to search your vehicle? Did they have a warrant to search your premises? These are important questions, and the answers to them will determine your fate.
Mistakes that police officers commonly make in drug charge cases can include forgetting to read Miranda rights, asking questions without the presence of a lawyer or when a lawyer is requested illegal searches, improper investigations, and entrapment. Anyone of these mistakes can go a long way toward helping your case.
Our NEPA Drug Charge Lawyers Can Help You
At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we will use all our resources to get your drug charges dismissed or reduced, along with getting evidence excluded that could affect your freedom. Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of the law and have resolved a wide array of drug crimes in Scranton and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.
If you have been convicted of a drug crime, the time to act is now and not later. If this is your first offense, there may be ways to prevent you from having a criminal record. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. We look forward to securing your justice.