Drug crimes are serious criminal offenses in PA. Depending on the offense, charges can be filed as misdemeanors or felonies. Prosecutors throw the book at alleged drug crime offenders and try to get the worst possible sentence if convicted. Oftentimes, your best option is to fight the charge. Other times, a plea deal may be most beneficial. Regardless of what the best outcome is, you will only get that result if you have a drug crimes defense attorney working hard to defend you against allegations of drug crimes in PA.
At the Veitch Law Firm, our drug crimes defense attorney based in Erie always works to ensure our clients get the best outcome possible in their unique situation. If you have questions about your specific drug crimes case or want to know how we will work hard to defend you, contact us at 814-314-0051 to schedule a free consultation.
Understanding Drug Crimes in PA
Drug crimes refer to a broad category of acts involving illegal drugs. They include the use, possession, manufacturing, and distribution of unlawful controlled substances as well as unauthorized prescriptions and drug paraphernalia.
Common Prescription Drugs involved in Drug Crimes
Prescription drugs are legal only when lawfully prescribed and used. They become unlawful when unlawfully prescribed, used, possessed, or distributed.
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Phenobarbital (Luminal)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
Common Drug Paraphernalia involved in Drug Crimes
Drug paraphernalia can be items that are obviously needed for drug use but also items that have everyday uses in the home.
- rolling paper
- roach clips
- syringes, needs, or small spoons
- bongs and hookahs
- tin foil
- straws or paper tubes
- razorblades or cards
It is illegal to possess a controlled substance. This also includes prescriptions without authorization and drug paraphernalia.
You can be charged with various offenses for participating in any step of the production of an illegal drug. This includes the creation of a synthetic drug, such as amphetamines, or the extraction of a naturally occurring drug, for example, cannabis.
It is against the law to sell, transport, or import a controlled substance. Trafficking is one of the most serious drug crimes, attracting harsh penalties. Federal law applies and a trafficking conviction can result in life imprisonment.
Understanding Drug Crimes Classifications
Controlled substances are classified by the federal government into five classes. These classes are organized according to the drug's potential for abuse balanced with its potential medical use.
- Class 1: These drugs have no medical benefits but a high potential for abuse. These are no safe methods of use even if supervised by a medical professional. Examples include heroin, hallucinogens (like LSD), and even marijuana even though marijuana is legal for recreational and/or medical purposes in many states.
- Class 2: These drugs have some medical use but a high potential for abuse and addiction. examples include morphine and other stimulants and painkillers. This category also includes cocaine.
- Class 3: These drugs also have some medical use but the potential for abuse and addiction is lower. Examples include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and painkillers that combine opiates with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Class 4: These drugs have significant medical use and low potential for abuse and addiction. examples include barbiturates like Phenobarbital and sedatives like Valium and Xanax.
- Class 5: These drugs also have significant medical use and lower risk of abuse or addiction. Examples include cough syrup, anti-diarrheal drugs, and other household drugs.
Each state may classify controlled substances according to its own specific categories and laws. You always want to speak to a drug crimes defense lawyer to know what applies in your case.
PA Penalties for Drug Crime Convictions
A range of penalties is available to the court when sentencing drug offenders, including:
- Probation or community supervision
- Court-ordered drug counseling sessions or rehabilitation
- Community service
- Incarceration, including life imprisonment
When sentencing for a drug crime, the court usually takes into account:
- the type and amount of drugs involved
- whether possession was for personal use or distribution
- the offender's previous convictions, especially for drug offenses
There are also mandatory minimum sentences attached to some drug offenses or for repeat offenders.
Why Fight a Drug Crime Allegation in PA
A conviction for a drug crime can have serious, long-lasting consequences.
Aside from any penalty you receive, a conviction for a drug offense usually stays on your criminal history for the rest of your life. This can negatively impact your ability to find work, maintain personal relationships, hold a driver's license, secure a loan, enlist in the military, or own a gun.
For these reasons, you should immediately speak to a drug crime defense lawyer at the Veitch Law Firm if you've been charged with a drug crime.
How a Drug Crime Defense Attorney in Erie Can Help
Even minor drug offenses can attract harsh penalties and affect your future. The law around drug offenses is complex and can involve both state and federal authorities. So, it's important to find a defense lawyer who is well-versed in these types of offenses.
They can explain the process, your rights, and any defenses available to you to fight the charges. They can also advocate on your behalf when negotiating with the prosecution or representing you in court. This is why you should contact the Veitch Law Firm if you or someone you love is facing drug charges.
Contact a Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer in Erie
With the help of a lawyer experienced in defending drug crimes, you can minimize the potential effects of a drug conviction on your future or even avoid a conviction in the first place. Get started on your defense by contacting the Veitch Law Firm either by calling 814-314-0051 or filling out an online form today to schedule a free consultation.