Under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, defendant’s accused of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance are met with harsh penalties sentences involving mandatory jail time. Those convicted of drug act violations including possession of a controlled substance run the risk of having their driver’s license suspended. A conviction for possession with intent to deliver or delivery of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, amphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana all carry mandatory sentences of incarceration depending on the weight of the drug and the prior record of the defendant. These mandatory jail sentences range from one to seven years. A person convicted of possession with intent to deliver two grams of cocaine but less than ten grams of cocaine faces a mandatory one-year in jail. If the defendant has a prior conviction for the same offense it becomes a three-year mandatory jail sentence. Because of the severity of the sentences being handed down on these types of cases it is important to have a lawyer who knows the law, knows your rights and knows how to defend your case.

Know what your rights are when it comes to both the Pennsylvania and United States constitution. Too often police stop, search and seize evidence illegally. This dilemma is most prevalent in prosecuting drug act violations. Too often police stop a vehicle and subsequently find drugs. Police do not have a right to search your car and you can refuse consent to search the vehicle if they ask. Know your rights! The police may need to get a search warrant prior to searching your vehicle. That requires them to have probable cause to believe evidence will be found in the vehicle. If police conduct is determined to be unconstitutional, the evidence cannot be used against a defendant in court. When stopping a defendant on foot or in a vehicle, police must be able to articulate specific facts that lead them to believe criminal activity is taking place. To often people are stopped, detained and searched on mere hunches or speculation. An officer must have reason to believe that you are involved in criminal activity and that you are armed and dangerous before he can pat you down for evidence of weapons. You do not have to give consent to be searched when a police officer asks you if he can search your pockets. There must be probable cause before the police can search a car, a home or arrest a defendant. Knowing your rights is the first step towards defending a violation of the drug act.

Police often accuse defendants of possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver where the defendant is only possessing for personal use. Additionally some defendants possess for both the intent to deliver and for personal use. It is important to obtain a lawyer who knows how to work the facts of your case to your advantage, minimizing and reducing the penalties and criminal charges where possible.

Finally for all charges brought against a defendant, the District Attorney’s Office has a broad range of discretion in what an appropriate sentence may be or what charges a defendant ultimately pleads guilty to. The courts are required to look at the sentencing guidelines to determine what amount of jail time, if any, is appropriate given the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Guidelines are a factor of a crime’s offense gravity score and a defendant’s prior record score. By retaining an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to handle your case, you can minimize your exposure to the legal system and jail time while insuring that you are being treated fair in the legal process. The benefits derived from hiring an attorney can save you money and minimize the exposure your face in a complex and confusing legal system.



Frank C. Flick, Esq.
536 Swede Street
P.O. Box 1140
Norristown, PA 19404