What Happens if You Are Charged with Fentanyl Possession or Fentanyl-laced Pills in PA?
Everybody knows Fentanyl is highly addictive. An increase of people has been using it in the past few years, as well as drugs and pills laced with Fentanyl.
However, Fentanyl is not only addictive but highly lethal, making up 90% of all deaths involving opioids, according to some studies. Pennsylvania has the third highest rate of drug overdose deaths nationally.
Fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills make it so people buying drugs illegally may not even know they are taking Fentanyl – other pills like Valium, Oxycontin, and Adderall are often laced with Fentanyl. This creates a more potent and addictive product to sell to people with drug addiction problems.
At Ketchel Law, we understand that people don’t intend to get addicted to Fentanyl (or heroin or other opioids). We get that people don’t always fully know what they are buying when they purchase illegal drugs. We understand that many people start using pills to combat pain and then they become addicted to the drugs.
If you or a loved one was arrested or charged with Fentanyl possession or PWID in Pennsylvania, these are very serious charges that, upon conviction, could mean a minimum of two years in jail.
AN ARREST FOR FENTANYL POSSESSION IS NOT A CONVICTION.
Just because you were charged with a drug crime, does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. You have the right to fight the legitimacy of your charges or fight for a reduction to reduce sentencing. People win against drug charges all the time in Pennsylvania.
It is very important that you speak to an experienced Pittsburgh Drug Attorney with a track record of winning drug cases and helping people find alternatives to jail time.
An Arrest is Not a Conviction.
Our #1 goal is a full case dismissal.
Call Ketchel Law at 412-456-1221 for a Free Consultation
What are the penalties for Fentanyl in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania comes down hard on anyone caught with Fentanyl or a Fentanyl derivative, compound, or analog. In fact, a conviction for possession of any amount of Fentanyl in Pennsylvania will mean going to prison.
Under Senate Bill 8, amending Title 18 Section 7508(b) and (d) (Drug trafficking sentencing and penalties), the law states:
(9) A person who is convicted of violating section 13(a) (14), (30) or (37) of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (i) when the aggregate weight of the compound or mixture containing the fentanyl or fentanyl derivative, compound or analogue involved is less than 1.0 gram; two years in prison and a fine of $5,000.
The penalties and sentencing guidelines for a Fentanyl possession conviction in Pennsylvania can include:
- 0 gram or less: Up to two years in prison and a hefty fine of $5,000;
- Over 1.0 grams: A three-year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine, and;
- 10 grams to 50 grams: A 4.5-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine;
- 50-100 grams: A 6.5-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine, and;
- Over 100 grams: An 8-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine.
*”Fentanyl possession” includes any compound or mixture of Fentanyl or a Fentanyl derivative, compound, or analogue.
The law goes on to explain that, if at the time of sentencing the defendant has been convicted of another drug trafficking offense, they will receive 36 months in prison and a fine of $10,000 (less than 1.0 gram). If over 1.0 grams, the sentencing received will be 48 months in prison and a $30,000 fine. For each amount in possession, the penalties increase drastically if a prior drug trafficking conviction exists.
Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties have a mandatory sentence if a person is in possession of over 40 grams of Fentanyl or over 10 grams of Fentanyl analogue. However, Pennsylvania has taken the extra step to restrict ANY amount and will punish persons convicted of illegal possession if “the controlled substance or a mixture containing it is fentanyl or a fentanyl derivative, compound or analogue of fentanyl.”
Whether you are charged with Simple Possession or Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID) will be determined by the facts surrounding the case. These could include: being charged with selling after a confidential informant makes a purchase; if an overdose is traced back to you, or if the arresting officers find other corroborating evidence such as scales, baggies, large quantities of cash or guns.
Other penalties are currently on the table in Pennsylvania and new bills are being introduced. For instance, PA Senate Bill 1295, introduced in June 2022 and also known as “Tyler’s Law“, would create a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence for fentanyl distribution that results in death.
From Attorney General Shapiro “Fentanyl is deadly, and it is cheap to manufacture. Fentanyl is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, with doses selling for the price of a six-pack of beer. Just one fentanyl-laced counterfeit pill is enough to cause an overdose. My office is working every day to shut down drug traffickers and remove these poisons from our communities.”
DON’T EVER THINK JUST BECAUSE THE POLICE FOUND DRUGS ON YOU THEY HAVE “PROOF” THAT YOU ARE GUILTY.
An Arrest is Not a Conviction.
Ketchel Law – 412-456-1221 – Free Consultations
How Ketchel Law Can Help
Our Pittsburgh Drug Attorneys have taken on more and more tough drug cases over the years. We understand addiction and we understand that people are often wrongly accused. We have been successful in getting charges withdrawn and sentencing drastically reduced.
An Arrest is Not a Conviction. Our #1 goal is to help you get your charges dismissed.
Many people “get busted” and give up hope, but until you are convicted, you are innocent. You still have the legal right to contest the charges and fight to have them either dropped, reduced, or to have a reduction in sentencing. Don’t ever think that because the police found drugs on you they have “proof” you are guilty.
At Ketchel Law, we know everyone has faults and makes errors – but that doesn’t mean they deserve harsh punishment. We believe in second chances.
In the case of possession, it is possible to enter into the Pittsburgh Drug Court or another rehabilitative program in lieu of jail time. Our experienced attorneys can help negotiate, make a plea or help with acceptance into these programs.
There are many defenses to drug charges in Pennsylvania. Some of the most common include:
- Lack of Probable Cause;
- Warrantless Search;
- Lack of Intent or Knowledge of possession;
- The controlled substance in your possession was prescribed by a doctor;
- The drugs did not belong to you;
- Drugs were planted by the police;
- Drug Paraphernalia was not an illegal item and there was no intent to use it for drugs, and;
- Drug Test results were improperly obtained or mishandled by police.
In order to get a conviction, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You knowingly and intentionally had control of an illegal drug, and;
- You were aware that the drug is illegal, present, and planned to use or control them.
The prosecution will need to prove these elements in your case. In some circumstances, it may be possible to have the evidence suppressed, which could lead to a full dismissal of your case.
Our Pittsburgh Drug Lawyers are skilled in pouring over case details and police reports in order to determine whether they have a solid case against you or if they made any missteps in their procedures. We will thoroughly investigate your case and fight your drug charges.
Ketchel Law – 412-456-1221 – Free Consultations
OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR CASE DISMISSED.
Our number one goal is to have your case dismissed and charges withdrawn. If that is not possible, there are numerous ways of attempting a reduction in sentencing such as probation vs. jail.
Talk to an experienced attorney for a free consultation about whether you may be eligible to have your record expunged and how best to fight your charges.
A drug charge does not have to mean a drug conviction.
Learn More About Drug Charges in Pennsylvania:
- Simple Possession of Drugs and/or Paraphernalia
- Possession of Drugs with Intent to Deliver
- Drug Diversion Programs in Pennsylvania
- Drug Conviction Penalties in PA
- Pittsburgh Drug Lawyers