First Time Drug Offense in Pennsylvania

What Happens After Being Charged with Drug Possession for the First Time in Pennsylvania?

If you are arrested for simple possession of a controlled substance for the first time, the consequences can mean jail time and heavy fines.

A drug conviction on your permanent criminal record can make it very difficult to obtain employment, secure housing, or get financial assistance for college or automobiles.

An Arrest is Not a Conviction

Even though Pennsylvania takes all drug crimes very seriously, you still have a right to defend your rights and prove your innocence.

If that is not possible, several alternatives and drug diversion programs exist to getting your life back on track and avoiding jail time, including Probation without Verdict, ARD program for first time drug offenders and the Pittsburgh Drug Court.

Speaking with a knowledgeable Pittsburgh Drug Attorney is the best way to determine how to proceed with your case.

If you face first time drug charges, call Attorney Ketchel today for a free legal consultation at 412-456-1221.

 

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DRUG CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

 

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DRUG CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

INFORMATION ON FIRST TIME DRUG OFFENSES IN PENNSYLVANIA

Depending on the circumstances of your case, a first drug offense can escalate from a simple possession case to a drug trafficking case. Even a first-time simple possession conviction can mean up to a year in prison and $5,000 in fines, depending on the amount and type of drugs found in your possession.

Typically, even a first time marijuana charge of less than 30 grams will mean a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. 

If you have more drugs in your possession than the law deems consistent with personal use, you will be charged with the greater offense of drug trafficking or PWID.

Additionally, if you have any drug paraphernalia in your possession, you will face an additional drug paraphernalia charge. Drug paraphernalia can be as an item as small as the bag the drugs were being stored in.

Simple possession charges are usually for smaller amounts of narcotics and controlled substances. In order to prove simple possession, the prosecution must show that you knowingly and/or intentionally possessed a controlled substance.

For those who are charged with a non-violent, simple possession case, there is an alternative to serving jail time and having a permanent mark on your criminal record.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DRUG CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

 

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DRUG CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMS FOR FIRST TIME DRUG OFFENDERS

Probation Without Verdict

To ease the burden on courts and help people recover from their drug problem, Pennsylvania established several diversion or rehabilitative programs, including the Section 17 Probation Without Verdict, or PWOV, program. This program is only for first-time, non-violent drug offenders.

Having any prior criminal history will make you ineligible PWOV. Once you gain admittance, you will be given a set of tasks, monitored by the court, that must be completed successfully. Once you have satisfied all the requirements of the program, the case against you will be dismissed and your record will be clear.

ARD Program

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program offers as a way to avoid serving jail time for minor drug offenses as well as first-time DUI charges and summary offenses. Acceptance into the program can mean eligibility for reduced sentencing and punishment as well as the ability to have your record expunged.

Pennsylvania Drug Court

The Pennsylvania Drug Court was set up in order to rehabilitate drug dealers—more specifically, those who sell drugs to support their own drug habit. If you think you may qualify, contact a drug lawyer to discuss options.

There are strict guidelines to be followed and gaining admittance to a Drug Diversion Program in PA requires the help of an attorney. Speak to a knowledgeable drug defense attorney immediately to see if you qualify. 

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DRUG CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

SENTENCING FOR DRUG CONVICTIONS

Controlled Substances are classified according to a schedule in Pennsylvania. Penalties are based on the classification of the drug as well as the amount you had in your possession and any prior drug charges.

A simple possession charge of weed can still send you to jail for a year, plus a $5,000 fine, not to mention all the other fees and court costs.

If you had a large amount of drugs in your possession, or more than deemed for personal use, you can be charged with drug trafficking, which is known Pennsylvania as Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID). This is a felony.

For example, a Schedule IV drug includes many prescription medications and a PWID charge is considered a felony with a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and three years in prison.

A PWID charge of a Schedule I drug like marijuana or LSD is also a felony and comes with a maximum fine of $15,000 and 5 years in prison.

And possession with the intent to deliver heroin comes with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Meth, PCP and cocaine sentencing have a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Other factors, like distributing to a minor and within a school zone, are also determining sentencing factors.

Depending on the amount of drugs and prior offenses, you can face a maximum sentence.

 

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DRUG CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

 

HOW KETCHEL LAW CAN HELP 

At Ketchel Law, 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.

We fight for a reduced sentence or charges dismissed completely.

An experienced and aggressive Pennsylvania Drug Lawyer can help. First, by explaining your rights, the penalties you face and listening to your side of the story to fully understand your charges. Second, by conducting an investigation and digging into the arrest files in order to build a strong defense against the charges.

We are skillful attorneys and know how to negotiate with the best interest of our clients in mind. We work with you to find optimal solutions and the best way for you to retain your freedom.

If you were charged with a drug crime, call an experienced drug crime attorney for a free consultation.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DRUG CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

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