Pennsylvania’s drug laws are confusing, complicated and strict. You can be arrested and charged for possession of any type of controlled substance, including prescription drugs.
Someone found to be in possession of a small amount of any type of illegak drug will usually be charged with possession of a controlled substance. If you are arrested for being in possession of an amount that exceeds a certain larger quantity, however, you can be charged with possession with intent to deliver—often referred to as PWID. Often this charge is based on the opinion of a police officer that the drugs were possessed with an intent to deliver them to another. You need a lawyer who has defended these cases and can attack the opinion and find out if the police are mistaken in their opinion.
A conviction for possession with intent to deliver carries penalties much more severe than what someone would receive for a conviction of simple possession. Simple possession charges usually involve an amount of any given substance that is small enough to be considered for personal use. PWID charges cover the actual act of or intent to manufacture, distribute, share, give away, or otherwise deliver drugs to other people.
Another difference between simple possession charges and PWID charges is how sentencing works. The consequences for a possession charge are mainly left up to the presiding judge. A conviction for possession with intent to deliver is a felony and can bring a state prison sentence. You also need a lawyer who is current on the law of mandatory minimum sentences. A mandatory sentence will force the judge to impose the minimum sentence required by law. In other words, if you are convicted, you will serve time in jail. The lawyers at Feeney and Gurwitz study the law and changes in the law, including the current laws on mandatory minimum jail sentence. Call us if you need to know more.
What Constitutes Possession With Intent To Deliver (PWID) In Pennsylvania?
If you are being charged with possession with intent to deliver, it simply means that you are being accused of selling or otherwise distributing drugs. It’s important to note that money changing hands is not required for law enforcement to charge you with PWID in Pennsylvania. Simply giving any type of controlled substance to another person is enough to fit the definition of distribution or delivery under the law.
For example, you could be charged with possession with intent to deliver in any of the following situations:
- You were observed sharing a drug with someone at a party.
- You were found to be in possession of a quantity of any drug that is larger than what would reasonably be considered an amount for personal use.
- You were observed to be allegedly selling drugs on the street or from a house.
Whatever circumstances resulted in PWID charges, the bottom line is that possession with intent to deliver is a felony charge in Pennsylvania and a conviction will result in steep fines and prison time. The severity of penalties and the mandatory minimum sentences vary depending on the type of drug(s) that were allegedly in your possession.
Penalties For A PWID Conviction In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, drugs are classified following the federal government’s drug schedule. The classifications are outlined in detail in the state’s Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act.
There are five schedules. Schedule I drugs are considered to have no legitimate medicinal use as well as having the highest chances of addiction. In simple terms, Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most dangerous. Moving through Schedule II, III, and IV, the drugs are considered to be less dangerous. Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous and do have some type of legitimate medicinal use and/or they are not considered to be addictive. The severity of a sentence for a PWID conviction depends heavily on the quantity and which schedule the drug one is in possession of falls under.
Speak To An Experienced Pennsylvania Drug Crimes Lawyer
As you can see, drug charges—and especially PWID charges—in Pennsylvania are nothing to be taken lightly. Criminal drug possession charges are not something you should try to handle on your own. Any mistake could cost you years of your life in prison.
If you or someone you know has been charged with possession with intent to deliver drugs or any other type of drug-related crime in Pennsylvania, the team at Feeney & Gurwitz can help. We will stand with you and aggressively work to make sure that your rights are protected and that you get the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact us by calling (610) 378-7000 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your case and discuss what we can do to help defend you against drug charges in Pennsylvania.