Drug offenses come in many shapes and sizes in Pennsylvania. Two of the most common drug crimes charged are possession with intent to deliver and possession of drugs. Possession with intent to deliver is a felony level crime and drug possession is a misdemeanor. Due to their classifications under the law, each one has very different consequences and must be handled in different ways.Possession With Intent to Deliver
Under 35 P.S. § 780-113 it is criminally illegal in Pennsylvania to possess controlled substances and/or illegal drugs with the intent to deliver. The definition of “deliver” under this code is broad. The law covers the delivery, holding, offering for sale or even the simple possession of drugs if the prosecution can prove that the individual had the ultimate goal of delivering such drugs. Many people believe that money has to change hands or that a sale must take place in order for someone to be convicted of possession with intent to deliver. This is not true. Simply giving drugs to someone without a sale or transaction can result in conviction of this crime. This definition is broad, and must be defended vigorously, sometimes with expert witnesses.
Additionally, the prosecution can prove possession with intent to deliver simply by showing that the actor intended to deliver the drugs to someone, even if no delivery actually occurred. In this scenario, the prosecution will rely on the particular packaging of the drugs or the sheer volume of the drugs to argue that the person was a drug dealer. These cases require extra care and attention because each one depends greatly on the factual scenario and even the type of illegal drug involved.
Possession with intent to deliver is a felony and a conviction can result in significant prison time as well as large fines depending on the type of drug and the sheer amount of the substance involved. These cases can even be prosecuted federally if the amounts are large, there are a large number of conspirators involved and the money or drugs crosses state lines. Legal expertise is extremely important to defend these cases.Simple Possession of Drugs
In Pennsylvania, the simple possession of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor. Yes, even marijuana is still illegal to possess in Pennsylvania. The prosecution will generally charge these crimes if illegal drugs are found on your person, in your car, or even in your home. As long as the amount is small, and the surrounding facts indicate that the drugs were for personal usage, the charge will come as a simple possession and not as a possession with intent to deliver.
For first time offenders, there are diversionary options available. First time offenders may be eligible for ARD (“Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition)” or even a program known as EDP (“Expedited Disposition Plea”). Entry into such a program can result in a short period of probation and sometimes an offender may even be eligible to have the charge expunged.
And yes, for marijuana cases, sometimes the charge can be handled early on in the case and for minimal penalties, depending on the Defendant’s personal background and many other factors that weigh into such a resolution.
Regardless, simple possession cases are not to be taken lightly. Convictions for simple possession can result in significant criminal penalties and an extended criminal record.
Overall, drug delivery and drug possession cases are sensitive and urgent charges. You need a Pittsburgh criminal attorney to assist you. Joe Pometto Law stands ready and willing to help.