In today's society, there is an overwhelming disdain toward the use, sale, manufacture, and collateral crime associated with illegal narcotics. As a result, the criminal justice system and law enforcement have made the investigation and prosecution of drug offenses a high priority. Consequently, federal and state authorities have focused on the prosecution of drug and drug related crime while turning a blind eye to other criminal activity, i.e. political corruption and white collar crime, which pose far greater risks to society as a whole. What the general public does not realize is that in focusing on drug investigations and prosecutions, the federal, state, and local authorities help fund their operations with the seizure of cash, automobiles, real property, and other assets. Unfortunately, this often leads to overzealous officers and incomplete investigations that lead to improper and sometimes illegal arrests. As such, if you or a loved one is facing a drug charge, it is imperative to secure competent, knowledgeable, and experienced counsel as soon as possible in order to preserve your rights, interests, and property.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are several different drug offenses that include, but are not limited to the following, which are most commonly charged:
- Possession of Small Amount of Marijuana – 35 P.S. §780-113(31);
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – 35 P.S. §780-113(32);
- Possession of a Controlled Substance – 35 P.S. §780-113(16);
- Criminal Use of a Communication Facility – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §7512
- Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud – 35 P.S. §780-113(12);
- Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation – 35 P.S. §780-113(12);
- Possession with the Intent to Deliver (“PWI”) – 35 P.S. §780-113(30); and
- Delivery of a Controlled Substance – 35 P.S. §780-113(30).
Sentencing schemes for drug offenses can be very complicated and are often harsh. The maximum penalties can range from thirty days (30) for Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana up to forty (40) years and a $500,000 fine for Delivery of a Controlled Substance with a prior felony drug conviction. Moreover, upon conviction, many of the drug offenses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania carry harsh mandatory minimum sentences of incarceration. In Pennsylvania, the mandatory minimum sentences can range from one (1) year up to eight (8) years depending upon the drug, quantity involved, and prior criminal record of the accused. Finally, upon conviction, many of these drug offenses also carry mandatory driver license suspensions. When facing such serious consequences and life-altering repercussions, you should ensure you are represented by a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
Additionally, when the underlying circumstances dictate, Attorney Joe D’Andrea has extensive knowledge of and experience with problem solving courts and diversionary sentencing programs that are often available to drug offenders and/or individuals suffering from addiction; such as – Drug Treatment Court (“Drug Court”); Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (“ARD”); Section 17; Section 18; Intermediate Punishment Program (“IP” or “IPP”); Restrictive Intermediate Punishment Program (“RIP”); and State Intermediate Punishment Program (“State IP”).Defenses
When faced with a drug charge, there may be several ways to successfully defend the case depending upon the underlying factual circumstances. After consulting with the client and making a thorough review of the Criminal Complaint, Affidavit of Probable Cause, Indictment, or Criminal Information; a seasoned and knowledgeable attorney, such as Joe D’Andrea, can determine the best way to defend and proceed with a case. Based upon his meticulous review, preparation, and experience, Joe D’Andrea has made a habit of picking apart “slam dunk” or “air tight” cases as a matter-of-course. As with many things, when defending drug cases, the devil is always in the details…
During the course of his career, Joe D’Andrea has been very successful in challenging and moving to suppress evidence obtained as a result of improper and/or illegal traffic stops; illegal seizures; illegal searches; tainted information from confidential informants; defective search warrants; and improper and/or illegal “consent” searches. It takes an experienced and seasoned criminal defense attorney to flush out the factual circumstances of a drug prosecution, in order to find – factual inconsistencies, suppression issues, procedural defects, insufficient evidence, etc. Moreover, it takes an aggressive and zealous litigator to successfully advocate and defend the rights of the accused. If you or a loved-one are facing drug charges, you will want an aggressive criminal defense attorney like Joe D’Andrea by your side.