Being accused of a crime means more than just potential penalties. It could also mean a tarnished reputation and a harmed personal and professional life. Thus, it is important to understand what details and evidence are used to charge individuals in Pennsylvania and elsewhere with a harsh crime such as a drug charge. This information could help those accused of a drug crime assert their right to a criminal defense.
Drug crimes can range, and the severity of the crime often depends of whether it violated federal or state laws, what type of drug is involved and the quantity of the drug. State drug laws are often narrower so long as they do not conflict with federal laws. Additionally, federal drug charges usually result in longer sentences than state drug charges, which often involve short-term sentencing or even probation.
One type of drug crime is possessing drug paraphernalia. This is considered to be any equipment that is used to prepare, inject, inhale or conceal illegal drugs. It can also refer to any equipment that is used to conceal or produce illegal drugs. Examples include bongs, pipes, rolling papers and syringes. One issue with a drug paraphernalia charge is that some of these items are designed for legal purposes. Thus, if used for legal purposes, a defendant could use that information to have these charges dismissed.
Drug possession is another common drug crime. This occurs when a person knowingly possesses an illegal drug. Depending on the quantity, this could result in a simple possession charge or a possession with the intent to distribute charge. Another common drug crime is drug manufacturing. A person can face this charge if they are involved in step of the production process of an illegal drug.
Drug trafficking, which is the selling, transportation and importation of illegal substances, is another drug crime type. This is a felony drug crime because it involved the transportation of a large amount of drugs. Finally, drug dealing is a fairly common drug crime. This is when a person sells illegal drugs on a smaller scale.
Those accused of a drug crime should understand that they have rights and options. A criminal defense could help the defendant reduce or even dismiss the charges against them. This could help them avoid the penalties and consequences associated with the original charge.
Source: Findlaw.com, "Types of Drug Crimes," accessed April 9, 2017