You may have just intended to bring drugs to a party for your friends to use. However, in Pennsylvania, it is against the law for you to take part in the delivery of a controlled substance such as illegally-obtained prescription drugs.
You don’t have to sell the drug for it to be considered delivery — it just has to be transferred from one person to another. The point of a delivery of a controlled substance charge is not whether or not you sold an illegal substance for money — it is whether the drugs changed hands.
If you are found guilty of delivery of a controlled substance, Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws will kick in. This means that even if there are extenuating circumstances, the judge has to give you to at least the minimum sentence. If you are charged, it is critical that you hire an experienced attorney who is very knowledgeable about drug crimes.
How A Delivery of a Controlled Substance Charge Can Harm You
Delivery of a controlled substance is punished with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year. However, the extent of the penalties for drug offenses in Pennsylvania depends on factors that include the amount and type of drugs involved, whether a weapon was present, your prior criminal record, and other elements.
Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and two years for a third offense.
You will have a criminal record that can negatively impact your ability to get a good job, join the military, obtain certain professional licenses, or be admitted to graduate school. You may also find yourself ineligible for financial aid. If you share custody of your children, a drug conviction could be damaging to your custodial agreement and you might lose some of your rights to see your kids.
What Pennsylvania Law Says About Drugs
The delivery of an adulterated controlled substance (first, second, and subsequent offenses) is considered statutory class M with offense gravity score of 4 and prior record score points m.
The delivery of scheduled drugs are felonies with offense gravity scores ranging 5-13. No matter the weight of the controlled substance, drug delivery is always felony but the penalties depend on the type of drug, the weight or amount of the controlled substance in question, and the defendant’s prior criminal convictions.
Drug delivery resulting in death is an extremely serious offense and it’s classified as Felony 1. It also has an offense gravity score of 13 with 4 prior record score points. A person convicted of drug delivery resulting in death can face up to 40 years in prison.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Charged
If you have been charged with a drug offense, your first step should be to immediately hire a drug crime lawyer.
An experienced attorney will have worked with the prosecutors handling your case many times before. They can draw on their relationships and understanding of the local court system to lessen or dismiss your charges.
Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you.
Your lawyer will go over what happened both before and after your arrest. Importantly, he or she will assess whether there was probable cause to charge you with a crime. This includes determining if you possessed the drugs and if you delivered them.
If you were arrested for delivery of a controlled substance while you were in your car, a critical aspect of your case will be whether or not the police had probable cause to pull you over and do a search. If there was not probable cause, the evidence obtained by law enforcement can be suppressed.