If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Greensburg or Westmoreland County, the best thing you can do is to contact a drug lawyer from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys. Our criminal defense lawyers in Greensburg recognize that drug abuse and dependency are growing problems around Pennsylvania and the U.S. You may be in the midst of one of the hardest experiences of your life. You need an experienced drug attorney who will fight for the best possible outcome, which may focus on you receiving treatment rather than a harsh punishment.
Also, it may be that you are wrongly accused of a drug crime. We have represented many nearby Greensburg residents who are charged with drug possession or trafficking based on minimal, circumstantial evidence or because a friend or family member became involved with drugs. In any drug case, it is essential you work with an experienced and aggressive drug lawyer who will strive to protect you and assert your rights.
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Types of Drug Crimes
You can be charged with one or several drug-related crimes depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the facts of your case. Some of the most common kinds of drug offenses our drug defense lawyers handle include:
- Drug Possession: It is unlawful under 35 Pa. Code §780-113(a)(1) to manufacture, sell, deliver, hold, offer for sale, or possess any controlled substance or other drug, device, or cosmetic that has been misbranded or adulterated. The specific charge and sentence you face depend on the type and amount of drug in your possession. Schedule I and II drugs are considered the most serious and can lead to harsh mandatory minimum sentences.
- Drug Trafficking: Drug trafficking can involve a wide range of conduct, from manufacturing and packaging drugs for distribution, hiding or transporting drugs, importing or exporting drugs, and distributing or selling drugs to others. Depending on the evidence, you may face charges for drug possession or possession with the intent to sell. You also can face serious charges for drug trafficking under 18 Pa. Code §7508. In some cases, drug trafficking is a misdemeanor. However, more often, it is a felony and comes with harsh minimums.
- Drug Paraphernalia: Not only is possessing drugs illegal, but so is possessing paraphernalia that can be used to plant, cultivate, manufacture, convert, process, prepare, package, store, conceal, or imbibe drugs. You can be charged with a crime for possessing drug paraphernalia, delivering or possessing with the intent to deliver paraphernalia, or advertising or promoting the sale of paraphernalia under 35 Pa. Code §780-113(a)(32)-(34).
- Drug Conspiracy: Based on 18 Pa. Code §903, you can be charged with conspiracy if you and at least one other person, with the intent to promote or facilitate the crime, agree to engage in a crime or agree to help someone in the planning or commission of an offense. If prosecutors have evidence you and another person or group of people planned to manufacture, possess, transport, or sell drugs, you will be charged with criminal conspiracy.
If you are accused of drug possession, manufacturing, selling, trafficking, conspiracy or any other drug-related crime, do not hesitate to call our lawyers for drug charges. We are here to thoroughly review the charges against you and determine the strongest defense.
Greensburg Marijuana Crimes
Many calls we receive are about marijuana crimes, such as marijuana possession, cultivation, and distribution. You may not think a little cannabis is a big deal. However, marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania, other than if you are lawfully allowed to purchase and privately use medical marijuana. Without lawfully being involved in the medical marijuana industry, any conduct involving marijuana can lead to criminal charges.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under Pennsylvania law. Under 35 Pa. Code §780-113(a)(31), if you possess a small amount of marijuana, which means less than 30 grams that is not intended for sale, you will face a misdemeanor offense.
You may also face charges for:
- Cultivation of marijuana, if you are found growing marijuana plants for use or sale;
- Distribution of marijuana for larger quantities of the drugs; or
- Marijuana trafficking, if you transported, concealed, or distributed a large quantity of the drug.
Many marijuana charges are misdemeanors. However, there are circumstances in which you can be charged with a serious felony. In either case, you may face harsh mandatory sentences for drug crimes.
Greensburg Cocaine Charges
If you are arrested for manufacturing, possessing, distributing, selling, or trafficking cocaine, you will face cocaine charges and should contact our drug attorneys as soon as possible. Cocaine is a Schedule II under Pennsylvania law. If you are found in possession of a small amount, you face a misdemeanor charge. However, if you allegedly possess a large amount, and the prosecutor believes they can prove manufacturing, delivery, or possessing with the intent to deliver, then you can be charged with a felony.
Greensburg Heroin Charges
Heroin is a Schedule I drug in Pennsylvania, and you can face misdemeanor or felony charges if you are in possession, possess with intent to deliver, manufacture, sell, or traffic in heroin. If you are facing heroin charges, call a drug attorney at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys as soon as possible.
Additionally, if you are found in possession of large quantities of narcotics, or if there is any evidence the illegal activity crossed state lines, then you are more likely to face federal drug charges.
Other Possible Greensburg Drug Charges
Our drug lawyers are also prepared to defend you if you have been accused of:
- Possession of Schedule I and II Drugs
- Possession of Schedule III or IV Drugs
- Possession of Schedule V Drugs
- Possession of Steroids
- Possession of MDMA, Methamphetamines, or Ecstasy
- Possession or Sale of Legal Precursor Chemicals
- Misbranding Controlled Substances
- Acquiring Controlled Substances by Fraud
- Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
Minimum Sentences for Greensburg Drug Crimes
Determining the potential punishment for a drug crime can be difficult. You need to understand the exact statute you are accused of violating, the level of that violation, and the possible maximum and minimum sentence upon conviction. All of this typically depends on:
- The conduct you are accused of, such as possession versus manufacturing drugs;
- The type of drug(s) involved, such as whether it is a Schedule I or IV drug;
- The amount of the drug(s) involved and whether it is a small quantity for personal use or a large quantity; and
- Your criminal history.
Drug charges are either misdemeanors or felonies; however, the punishments vary greatly for both levels.
You may be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine up to $5,000. You also can be charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by imprisonment up to three years and fines reaching $5,000. For other drug misdemeanor charges, you may face imprisonment up to six months and fines up to $10,000.
For certain drug felonies, you can be imprisoned for up to 15 years and fines up to $250,000; up to 10 years and fines reaching $100,000; up to five years and fines up to $15,000; or a maximum of three years and a $10,000 fine. As you can see, the potential penalties for a felony drug crime vary greatly, which is why it is essential you speak with a drug lawyer about the specific charges against you and the punishment you face.
Possible Collateral Consequences of a Drug Conviction in Greensburg
If you are convicted of a drug offense in Greensburg, you may experience several statutory punishments such as incarceration, probation, fines, restitution, community service, and drug treatment and counseling. Unfortunately, after you complete these penalties and pay your debt to society, you will likely experience several secondary consequences. Having a permanent criminal record, particularly one with a drug offense, can lead to:
- Challenges getting into college or graduate school
- Ineligibility for federal financial aid
- Difficulty obtaining private scholarships and grants
- Ineligibility for or difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses
- Difficulty obtaining and keeping a job
- Challenges being approved for rental housing
- Ineligibility for housing assistance
- Immigration issues
- Loss or reduction in child custody and visitation
- Loss of voting rights during incarceration, parole, and probation
- Loss of right to own firearms
- Challenges traveling internationally
Statute of Limitations on Drug Crimes
There are time limitations on most types of criminal charges. For most Pennsylvania misdemeanors, prosecutors typically have two years to file the charges. After two years, the court will no longer hear the case. For most serious felonies, prosecutors have five years to file the charges.
However, there are several situations that provide prosecutors more time. When the statute of limitations is extended, or when the clock is “paused,” this is known as tolling. The statute of limitations for a drug crime can toll while there is prosecution bending, when you are absent from the state, and when you are a fugitive.
If you believe it has been too long for the prosecutors to charge you with a drug crime, call our drug lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys as soon as possible. If we find, after analyzing your case, that the statute of limitations has passed, then we will fight for the prosecutor to drop the charges or for the judge to dismiss them.
Possible Greensburg Drug Crime Defenses
When you are facing drug charges in Greensburg or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, there are several defenses that may benefit your case. The defense strategy that is most appropriate for you depends entirely on the evidence. Our drug lawyers will carefully analyze your situation to determine which defense may be most effective in gaining an acquittal or mitigate the consequences of a conviction.
Potential drug crime defenses include:
- You lacked possession of the drug(s)—they belonged to someone else.
- You lacked the necessary intent to commit the offense.
- You have been falsely accused by an informant or witness.
- There has been a mistake of identity, and someone else committed the crime.
- You did not possess the type or amount of drug you are accused of.
- Evidence was obtained through an illegal search and seizure.
- The police conducted an unlawful traffic stop.
- The alleged drugs cannot be found.
- You were the victim of entrapment.
- The police planted evidence.
- You lawfully purchased and used medical marijuana.
Contact a Greensburg Drug Lawyer for Help Today
When you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a drug offense in nearby Greensburg, we recommend calling us at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys. Our legal team is highly experienced in defending against all types of drug crimes, from marijuana possession to trafficking cocaine and heroin. We are here to aggressively defend you in court and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.