Montgomery County Pennsylvania Cocaine Defense Lawyer
The possession, sale and trafficking of cocaine is illegal in Pennsylvania (as it is in all states). PA law treats cocaine as a more serious drug than marijuana by imposing penalties that are more severe and having mandatory minimum sentences that are triggered at lower levels. And yet, cocaine is a very common street drug used and sold in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. It is relatively inexpensive as well as easy to obtain. It is also one of the more common narcotics used socially at bars, clubs, parties and on college and university campuses. Cocaine crimes of any kind in Pennsylvania are very serious and can change your life for years to come.
If you are arrested in the Montgomery County, PA area for possession of cocaine, sale of cocaine or cocaine trafficking it is in your best interest to consult with a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Drug Charge Defense Attorney.
Pennsylvania Cocaine Laws
Cocaine Possession- In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania possession, use and consumption is a misdemeanor. First time offenders may face up to 1 year in jail and or up to a $5,000.00 fine. Subsequent offenses may result in up to 3 years in prison and or up to a $25,000.00 fine.
Sale Of Cocaine- The sale of cocaine is considered a felony in Pennsylvania. You may face up to 15 years in prison and/ or a $250,000.00 fine. The consequences and fines double if you are arrested for a subsequent offense and or you are caught selling to minors.
Cocaine Trafficking- If you are caught trafficking cocaine it is considered a felony. Prison sentences and fines differ depending on the quantity you were caught with.
A skilled and experienced Montgomery County Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney will explain all possible outcomes and sentencing options to you and defend you vigorously in court. Feel free to contact Attorney Erik Petersen for a no cost consultation.
Mandatory Sentencing in PA
Pennsylvania law provides for mandatory sentences in many cases depending on the weight of the drugs involves. If the prosecutor decides to pursue a mandatory sentence, and the defendant is convicted, a judge cannot sentence the defendant below the mandatory amount. There are many people who feel that mandatory sentences are fundamentally unfair because they result in the prosecutors having too much power.
Selling cocaine, or possessing cocaine with the intent to deliver it, is graded as a felony. In many cases, based on the weight of the cocaine involved, possession with intent to deliver can trigger mandatory sentences as follows:
- 2 grams to <10 grams: Mandatory 1 year sentence (for a first offense) or a 3 year sentence (for a second and subsequent offense)
- 10 grams to <100 grams: Mandatory 3 year sentence (first offense) or a 5 year sentence (subsequent offense)
- Over 100 grams: Mandatory 4 year sentence (first offense) or a 7 year sentence (subsequent offense)
Section 17 Probation — Probation Without Verdict
In certain drug possession cases (as opposed to Possession with Intent to Deliver cases) Pennsylvania law allows for what is known as Section 17 probation. Section 17 probation is more formally called “Probation Without Verdict” and can result in the charges being dismissed after which they can be expunged from your record.
A Section 17 Probation sentence requires the defendant to enter a guilty plea after which he or she is placed on probation. If the defendant successfully completes the probation, the court “shall discharge such person and dismiss the proceedings against him.” If the defendant violates the Section 17 probation before the sentence is concluded, the guilty plea conviction automatically stands forever.
The statute requires that a person demonstrate that he or she is “drug dependant” in order to qualify for the program. However in Montgomery County, PA, this “drug dependant” requirement is routinely waived if the defendant is otherwise a worthy candidate for the program.
Former Montgomery County, PA Prosecutor
Back in the 1990s, Attorney Erik Petersen was an Assistant District Attorney in the Major Crimes Unit. In this role, he prosecuted many drug crimes. This experience, along with many years of defending those facing drug charges, have given him a unique perspective on how to prepare an effective defense or negotiate a positive result for anyone charged with a drug crime.
Without question, prosecutors can sense if an attorney does not know what he or she is talking about in discussing a drug case. Prosecutors will be less likely to offer the best possible result if they do not respect the defense attorney they are dealing with.
Call Montgomery County, PA Cocaine Possession Lawyer Erik Petersen to discuss your rights and options.
Let A Montgomery County, PA Drug Crime Defense Lawyer Help You
If you are facing a cocaine charge in Montgomery County, PA — whether it is a possession offense or possession with intent to sell — you should contact an experienced Norristown, PA drug crime defense lawyer. The reality is that with Pennsylvania’s tough mandatory sentencing laws, even a casual or minor player can find himself treated — and sentenced — like a drug dealer.
With so much to lose, such as your freedom, employability and academic status, you should retain an experienced Montgomery County Narcotic Crime Defense Attorney handling all types of charges related to cocaine crimes.