Philadelphia Drug Crime Lawyers
The proliferation of drugs throughout all sectors of our society cannot be overstated. From affluent college students to the homeless to suburban housewives, illegal drugs are being used and legal drugs are being abused. Consequently, the punishments for purchasing, manufacturing and trafficking in drugs can vary widely. Philadelphia drug crime lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC understand what it takes to successfully defend a drug charge. Whether you are facing a felony or misdemeanor, jail time or probation, state or federal charges – let us put our experience to work for you.
Section 17: The Path to a Clear Criminal Record
In Pennsylvania, first-time offenders facing low-level drug charges, such as possession, can apply for enrollment in the drug diversion program outlined in Section 17 of the state’s Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device and Cosmetic Act. As a Section 17 participant, a defendant can avoid a misdemeanor conviction outright by pleading guilty to a non-violent drug offense, as long as the defendant can establish that they have a drug dependence or drug addiction. If successful, a Section 17 defendant will receive probation; once complete, all charges will be dismissed and the defendant’s record will be expunged.
Not every defendant stands to benefit from the process and procedures outlined in Section 17. Those who have already been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Pennsylvania, have already been enrolled in the Section 17 program, have been charged of multiple offenses based on separate conduct that could be tried separately, have entered into Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for a different crime, or juveniles who are deemed dangerous are considered Section 17-ineligible. A Philadelphia drug crime lawyer will not only determine Section 17 eligibility, but also facilitate the process of inclusion in the program for suitable candidates.
Type and Quantity of Drug Have Big Consequences
For defendants charged with more serious drug crimes, as well as repeat offenders, the need for qualified counsel is paramount. So-called “Schedule I” drugs, such as heroin, are considered the most addictive and have no accepted medical use. Accordingly, selling and manufacturing Schedule I drugs can carry a lengthy jail sentence, especially if the quantity of the drug in question was substantial. Philadelphia drug crime lawyers note that being arrested with any illegal drug, regardless of its type, in quantities larger than what would be reasonable for personal use will often lead to charges of possession with intent to distribute – a far more serious offense than possession alone.
If you have been charged with a more serious drug crime and are facing jail time, the unique circumstances of your arrest must be reviewed with a Philadelphia drug crime lawyer. Whether a minor acted as the distributor or purchaser of the drugs in question can have a dramatic effect on your sentence. Similarly, selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school carries an enhanced penalty in Pennsylvania in the form of a two-year mandatory minimum sentence. Philadelphia drug crime lawyers note, however, that the State Supreme Court is currently considering Commonwealth v. Hopkins, in which a lower declared mandatory minimums unconstitutional. A decision in the case is expected before the end of 2015 and could bring about huge changes to the penalty structure in drug cases.
Philadelphia Drug Crime Lawyers at Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC Understand the Seriousness of Drug Charges
No matter what drug offense you have been charged with, understand that the charges you now face can be very serious. At Patrick G. Geckle LLC, our Philadelphia drug crime lawyers are well-versed in all relevant state and federal laws applicable to your case. We aggressively defend our clients in courts throughout the area, including Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Montgomery County and Delaware County. Contact us online or call 215-735-3326 or toll-free at 800-555-7780 to schedule your free consultation at our Philadelphia offices today.