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Mandatory Minimum for Possession of Guns and Drugs

Any person who is convicted of a violation of "The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act," when at the time of the offense:

o   the person is in physical possession or control of a firearm, whether visible, concealed about the person

o   the firearm is within the actor's reach

o   or the firearm is in close proximity to the controlled substance,

shall likewise be sentenced to a minimum sentence of at least five years of total confinement.   Therefore, in order for this statute to apply the Commonwealth must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, both that the defendant possessed a firearm and he did so within the close proximity to narcotics. 

Pennsylvania Courts have extended the phrase "close proximity" to include drugs found in one room of a house and guns found in a completely separate room on a separate floor of the same house.  Therefore, if a person is found to violate the controlled substance act and a firearm is located anywhere within the same residence, the person could be subject to the mandatory minimum of five years incarceration.

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