Pennsylvania residents may be interested in learning more about the charges that may be filed against people accused of dealing or selling drugs. State laws typically govern the charges levied against people accused of drug offense within the local jurisdiction. When the drug allegations involve a military base, the nation's capital, multiple states or crossing international borders, federal statutes may be filed against the accused. Although general parameters do exist, each state operates according to its own unique set of laws.
Most Pennsylvania residents have heard the term probable cause, but they may not know exactly what it means. Probable cause means that the authorities must have a reason to take a person into custody, search a person's property or seize certain property that may be associated with a crime. Additionally, prosecutors must also have probable cause before a person can be charged with a crime.
Many of the state drug laws on the books today harken back to the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which established schedules for drugs based on abuse potential and perceived medical benefit as well as the doctrine of criminal forfeiture. This doctrine allows for the seizure of property involved in crimes to include drug crimes. The CDAPCA also gives authorities the ability to prosecute users and manufacturers for drugs that are not themselves illegal but behave in the human body the same way as illicit drugs.