When a person is charged with a drug trafficking offense there are a number of vital questions that must be addressed, specifically: what drug is the person being charged with selling; what is the weight of the controlled substance; and does the person have a prior conviction for drug trafficking.  The reason these questions are important is because, based on the answers, the person could be looking at mandatory minimum sentences.

For example, in cases where the person is being charged with PWID for heroin, the law imposes various mandatory minimum sentences:

Two years in prison: if the weight is at least 1.0 gram but less than 5.0 grams.  

Three years in prison: If the same weight is present and the person has a prior conviction for a drug trafficking offense.

Three years in prison: if the weight is at least 5.0 grams but less than 50 grams.

Five years in prison: If the same weight is present and the person has a prior conviction for a drug trafficking offense.

Five years in prison: If the weight is at least 50 grams or greater.

Seven years in prison: If the same weight is present and the person has a prior conviction for a drug trafficking offense.

After a recent United States Supreme Court case, the attorney for the Commonwealth must now prove any fact that would impose a mandatory minimum sentence beyond a reasonable doubt.  It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling PWID cases because of their complex nature.