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.

People accused of drug sale offenses involving a firearm may be subject to additional state or federal charges. The sentences for these offenses could range from 10 years to 25 years to life, depending on how the firearm was allegedly used in the commission of the illicit activity. The penalties for charges related to drug dealing are typically based on the type of drugs, the amount exchanged and any previous convictions on record.

Many states describe drug sale offense as possession with the intent to distribute. Drug trafficking is a more complicated charge that includes allegations of manufacturing, transportation and selling drugs. The intent to sell or distribute typically qualifies dug distribution activities as felony offenses. Drugs are often divided into penalty groups that are structured according to the weight of the drugs involved in the offense. People accused of selling less than 1 gram of a substance from penalty group 1 may face up to two years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

Criminal defense lawyers may be able to assist people who have been accused of committing offenses involving the sale of drugs. Legal counsel might be prepared investigate the allegations and begin gathering a preponderance of evidence for trial. Even if an acquittal or dismissal is not possible, lawyers may still be able to obtain a favorable plea bargain for the defendant.