Pennsylvania residents who are accused of drug crimes need to consider the consequences of conviction before planning their criminal defenses. The potential consequences and the severity of punishments associated with the crimes will dictate the level of risk they are willing to endure in defending themselves against their crimes.

The primary elements that dictate the level of punishment associated with a drug crime are: 1) the type of drug involved; 2) the amount of drug involves; and 3) the type of drug violation. Different types of drugs that are illegal in Pennsylvania are methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, pharmaceutical drugs and more. As for the types of drug violations, those include: possession, sale, trafficking, manufacturing and others.

Those accused of drug crimes will need to decide if they want to defend themselves against the charges or plead guilty to certain charges in an effort to receive a plea bargain deal that gives them a less severe punishment. If a not guilty plea is entered, defendants might use various defense approaches relating to: lack of knowledge, lack of intent, insufficient amount of drugs, proof of prescription, license to carry the drug, the drugs were not the defendant’s, entrapment and unlawful search/seizure.

Pennsylvania residents can count on one fact as they enter their criminal defense proceeding: All defendants will be seen as innocent before the eyes of the court until — and only if — they are proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proving guilt will be placed on the prosecution and this may be difficult for the prosecution to achieve in some cases. Ultimately, though, by consulting with an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer, accused individuals can gain insight on the most appropriate strategy to pursue in their unique cases.

Source: FindLaw, “Pennsylvania Drug Possession Laws,” accessed June 03, 2016