Drug crimes in Pennsylvania can lead to serious consequences if people are convicted. When drug charges include allegations of distribution and sales, the penalties can be even more severe. People who are charged with drug distribution or trafficking offenses may be prosecuted under state or federal law. The penalties and level of the offenses will depend on the types of drugs and their amounts.

The penalties for drug offenses vary based on whether a person is charged under state or federal law and the type and amount of drugs that the person is accused of distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute. Drug possession offenses without the intent to distribute or sell the drugs normally carry penalties that are much less severe.

In Pennsylvania, possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances is normally charged as a felony. People may be charged with this offense when they possess a large enough quantity of an illegal drug that leads the police to believe that they intended to sell it. Federal charges may be possible when the defendant crossed state lines to distribute drugs or transported illegal drugs across state lines to sell them in Pennsylvania.

People who are accused of possessing drugs with the intent to sell them in Pennsylvania may want to retain experienced drug defense lawyers as early as possible. Experienced attorneys might review the evidence against their clients to identify potential defenses that could be raised. For example, if there is insufficient evidence that the person intended to sell the drugs, a lawyer may challenge the basis for the distribution charge. Attorneys may also file motions to suppress evidence that was gathered as a result of an unlawful search or seizure. By building a strong case, a lawyer might help a client secure a more favorable resolution of the charges.