In State College and throughout Pennsylvania, the drug problem is a growing concern for legislators and law enforcement. To try and reduce the frequency of people buying and using drugs, there are frequent traffic stops and investigations of those believed to be involved in drug offenses. That, however, does not automatically mean people who are placed under arrest for drug violations are guilty. The circumstances will inevitably differ in these cases and those charged should make certain they have a legal defense that can do whatever is necessary to combat the allegations and avoid the most serious consequences.
According to a recent report, a 21-year-old civil engineering student at Penn State was arrested for marijuana possession and sales at his apartment. He is facing felony charges for possession with intent to deliver and criminal use of a communication facility, as well as multiple misdemeanors.
Over the past couple of decades, thousands of people nationwide have been arrested and sentenced to jail time for marijuana possession. According to current Pennsylvania state law, possession of even a small amount of marijuana, less than 30 grams, is considered a misdemeanor, which could result in a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
Say you are driving your vehicle in Pennsylvania and a police officer stops you for a standard traffic violation, such as failing to signal or speeding. The officer conducts a search of your vehicle, finds drugs in the trunk and arrests you. You are now facing drug charges. Was the officer legally allowed to search for drugs in your car? The answer is: it depends.
According to a recent report, Pennsylvania detectives were reportedly conducting surveillance in a shopping plaza and arrested a man for drug possession. The detectives say that a vehicle parked in front of their unmarked police car and then a man got into the passenger seat of the car and sniffed heroin out of purple wax paper. The men got out of the vehicle when they saw the detectives' car, the detectives called for patrol officers and authorities detained the driver, who reportedly agreed to let them search his car.
If you are charged with possession of an illegal substance, you may be concerned about what the future holds. Criminal defense attorneys help defend against drug charges. The defense strategy used in your case will depend on the facts surrounding your arrest, your criminal history and the quantity and type of substance allegedly in your possession.
Generally, possession of an illegal substance with the intent to distribute is a serious crime and often results in more serious consequences than drug possession for personal use. However, in Pennsylvania, you can also be charged with drug delivery resulting in death, which is perhaps the most serious drug charge of all. Drug delivery resulting in death can result in a sentence of up to 40 years in prison and is classified as a felony.
As most folks know, possession of a controlled substance - methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin or a synthetic like oxycontin or marijuana without a prescription, for example - is illegal. But what if a friend, relative or acquaintance leaves narcotics in someone else's car or room, and they somehow find their way into the hands of law enforcement? Could the unsuspecting non-owner face drug charges? Like it or not, it is possible that such a scenario could result in the person being charged with a crime.
With the state's recent legalization of medical marijuana, Pennsylvania is now in the final phases of implementing the law. And medical marijuana dispensaries have been popping up across the Keystone State, including the first to open in the State College area. Although medical marijuana may be perfectly legal in Pennsylvania - with a prescription and a patient card - patients must still use caution to avoid drug charges, DUI and other potential pitfalls.
Sometimes, especially where criminal charges are concerned, one thing can lead to another and a person can find themselves bogged down in a legal quagmire. This can be especially true if a person was careless or indiscreet, essentially inviting drug charges that were filed against them. When an officer stops someone, they must have reasonable suspicion to do so. In order to search or enter a home, an officer needs a warrant, or in the absence of a warrant, articulable probable cause. Officers don't need any of these things, however, if they are invited into a home.