Make no mistake about it; drug charges have quite serious ramifications for the accused. There are statutory punishments that can derail the accused’s future and put a deep stigma on their reputation. Being convicted of a drug crime may result in prison time, probation, fines, and a permanent criminal record that can prevent you from getting the job you want or attending school with federal aid. However, you have the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven in your case. A seasoned attorney can help you fight your Westmoreland County drug charges and lessen the impact of potential penalties you are facing. In the aftermath of a drug conviction, you may find yourself up against other issues, such as:
- Child visitation and custody issues
- Immigration problems, even deportation
- Problems getting housing or rental assistance
- Difficulty getting into college or grad school
- Problems getting certain professional licenses
- Voting rights loss
- Gun ownership rights loss
Charges of drug possession, manufacture, or trafficking are always serious. But you can fight back against the penalties incurred with an aggressive defense. A skilled drug crime lawyer who has courtroom experience is your biggest asset as you face the uncertain days that lie ahead.
Drug charges related to controlled substances are among the most common. Possession of drugs such as marijuana, heroin, MDMA or LSD, or narcotics such as methadone, OxyContin, Adderall, Xanax, Darvocet or anabolic steroids results in both misdemeanor and more serious felony charges. Some other common Westmoreland County drug charges that can land you in hot water with the authorities include:
- Drug conspiracy
- Importing or smuggling drugs
- Possessing or selling precursor chemicals
- Possession with intent to deliver drugs
- Delivery of controlled substance
- Misbranding controlled substance
- Fraud in acquiring a controlled substance
Depending on the gravity and nature of the drug charge, you may be charged with anywhere from a first- to third-degree misdemeanor, with penalties ranging from one to five years in jail and $2,000 to $10,000 in fines—or a first- to third-degree felony, punishable by seven to 20 years in prison and fines of $15,000 to $25,000. The gravity of the crime is an indicator of its seriousness, a factor taken into consideration along with your previous criminal record and any convictions. Judges in Pennsylvania have what is known as a sentencing matrix that they use to determine your actual punishment parameters, which may land your sentence at a sentence length that is anywhere between the minimum and maximum on the spectrum for that particular offense.
Because the penalties for drug crimes in Pennsylvania is so complex, speaking with a Westmoreland County drug crimes attorney as soon as possible after being charged with a crime is imperative. A trusted and an experienced criminal defense attorney can explain the nuances of the law, including possible punishments and outcomes for your case, and help you determine if you may be a candidate for the state’s drug diversion initiative.