Drug Crimes Attorneys in Philadelphia
Fighting Drug Charges in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Lackawanna & Luzerne Counties and throughout Pennsylvania
In Philadelphia, drug possession and drug dealing charges are the most common types of criminal cases. Unfortunately, the penalties are quite harsh, especially for those who have prior criminal records. Drug charges are often filed against people of color in Philadelphia. In fact, thousands of people are arrested in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties for drug-related charges, including drug possession and possession with the intent to deliver (drug dealing). This includes both state and federal court cases.
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Typically, state or federal drug charges involve crack cocaine, cocaine powder, heroin, or marijuana. In recent years, there’s been a huge increase in the number of drug cases for prescription narcotic painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, or Percocet.
Drug case arrests often include related gun charges. In many Pennsylvania state drug cases, a conviction for a drug crime committed with a handgun may result in a mandatory minimum five-to-10-year prison sentence. However, there have been major changes in the legality of these mandatory minimum prison sentences. In federal criminal drug cases, the sentences are much harsher, especially when a drug case involves the death of another individual.
Drug Dealing Charges in Philadelphia
Though every case is unique, drug-dealing charges in Philadelphia can arise under a number of circumstances, including:
- A car stop in downtown Philadelphia where the police don’t see anyone selling drugs, but officers recover a large quantity of drugs that they believe is consistent with drug dealing.
- Police serve an arrest or search warrant on a house in the Philadelphia suburbs and find large amounts of drugs, money, and/or drug paraphernalia.
- Police use a confidential informant or an undercover officer to buy drugs from a house in North Philadelphia or on the street.
- Police set up surveillance of a corner in West Philadelphia and watch hand-to-hand transactions.
Constitutional Law Issues — Getting Evidence Thrown Out
Each situation requires different defense strategies and pre-trial motions to present an aggressive challenge to the case. The Nenner Law Firm has successfully litigated thousands of pre-trial motions, including motions to suppress critical evidence or motions to reveal the identity of the confidential informant. The Nenner Law Firm has been able to get cases dismissed for lack of evidence or a violation of constitutional rights.
The best strategy in a drug case is to get the evidence thrown out because it was seized during an illegal stop and search (i.e., a motion to suppress the illegally obtained drugs, weapons, etc.). Therefore, suppression issues must be investigated thoroughly. It takes a great deal of experience and trial skill to win a suppression hearing and get evidence thrown out of a case. Police officers who testify at suppression hearings must be cross-examined effectively. Inconsistencies and factual errors must be shown to the trial judge. In many suppression hearings, it is often necessary to present a witness or other evidence.
For example, a Philadelphia resident is in a car with a friend, parked on a street downtown. They are parked lawfully. A police car pulls up alongside the parked car, and the officer rolls his window down. The officer gets out of his vehicle and searches the car, finding a large quantity of marijuana. The driver is arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver. In the police report, the arresting police officer indicates that he noticed a strong odor of burning marijuana when he rolled his window down. However, an eyewitness comes forward and is willing to testify that they did not smell marijuana and had been standing just a foot away for several minutes before and during the incident. So long as the eyewitness is credible, the chances of suppression would be good. The key in this particular scenario is exposing any holes in the police officer’s testimony and presenting a credible witness to rebut the officer’s version of events.
Drug Sentencing Laws in Pennsylvania
Federal and state mandatory sentencing laws (which are based on the weight of the drugs) often result in stiff prison sentences, not county jail terms. In Philadelphia, even if you face a first drug offense, a conviction for possession with the intent to deliver (PWID) may result in a prison sentence in a state correctional institute.
With your freedom at stake, it’s important to have a lawyer who will consider every opportunity to keep you out of jail and defend your rights from the moment of your arrest.
The Nenner Law Firm will be there for you every step of the way. We personally handle your case at all stages, including the pre-arrest investigation, bail or Nebbia hearing, preliminary hearing, trial, and even appeal/PCRA (should it be necessary).
Having a lawyer who will fight for you from the day of your arrest is vital. For that reason, we offer a free initial consultation, where we will sit down with you or your family and explain the different options.
Call (215) 515-0042 to discuss your case.
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