Philly criminal defense lawyers

Drug Charges in Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas


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Super Lawyers (2015, 2016)

Last updated: April 18, 2016

drugs on tableDrug case convictions ruin lives. Families throughout Pennsylvania are often torn apart. Someone who was a breadwinner is suddenly in prison facing a long sentence. Their family members suffer. Children grow up without their parents. Every year, 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 courts.

Typically, Philadelphia state and federal drug charges involve crack cocaine, cocaine powder, heroin, or marijuana. In addition, in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of drug cases for prescription narcotic painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, or Percocet. This is certainly true all across Pennsylvania.

Drug case arrests in the Philadelphia area 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 5-10 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; and
  • police set up a surveillance of a corner in West Philadelphia and watch hand-to-hand transactions.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers – Strategy & Skill

Each situation requires different defense strategies and pre-trial motions to present an aggressive challenge to the case. The criminal defense lawyers at Nenner & Namerow, P.C. have successfully litigated thousands of pre-trial motions, including motions to suppress or motions to reveal the identity of the confidential informant. Our attorneys have been able to get cases dismissed for lack of evidence or a violation of constitutional rights.

In fact, the best defense in a drug case is often to get the evidence thrown out because it was obtained as a result of an illegal stop, search, or seizure (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 drug evidence thrown out of the 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 instance, a Philadelphia resident is in a car with a friend, parked on a street in downtown Philadelphia. 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 drug suppression 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 PA

In Pennsylvania drug cases, 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 criminal lawyer who will consider every opportunity to keep you out of jail and defend your rights from the moment of your arrest.

Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Law Firm – FREE CONSULTATIONS

The attorneys at Nenner & Namerow, P.C. will be there for you every step of the way. We personally handle your case at all stages including the pre-arrest investigation, bail and 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 available to you in defending against the charges.

Firm partner David S. Nenner is recognized as a Top Criminal Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia.

Call us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case: (215) 564-0644.

Locations Served

Our criminal lawyers routinely handle murder cases and drug and gun cases throughout the southeastern Pennsylvania region including:

  • Lackawanna County (Scranton),
  • Luzerne County (Wilkes-Barre),
  • Montgomery County (Norristown),
  • Delaware County (Media, Chester),
  • Bucks County (Doylestown), and
  • Chester County (West Chester).