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Page last reviewed and updated: August 3, 2020
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. Unfortunately, drug charges are 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.
Drug possession and drug delivery cases accepted in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County & Scranton/Lackawanna County. FREE CONSULTATIONS (215) 564-0644
Latest Criminal Drug Law Post:
- Pennsylvania (State) Drug Charges, Dog Sniffs & Constitutional Law (October 15, 2020)Federal and Pennsylvania state courts treat narcotics dog searches differently. So different that the same scenario could result in different outcomes in federal versus state court. For example, a Philadelphia resident is pulled over for speeding. During the traffic stop, a narcotics officer arrives on the scene with a drug dog who sniffs the ...
Typically, Philadelphia 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. This is true across all of Pennsylvania, including Chester, Scranton, etc.
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 Nenner Law Firm has 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.). Visit the Philadelphia Criminal Drug Charge Law Library for more legal info.
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 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 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.
Our criminal lawyers routinely handle murder cases and drug and gun cases throughout the southeastern Pennsylvania region including: