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    Can My Son Be Charged with PWID After a Traffic Stop in Philadelphia?

    FAQ: My son was stopped by the police after he went through a stop sign in Philadelphia.  He was driving his friend’s car. He was charged with selling drugs after heroin and cocaine were found in the car.  It was a traffic stop.  How can he be charged with selling drugs? It wasn’t even his car.  My son is not perfect, but I know he does not sell drugs.  What can we do?

    Answer: Per Pennsylvania drug laws, a person does not have to be caught in the act of selling drugs to be charged with the crime.  Your son is being charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID) drugs, which occurs when an individual possesses illegal drugs and intends to sell them.  It is a serious offense.

    Related: Simple Possession of Drugs in Philadelphia

    Even though the police stopped your son for a traffic violation, the law allows police to search the vehicle if the officer has probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed.  For instance, if after stopping your son, the officer smelled drugs like marijuana, he then had probable cause to search the vehicle.  If the search yielded a large amount of drugs, such as small plastic bags, a scale, etc., your son would have been arrested and charged with PWID.

    It is best that we talk about your son’s PWID charge so we know all of the facts and circumstances in order to help your son.  Depending on the situation, there may be an argument that the search of the car was illegal.  Therefore, the drugs found in the car your son was driving are not admissible.  If the drugs are not admissible, then the prosecution has no case.

    Even if the search was legal, there are other defenses.  In order for you son to be convicted of PWID, the prosecution must prove the following:

    • the drugs found are controlled substances,
    • your son possessed the drugs,
    • your son knew or was aware of the item and knew that it was a controlled substance, and
    • your son possessed the drugs with the specific intent to deliver the item to another person.

    Proving the fourth element depends on the facts.  In your son’s case, because he was driving his friend’s car, there may be an argument that he did not know that the drugs were in the car.  Thus, he had no intention of delivering or selling the drugs because he didn’t even know they were in the car.

    Feel free to schedule an appointment with our office located in Philadelphia.  We offer FREE initial consultations for criminal cases in Philadelphia.  215.564.0644

    David S. Nenner

    "Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer"
    (2015-2022)

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