Possession of Marijuana/CS
According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, there were 1,508,500 offenses for drug possession in a recent report. There are approximately a million or more people arrested per year for possession now than there were just ten years ago. Law enforcement around the country is taking a zero tolerance attitude towards any form of drug offense.
A drug possession describes the act of merely having drugs on your person or your property. Drug possession can be tried on a state or federal level. Here, drugs are defined as any illegal controlled substance. Drugs that can bring about this charge are drugs like heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, LSD, and other illegal drugs. This does not include prescription drugs, even those that are not prescribed to you. The majority of drug possession charges stem from possession of marijuana.
Drug cases frequently involve the question of whether the evidence was properly obtained by law enforcement. Evidence obtained in violation of an accused's constitutional rights is not admissible in court. Most challenges to the admissibility of evidence are based in the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens
from unreasonable searches and seizures.
If the drug possession charge is brought because of a very small amount of a drug, it might be ruled as "simple" possession by the court and may carry only smaller penalties. However, large amounts of drugs will usually bring a charge of possession with intent to distribute, meaning it is believed that the drugs were going to be sold. This carries much stiffer penalties, including fines, drug court, short or long term jail time, and extended probation.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will automatically suspend driver's license privileges for anyone convicted on a possession crime for six months. Persons facing this type of license suspension are not eligible for an occupational limited license.
Drug courts operate or are being planned in all 50 states. These specialized courts emphasize treatment as opposed to incarceration for individuals with substance abuse issues. Compliance with drug court terms and conditions, including regular drug tests, participation in treatment programs, etc., can result in dismissal of charges or suspended or reduced sentences.
However, when drug court is not appropriate and/or incarceration is involved, potential penalties escalate depending on the nature and quantity of the drug at issue and the defendant's prior criminal record. Certain offenses are grouped into classes and minimum and maximum sentences for these classes are specified according to the accused individual's criminal history. Use of these sentencing guidelines in federal and state court have long been controversial; proponents maintain that guidelines ensure uniformity and fairness in punishment, while opponents argue that they fail to offer the flexibility needed to consider a defendant's unique circumstances.
Therefore, drug charges can have severe consequences. Consulting with an experienced attorney for advice on how to proceed is essential. Should you find yourself facing drug charges, contact the Law Office of Alan Michael Ross in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to receive help navigating through the issues involved in this complex area of law.