In addition to criminal matters in New Jersey, our law firm defends actions within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, specifically Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester Counties. Many of these cases involve possession and/or the possession with the intent to deliver or distribute controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, PCP, and methamphetamines.
Felony Vs. Misdemeanor Offense
As I have written in previous articles, there is a substantial difference between possession with the intent to deliver (PWID) and simple possession. The former charge is a felony and in addition to a possible state prison sentence, a convicted individual faces a life-long stigma associated with being a convicted felon. While a misdemeanor offense is still a criminal charge, it is a misdemeanor which is far less serious!
In addition, neither a misdemeanor nor a felony drug offense can be expunged from a person’s criminal record but an ungraded misdemeanor, simple possession drug charge, is eligible under Pennsylvania’s new records sealing law. This means that a conviction for this type of offense will not appear on most background checks and will only be limited to certain government agencies and licensing boards.
Expert Testimony In Pennsylvania Drug Prosecutions
If you are charged with PWID the prosecution must have either observed transactions or introduce an expert witness who can testify with regards to the element of intent to deliver or distribute. Without an expert the prosecution will be unable to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of this felony offense. This is a very important point that your criminal defense lawyer must understand! Many criminal cases in the Commonwealth do not involve any observed drug sales and the prosecution can’t simply use a large amount of drug evidence meet its burden of proof. Specifically, this prosecution drug expert must testify that based on his or her experience and training, the amount of drugs, combined with other evidence allowed him or her to form the opinion that the defendant intended to sell or distribute the controlled substance.
Mandatory Driver License Suspension Pennsylvania Drug Crimes
If you are charged with a drug crime in Pennsylvania remember that even a misdemeanor conviction for simple possession will result in a 6 month driver license suspension. Check out my article on this topic for more information to understand how a lawyer should approach this type of charge