Drug Offenses

There is a broad range of drug related offenses and an equally broad range of penalties associated with those offenses.  The severity of the offense and the corresponding penalty for conviction depends on what type of drug is involved, the quantity and what activity an individual is alleged to have been engaged in involving the drug; was the person charged with simply possessing it or were they charged with manufacture or distribution.  In some cases the type, quantity or alleged activity may implicate a mandatory minimum sentence.

Drug Possession

At the lower end of the spectrum “simple possession,” “small amount” and “paraphernalia” charges are certainly not as severe as felony drug manufacturing or delivery charges.  However, a conviction for these misdemeanor offenses may still have a meaningful and lasting impact on your life including an impact on your current and future employment and education. As one example, a conviction for possession of a small amount of marijuana carries with it a mandatory six month license suspension. 

Many individuals charged with drug offenses are often wrestling with addiction and may be better served drug and alcohol treatment in conjunction with their supervision or a treatment based “drug court” program rather than incarceration.

Drug Manufacture, Delivery and Distribution

Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Deliver (PWI), Delivery and Distribution charges can carry substantial fines and penalties including mandatory minimum sentencing.  Distinguished from simple possession, possession with intent requires that the person possess the drugs and that they do so with the specific intent of selling it or delivering it to another person.  The mandatory minimums implicated in these cases may be based on the drug, the weight of the drug, the location of the alleged transaction, the recidivism of the accused person and/or the presence of a weapon. 

Constructive Possession

You do not have to have the drugs on you for the police to charge you with possessing them.  Too often being in the car or the apartment where drugs are found results in people being charged under the theory of constructive possession.  To assert this theory the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that even though you did not have the drugs, weapons or other contraband on your person, you had the intent and power to control those items. 

Search and Seizure

Many drug cases are won or lost during the litigation of suppression motions on search and seizure issues.  Did the police have a legitimate reason to stop the car or was the stop pre-textual?  Was the warrant valid?  Does the affidavit of probable cause stand up?  Was the information received by the police reliable? If there was no warrant what was there legitimate exigent circumstances for the police to have acted without one?  If the actions of the government that led to your arrest violated your constitutional protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, the some or all of the evidence at the heart of the government’s case against you may be suppressed.  The result of such an occurrence is often that the charges are reduced, withdrawn or dismissed altogether. 

Whether you are charged with simple possession or PWI; whether you had the contraband in your pocket or just happened to be in the room or car where drugs were found having an experienced attorney on your side is critical to your ability to defend yourself against the government’s allegations.  I have the knowledge and experience to help you achieve the best possible results. Call 412-238-4050 or click here to schedule a free consultation and we can discuss the specific circumstances of your case.  I offer flexible office hours, including evenings to work around your schedule.  I look forward to meeting you and discussing with you how I can help.