Crack Cocaine Possession in Philadelphia
A crack cocaine possession charge in Philadelphia can be upsetting and overwhelming, leaving you worried about your future, reputation, job, and family. However, a possession of illegal drugs charge doesn’t always lead to a criminal conviction. Not every individual found to be in possession of narcotics receives a felony drug charge conviction, especially those that hire the right Philadelphia criminal defense attorney to protect their interests.
Types of Crack Cocaine Possession Charges
Two different types of crack cocaine possession charges exist:
- For personal use, known as “simple possession”
- For the purpose of selling or distributing the cocaine, known as “possession with intent to deliver” or PWID
The key difference between simple possession and possession with the intent to deliver cocaine in Pennsylvania often comes down to two factors:
- How much cocaine was found by weight
- The packaging of the cocaine
The specific circumstances and details will also make the distinction between the two charges. Those found in possession of smaller amounts of crack cocaine usually receive a personal use possession charge. Individuals with larger quantities of this drug packaged separately will bring a charge for PWID.
Penalties for Felony and Misdemeanor Cocaine Possession in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s penalties for cocaine possession also rely on numerous factors, such as:
- If the charges are state or federal: Most cocaine charges are prosecuted at the state level. However, if the cocaine allegedly crosses state lines, it becomes a serious federal offense. For example, someone found in possession in Philadelphia would likely face state charges. In contrast, someone who travels from Pennsylvania to New Jersey would face federal charges.
- How much cocaine law enforcement found and what the charges are: PWID is usually charged when the allegations are more severe than simple possession. Since this usually means that a significant quantity of cocaine was present, there was a greater potential for harm to others.
- The defendant’s criminal past: Past convictions of cocaine possession or related drug offenses in the defendant’s criminal history will probably lead to harsher sentencing than the sentencing for their first-offense cocaine possession
It’s crucial that defendants facing crack cocaine possession charges understand that possible penalties for a felony are harsher and more severe than the potential penalties for a misdemeanor. Simple possession of cocaine typically leads to misdemeanor charges, but a PWID will result in felony charges. No matter what type of charge you are facing, you want a knowledgeable Philadelphia criminal defense attorney representing your case. If you don’t hire one, you could be looking at the maximum penalties for your cocaine charges.
A conviction for misdemeanor possession of cocaine in Pennsylvania could result in:
First Offense Misdemeanor Cocaine Possession
- Up to one year in jail
- Fines of up to $5,000
- A mandatory six-month license suspension
Second Offense Misdemeanor Cocaine Possession
- As many as three years in prison
- Fines of up to $25,000
- A mandatory one-year license suspension
Third Offense Misdemeanor Cocaine Possession
- A sentence of up to three years in prison
- Fines as much as $25,000
- A mandatory two-year license suspension
Pennsylvania’s penalties for felony possession of cocaine vary depending on based on the amount of cocaine involved in the charge. The maximum prison sentence for conviction of a first-offense felony cocaine possession charge, or subsequent offenses, is 15 years. Upon conviction, the court can impose a criminal fine as high as $250,000. Additionally, a conviction of this magnitude will result in the suspension of the individual’s driver’s license for at least six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and 18 months for a third offense.
The more serious the charges are, the more you need help from a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer who is well-versed in both federal and Pennsylvania law and courts. Their knowledge and experience can result in your charges being reduced or even dropped.
Possible Defenses for Pennsylvania Cocaine Possession Charges
Your Philadelphia criminal defense attorney will thoroughly review all aspects of your case to determine which defenses will benefit you the most:
- Lack of probable cause— under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you have the right to lawful search and seizure. If a law enforcement officer searches your property without a warrant, probable cause, or your permission, be sure to tell your Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer.
- Drugs that don’t belong to you—perhaps someone came to your house or rode in your car and brought the drugs with them or left them. The cocaine is not yours, and you had no knowledge of it. If this is the case, your attorney will work to prove this defense.
- Planted drugs and entrapment— Entrapment occurs when an officer or a law enforcement informant causes an individual to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed on their own. As ruled in the 1992 case of Jacobson v. the United States, “Government agents may not originate a criminal design.” However, this defense requires a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer who knows how to demonstrate that government agents set you up by inducing you to commit this crime.
At Wimmer Criminal Defense, our legal team’s capacity to detect weaknesses in the government’s case related to their lack of evidence, illegal police measures, or mishandling of evidence is unmatched. We utilize these factors when fighting the charges or obtaining a fair plea deal in your case.
Turn to a Skilled Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney for Help
Don’t face the potential of embarrassing and devastating consequences that a Pennsylvania cocaine possession charge can bring. Your Philadelphia criminal defense attorney at Wimmer Criminal Defense can advise you as to whether it is worth fighting a charge or if negotiating a plea deal might be the best choice in your specific circumstances. Either way, we strive for the best outcome possible.
For a free, completely confidential legal consultation with a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer, call our office and speak to attorney Lauren Wimmer at 215-712-1212 or use our online contact form.