In Pennsylvania, the delivery, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacture of a drug is a felony offense. It doesn't matter if the person charged is a first-time offender giving a few grams of marijuana to a friend or is a drug kingpin selling tons of heroin to elementary school kids.
In both situations, the person would be charged with delivery of a controlled substance, a felony offense. The type and quantity of drug involved does impact the criminal sentence that could be imposed if a person is convicted, but those factors do not change the grading of the delivery or possession with intent to deliver charge from a felony offense.
Felony Drug Charges Carry Severe Penalties
A felony drug charge involving even a few grams of marijuana has a recommended sentence that includes the possibility of jail time, so even the least severe felony drug charge could result in a sentence that included a period of incarceration. Aside from the penalties directly imposed by the court, a felony drug conviction would result in additional penalties that defense attorneys call collateral consequences, such as the:
- Loss of financial aid for students
- Suspension of driving privileges
- Loss of gun rights
- Impacts on immigration status
- Inability to obtain security clearances
- General impairment on one's ability to obtain a job
Possible Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Felony Drug Charges
Aside from the generally severe penalties for a conviction of a felony drug charge, it is also important to emphasize that various mandatory minimum sentences are also associated with such charges and must be considered. Most mandatory minimum sentences are based upon who received the drug, where the alleged delivery or possession with intent to deliver occurred, or if a larger quantity of drugs was involved.
Fortunately for Pennsylvania residents, the mandatory minimum sentences associated with felony drug offenses have been held to be unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but the Pennsylvania legislature is considering amendments to those laws that would allow them to be used again by prosecutors.
Need An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney? Call Now.
Given the severe consequences associated with felony drug charges, it is extremely important that you retain an experienced drug defense attorney. State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle has successfully represented clients in the various stages of drug possession cases, including precharge, preliminary hearing, pretrial, trial, and appeal. He will take an informed and calculated approach to evaluate your case, build your defense and achieve the best possible outcome on your behalf.
Please review the Drug Distribution Question and Answer page for additional information about felony drug charges and related issues. You can also contact JD Law, P.C., for a free consultation with an experienced Centre County drug defense attorney by calling 814-954-1094 or by email.