Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Pennsylvania Drug Delivery Charges

In Pennsylvania, section 780-113(a)(30) of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act, prohibits a person from delivering, possessing with the intent to deliver, or manufacturing any controlled substance or counterfeit substance unless licensed by the state.

A violation of section 780-113(a)(30) is a felony offense and carries serious criminal penalties that could include jail time and hefty fines. A conviction can also result in the imposition of collateral consequences, such as license suspensions, criminal records, and a mandatory-minimum-sentence lifetime prohibition of the possession of firearms.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Offenses

These felony drug charges also sometimes invoke severe mandatory minimum sentences. The mandatory sentences require total imprisonment, which means that the sentence must be served in a correctional facility and not in the in-home detention program. Examples of mandatory minimum sentences that apply in felony drug cases include:

The mandatory minimum sentences based upon violations of section 780-113(a)(30) only apply to the delivery, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing charges, and they do not apply to charges of attempt or conspiracy to commit those acts.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences Are Sentencing Enhancements

People mistakenly believe that a mandatory minimum sentence must be referenced in the charges that are filed by the police or drug detectives. In the past, the district attorney was only required to present evidence to support a mandatory minimum sentence to the judge at the time of sentencing.

The mandatory minimum sentences associated with felony drug offenses have been held to be unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, so prosecutors are currently unable to force a judge to impose mandatory prison sentences on non-violent drug offenders. However, the Pennsylvania legislature is considering amendments to those laws that would allow them to be used again by prosecutors.

Experienced JD Law Attorneys Consider Applicable Mandatory Minimum Sentences

It is important to retain an experienced drug defense attorney who is aware of possible mandatory minimum sentences and factor those issues into developing an overall defense strategy. There are times when a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony drug charge and learns of the mandatory minimum sentence afterwards.

Jason S. Dunkle is a criminal defense attorney who has been representing people charged with misdemeanor drug possession charges and felony drug delivery, possession with intent to deliver, and manufacturing charges since 2004.

For a free consultation, call the State College criminal defense firm of JD Law, P.C., at 814-954-1094 or contact us by email.

By Jason Dunkle on G+