According to an online news article, the State College Police Department received a report that a man in his 40's was dealing crack cocaine outside of McClanahan's Store, which is located right across the street from the University Park Campus of Penn State. Everyone knows that crack is highly addictive and is a very nasty drug to have in the community. The police investigated the report but were unable to locate the suspect or others to corroborate the drug dealing tip.
Felony Drug Delivery Charges and Mandatory Minimum Sentences
A Pennsylvania charge of delivery or possession with intent to deliver any drug, be it marijuana, crack, or heroin, is a felony offense. The more severe drugs like heroin and cocaine do carry more severe penalties at a person's sentencing if he or she is convicted. When felony drug charges are filed, an experienced criminal defense lawyer knows mandatory minimum sentences must be considered. Most drug defense lawyers near Penn State know that the primary mandatory minimum sentence that may be applicable is called the "drug free school zone." The school zone law mandates that a person that is convicted of drug delivery, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing within 1,000 feet of the real property of a school must be sentenced to not less than 2 years in jail. A person receiving such a sentence is not permitted to avoid jail time by being sentenced to in-home detention. The sentence would be served at a State Correctional Institution, meaning a state prison and not the county jail.
In some situations, the 2-year minimum sentence may be reduced by having the client participate in either the Boot Camp or the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI) programs. The Boot Camp program requires the person to complete a 6-month program at the Quehanna Boot Camp in Clearfield County. Upon completion of the program, the person is released from the state prison setting. The RRRI program allows a person to be released early from a state prison. Both RRRI and Boot Camp may allow a person serving the 2-year "school zone" mandatory minimum sentence to be released early. The best way to avoid the 2-year minimum sentence is to hire an experienced State College criminal defense attorney to handle the case.