Drug Trafficking Mandatory Minimum Sentences
The drug trafficking mandatory minimum sentencing law in section 7508 of the Crimes Code is intended to more severely punish people convicted of delivery, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing of larger quantities of drugs.
This mandatory minimum sentence law has different weight benchmarks for different types of drugs, and the more severe drugs such as heroin have much lower weight requirements in comparison to marijuana. Another critical issue with the drug trafficking mandatory minimum sentence is that it imposes both a minimum period of incarceration and mandatory fines.
When determining weight, the prosecution is permitted to use the weight of the entire compound and not just the weight of the drugs. For example, if a person mixes cocaine with another white powder, such as flour, the district attorney is permitted to use the weight of both the flour combined with the cocaine and not the cocaine itself.
With regard to marijuana manufacturing or growing cases, the court considers the number of live plants to determine the applicability of the drug trafficking mandatory minimum.
Prior Felony Drug Conviction Increases Mandatory Minimum Sentences
The mandatory minimum sentences under this section also substantially increase if the person has a prior felony drug violation. Many laws that increase sentences for repeat offenders require that a person is convicted on the first case before the criminal conduct occurs in the second case for it to count as a prior offense.
The drug trafficking mandatory sentence law is different in that charges that are filed in the same complaint can count as a prior offense. For example, a person could be charged with two separate incidents of delivery of drugs, and, if the defendant is convicted of both, the first incident can be considered a first offense and thereby subject the person to the increased mandatory minimum sentence for repeat offenders.
Get Your Free Initial Consultation With an Attorney at JD Law
JD Law has been representing people charged with drug possession charges and felony drug delivery, possession with intent to deliver, and manufacturing charges since 2004. For a free consultation, call State College criminal defense attorney Jason Dunkle at (814) 954-7622 or contact us by email.