A possession with intent to distribute (PWID) offense in Philadelphia can land you in major legal trouble. The severity of your offense depends upon the type of drug you are accused of distributing, and the weight of drugs in your possession when you are arrested. While Philadelphia and Bucks County are working to decriminalize marijuana for certain possession offenses, a PWID charge is more serious than a simple possession offense. If you or a family member was charged with PWID, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia and Bucks County PWID lawyer.
The legal professionals at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates have over three decades of combined criminal law experience that we will use to defend you. We understand the stress involved in criminal proceedings, and we will work to alleviate your concerns. To schedule a free consultation on your PWID case, call us at (215) 372-8667 or contact us online.
PWID Laws in Pennsylvania
The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act deals with drug trafficking sentences and penalties in Pennsylvania. The Act makes it illegal to sell or offer to sell any controlled substance. Controlled substances are divided into categories referred to as schedules. Drugs categorized as Schedule I are drugs that are considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the US. Here are some examples of Schedule I drugs:
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
Law enforcement in Philadelphia and Bucks County usually examine the circumstances of drug possession to determine the cause of an arrest. The difference between simple possession and PWID can involve several factors. For example, if you are arrested with a small quantity of marijuana, you may only be charged with simple possession. The reason for this is because police may believe you had the marijuana solely for personal use. However, if you are arrested with large amounts of cash in small denominations and a significant amount of cocaine, you will likely be charged with PWID.
Police may also use the possession of drug paraphernalia to support a PWID arrest. Drug paraphernalia may include digital scales, zip-lock bags, drug kits, razor blades, rolling papers, grinders, and any other item used to prepare drugs for distribution.
How Search Warrants Work
A search warrant is used by law enforcement to enter a person’s property to search for the subject of the warrant. A valid warrant is issued by a judge if the police have probable cause to believe you committed a crime and evidence of this crime is likely on your property.
A search warrant must name the places of a person’s property that will be searched for drugs. However, because drugs can be concealed in various areas of a person’s home, the police may have access to most if not all of your home. Police can also expand their search if they believe an individual is attempting to destroy or conceal evidence. For example, if you try to flush drugs down a toilet during the execution of a search warrant, police may be authorized to break down the door to stop you.
Additionally, law enforcement can also search through your property without a warrant if:
- You consent to the search
- Evidence of drugs is in plain view
- If there are exigent circumstances
Searches without a warrant that do not meet the criteria named above will result in an illegal search or seizure of your property. If law enforcement attempt to search your property without a warrant, you should request they return with a warrant and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Penalties for PWID in Pennsylvania
The penalties for PWID in Pennsylvania depend upon the drugs you are accused of distributing. If you possess between two and nine pounds of marijuana or 10-20 live marijuana plants, you may receive one year in prison and a fine of $5,000 for a first offense. When the amount of marijuana involved is more than 10 pounds but less than 50 pounds, you may receive three years in prison and a fine of $15,000 for a first offense. A second offense for either of these charges will increase the prison sentence by one year and double the fines that may be ordered.
The most severe PWID offense for marijuana involves at least 50 pounds or at least 51 live marijuana plants. The penalty is five years in prison and fine of $50,000 for a first or second offense.
A drug like heroin that is especially destructive, and addictive carries more severe penalties. For example, a PWID offense for one to five grams of heroin carries a penalty of two years and a $5,000 fine for a first offense. A first offense for two to ten grams of cocaine carries a penalty of one year in prison and a fine of $5,000.
To know more about PWID charges, you should contact an experienced criminal attorney.
If You Were Arrested for Intent to Distribute in Pennsylvania, Our Defense Attorneys Can Help
If you or a family member was arrested for PWID, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia and Bucks County criminal defense attorney. Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates have represented clients in Philadelphia and Bucks County for years and would be proud to represent you. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (215) 372-8667. We answer our phones 24 hours a day.