Charges related to dealing drugs, while non-violent in nature, can hold substantial penalties in both the Pennsylvania and Federal Courts. Drug cases are often initiated through surveillance by law enforcement, the use of confidential informants and sources and, in some cases, the use of wiretaps and other forms of clandestine monitoring by law enforcement.
As a former Philadelphia County Assistant District Attorney assigned to the office’s Dangerous Drug Offender Unit, I know how to evaluate all types of drug cases.
In Pennsylvania, charges related to drug dealing are often referred to as either Delivery of a Controlled Substance or Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance. The charge requires the government to prove that an individual illegally possessed a controlled substance, and either delivered the controlled substance to another person or had the intent to deliver the controlled substance to another person at a later time.
The government will often attempt to hold a person liable for the conduct of others through a charge of conspiracy. Generally speaking, conspiracy is when one-person plans with at least one other person commit a crime. In Pennsylvania, the charge of Conspiracy also requires the government to prove that at least one of the conspirators performed some overt act in furtherance of the Conspiracy. Co-conspirators are held criminally liable for the actions one another. Therefore, it is often extremely important in defending drug cases that your counsel not only attack the credibility and veracity of law enforcement’s observations, but also their theory of the case if it involves allegations of a Conspiracy.
Finally, if the evidence recovered by the government was obtained as a result of an illegal search and/or search warrant not supported by probable cause – facts that would lead a reasonably prudent and intelligent person to conclude that a crime had occurred – then your counsel may be able to suppress that evidence by filing and litigating pre-trial motions. Suppressed evidence may not be used against you at trial and, in some cases, may lead to a dismissal of all charges prior to trial.