If a police officer finds illegal drugs in your possession, then it stands to reason that you will receive a criminal charge for disobeying the law. The punishment may be relatively minor, however, unless the police believe that you have an intent to distribute the drugs in your possession.
Simple drug possession is a misdemeanor crime in most cases. Possession with intent to distribute is a much more serious felony with life-altering consequences that you have the right to defend against.
Understand the implications of drug distribution
Pennsylvania drug trafficking law describes drug possession as a felony when an individual intends to distribute a quantity of the illegal substance exceeding 15 grams in weight. Punishment for a drug trafficking felony can entail 5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine, or up to 15 years in jail with a $250,000 fine for large amounts of illegal drugs.
Know how to react to an intent to distribute charge
Depending on the circumstances around your arrest, an officer might believe you have an intent to distribute based solely on the number of drugs in your possession. It is important to be mindful of what you say in such a situation so that you do not willingly or accidentally admit to selling illegal substances. Exercising your right to remain silent can empower you to take a stronger stance in court.
Whether or not you possess illegal drugs yourself, it is important to understand that merely being around such substances can lead police officers to interpret your behavior as criminal. By knowing the implications of a drug charge and how to exercise your rights, you can build a strong defense for your case.