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Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney for Cocaine Charges

Cocaine Charges: Misdemeanor or Felony?

As with many drugs, cocaine ranks high on the list of those drugs that can have such devastating consequences to people who abuse it that there are heavy penalties as a deterrent. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which means it is in the category of drugs that although may have some accepted medical use, has a high potential for abuse which can lead to severe dependence, either mentally or physically. Illegal possession of cocaine is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, meaning that the amount is small enough to constitute personal use only. If you are caught possessing larger amounts of cocaine, which could be considered enough for the intent to deliver charge, the charge will be elevated to a felony, with harsher penalties than a misdemeanor. If you have been charged with cocaine Possession, or Possession with Intent to Deliver, contact a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney immediately. Even a conviction of only a misdemeanor carries the possibility of fines, incarceration, driver's license suspension, and permanent damage to your criminal record. You need professional guidance in order to minimize as the damage as much as is possible, based upon the circumstances of your case.

Penalties for Cocaine Charges

If you are convicted of simple possession of cocaine, meaning a small amount for personal use only, you could be facing up to one year in prison including fines up to $5,000, for a first offense. The same charge for a second offense can mean a sentence up to two years, and up to three years for a third offense.

If you are convicted of Possession with Intent to Deliver or Manufacture cocaine, the penalties are greater. Here is a general outline of the penalties for these charges: if you have more than 1,000 lbs of cocaine, up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $100,000. Keep in mind that sentences can be influenced by other factors, such as the weight of the amount of cocaine, whether or not a firearm was involved, and whether or not it was found near a school or playground. In Pennsylvania, there are mandatory minimum sentences when the charge is Possession with Intent to Deliver. In cases involving 2-10 grams, the penalties could result in one year in prison, for 10-100 grams three years, and 100 or more grams, five years in state prison.

So the penalties are tied into and adjustable when the prosecution considers these factors of amount, location, weapons, and prior convictions.

There are three basic factors the prosecution will look to when charging the defendant with Possession with Intent to Deliver.

  1. The defendant was found with cocaine in his possession and was seen by law enforcement selling it to someone.
  2. The defendant was found with an amount of cocaine considered too great to be only for personal use. There was no evidence, even visual, that the defendant was selling it.
  3. The defendant is found with a large amount of cocaine, which was given to others without monetary exchange, such as at a party.

Defending Cocaine Charges in Pittsburgh

There can be several tactics used to defend charges of cocaine Possession or Possession with Intent to Deliver. Sometimes the evidence seized by the police was confiscated illegally. Did unlawful police stops occur? Or was the defendant tricked into a search of his house? These could result in suppression of evidence. There are other defenses as well. At Blaine Jones Law, LLC in Pittsburgh, we have the aggressive approach and experience to fully represent and defend our clients. Always with the goal of dismissed charges first and reduced charges second, we know exactly how to handle your case to assist you to pursue the best possible result. 

Contact our firm at once if you have been arrested and charged with a cocaine offense.

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