Even Minor Drug Offenses Can Impact Your Future
Drug charges can come in many forms, but all will affect your future. You could face jail time and large fines, even for a first offense. A seemingly minor charge can have serious consequences that stay on your record. That record could impact your ability to find a job, housing or financing and could even affect your education.
You need an aggressive attorney at your side when facing these types of charges, whether it is a misdemeanor possession charge or a felony distribution charge. At Natalie Snyder Law, we assist clients throughout western Pennsylvania with drug charges at every level. We are ready to fight for your legal rights and minimize the impact of your charges in every way possible.
Understanding Pennsylvania’s Drug Laws
When the police arrest you with a drug charge, they must decide on an initial charge. The prosecutor may adjust those charges later based on the factors involved in your case. Those factors include:
- Your criminal history
- The illegal substance at issue
- The amount of the substance you possessed
- Whether you intended to sell or deliver the drugs to others
- Whether a weapon was involved
These factors help categorize your case as either a possession, distribution or manufacturing charge. All have different elements the prosecutor must prove and all have different penalties involved. Penalties for possession only of marijuana tend to be a misdemeanor with 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for low-level first offenses, but these penalties increase with subsequent offenses and higher amounts. Substances such as meth and cocaine may result in a felony charge, even for a first offense.
Finding The Right Defense Strategy For You
As a former Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney, Natalie Snyder has a unique understanding of how prosecutors prepare and try drug cases. She knows how to develop a defense strategy to fight these charges and will take the battle to the courtroom whenever necessary. Common defense strategies include:
- Intent and knowledge: You must knowingly or intentionally possess an illegal substance in order to be charged. Sometimes the police find drugs in your vicinity, such as in your apartment or in a car you are driving, which the law refers to as constructive possession. You can argue the drugs did not belong to you and you had no knowledge of them.
- Illegal search and seizure: If the police failed to follow legal requirements to stop you or search your property, the evidence gained from that search cannot be brought in court.
- Invalid search warrant: If the police relied on a search warrant to search your property, we may be able to argue there was a problem with the search warrant, such as lack of probable cause or the police did not follow the scope of the search warrant. If we succeed, any evidence they found is inadmissible.
Don’t try to fight these charges on your own; you need a skilled defense attorney on your side. At Natalie Snyder Law, we know what it takes to fight these charges. In addition, we can determine if you qualify for an alternative diversion program, such as those for first-time offenders or people with addiction issues.
We Are Ready To Help
To get started on your legal defense right away, call our office in Pittsburgh at 412-545-3579 or fill out our contact form.