While all drug charges are treated seriously in Pennsylvania, those involving sales or the intent to distribute carry more severe penalties. Possession with intent to deliver or PWID differs from simple possession offenses since the police must suspect that you intended to distribute the drugs in your possession to others instead of using them yourself. You can be charged with PWID involving any type of illegal drug, and you can also face charges of PWID for possessing prescription drugs for which you have no valid prescription. If you are charged with possession with intent to deliver drugs, you should talk to a criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law to learn about your options and the potential defenses that you might raise.
What is possession with intent to deliver drugs?
Under 35 Pa.C.S. § 780-113, you can be charged with possession with the intent to deliver drugs if you manufacture, cultivate, distribute, sell, deliver, or possess drugs with the intent to deliver them. This can include any of the following types of activities:
- Cultivating marijuana
- Manufacturing illegal drugs such as LSD, crack cocaine, or methamphetamine
- Distributing or selling drugs
- Trafficking drugs
- Possession with intent to deliver is more serious than simple drug possession and normally will be a felony offense if you are convicted.
- Penalties for PWID
The penalties you might face for possession with intent to deliver will depend on the type of substance, its amount, and your criminal record as described below.
- PWID involving marijuana – If you are convicted of cultivating marijuana, you will face different penalties based on the number of plants with which you are caught.
For a first offense involving 10 to 21 plants, you will face the following potential penalties:
- Prison Time
- Fine of up to $5,000
For a first offense involving 22 to 51 plants, you will face the following potential penalties:
- Prison Time
- Fine of up to $15,000
For manufacturing hash or marijuana concentrates, you will face the following potential penalties:
- Prison time
- Fine of up to $15,000
- PWID involving cocaine – For the first conviction of PWID involving cocaine, the penalties you might face will depend on the amount and your criminal record. An offense involving from two to 10 grams of cocaine is a felony carrying potential prison time. A first offense involving between 11 and 99 grams is a felony carrying potential prison time, and a first offense involving 100 or more grams is a felony carrying potential prison time.
PWID involving heroin – The minimum penalties for a first conviction of possessing heroin with the intent to deliver include the following:
- Between one and five grams – Felony carrying potential prison time
- Between six and 50 grams – Felony carrying potential prison time
- More than 50 grams – Felony carrying potential prison time
- PWID involving illegal prescription drugs
The penalties you might face for possessing illegal prescription drugs with the intent to deliver depend on their drug schedule as follows:
- Schedules I, II, or III – Felony carrying up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
- Schedule IV – Prison for up to three years and a fine of up to $10,000
- Schedule V – Misdemeanor carrying up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000
The penalties you might face could also be aggravated if you are caught with drugs with the intent to deliver in a school zone, sold drugs to a minor, or carried a firearm while you were selling drugs.
How prosecutors prove PWID cases
Prosecutors are required to prove all of the elements of a PWID offense before defendants can be found guilty. To prove that you intended to sell the drugs in your possession, a prosecutor might rely on witnesses to testify about actions you took or statements you made that indicated your intent to deliver. A second approach to proving the intent to deliver element is to rely on the amount of the substances you had in your possession to create an inference that you intended to sell them instead of using them yourself.
Defenses to PWID charges
Your defense attorney might raise a number of defenses against PWID charges. The particular defenses that might be available will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Some of the potential defenses might include the following:
- Lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to support a stop and search
- Lack of knowledge that the drugs were in your possession
- Inaccurate drug weights
- Witnesses’ lack of credibility/motive to lie
- You only intended to use the drugs yourself
Other defenses might also be available. Your attorney will explain the types of strategies that might be the most appropriate under the particular facts of your case.
Talk to a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer
If you are facing charges of possession with the intent to deliver drugs, you should talk to a drug defense attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a consultation by calling 610-430-3535.