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Defenses To Drug Trafficking Charges In Pennsylvania

May 25, 2021

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Recently, a Philadelphia man pled guilty to racketeering charges, as he was involved in a drug trafficking scheme that spanned Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and other states. Drug trafficking is taken very seriously in Pennsylvania and a conviction comes with serious penalties. If you are facing drug trafficking charges, you must speak with a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer that can provide you with a defense that can reduce or beat your charges.

Your Fourth Amendment Rights

Under the Fourth Amendment, all United States citizens are protected against unlawful search and seizure. Law enforcement agencies cannot override a person’s rights, and they must obtain a warrant before conducting a search. The Constitution of Pennsylvania affords people within the states even more rights, and warrants issued must clearly state who or what is to be seized during a search.

If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated and law enforcement officers conducted an illegal search, it can serve as a defense for your case. Any evidence seized during an unlawful search can be thrown out and considered inadmissible in court. It is not uncommon for the prosecution’s case to rest on this evidence, making this defense strategy very effective.

You Did Not Intend to Distribute the Drugs

Law enforcement officers and the prosecution are often eager to bring charges that are far more serious than circumstances dictate. They may find one or two baggies of marijuana in a vehicle and charge a person with trafficking, when the drugs were for personal use. This can also serve as a great defense against drug trafficking charges, and our criminal defense lawyers can help you prove it.

When individuals are under the influence of the drug that is found at the scene, it is an indication that the drugs found were intended for personal use. Likewise, if a person is found with used paraphernalia in addition to the drugs, they were likely for personal use. A small amount of drugs found also typically means they were meant for personal use, while larger amounts usually indicate an intent to distribute and traffic the drugs.

No Possession

Simply being around a drug is not a crime. In drug trafficking cases, the prosecution must show constructive possession of the drug. The prosecution must prove that you were aware of the drugs and were going to distribute them to other people. For example, if you were at a party at someone else’s house and the police came and found drugs after a search, you cannot automatically be charged with a crime just for being present at the party. If the prosecution cannot prove constructive possession and you can show that you had no connection with the drugs, that can provide a valid defense.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania Can Help with Your Case

If you have been accused of drug trafficking, it is critical that you call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers today. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our skilled attorneys know the defenses available and will review your case to determine which one is most effective. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.



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