Pennsylvania Criminal Law Topic of the Week: Mandatory Minimum Sentences

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In Pennsylvania, possessing certain amounts of drugs will result in mandatory minimum sentences. This means that for certain drug charges, a conviction will lead to at least a certain amount of jail time. Mandatory minimum sentences are used in cases where a person is charges with possession with intent to deliver. These sentences are not used for simple possession of small amount of drugs, like marijuana. In today’s blog, your Western PA Criminal Defense Attorneys provide information about mandatory minimum sentences.

A mandatory minimum sentence is one of the worst parts about a possession with intent to deliver charge. If convicted, there is no way to get out of the mandatory minimum. In fact, the only option is for the sentence to be higher than the minimum.

There are different groups that mandatory minimums can fall into. Most of these categories are split up by drug type and amount. The minimums are also different for first time convictions as opposed to subsequent convictions. For example, 2 to 10 grams of marijuana leads to a mandatory minimum for first time offenders of 1 year. Possessing 5 to 50 grams of heroin leads to at least 5 years for first time offenders.

There are also different potential sentences depending on the location where one was apprehended while in possession of the drugs. Possessing a large amount of drugs in a school zone can raise the mandatory minimum sentence. Also, delivering drugs to a person who later dies using them will also raise the minimum sentence. Of course, selling drugs to minors will also increase this minimum.

Because of mandatory minimum sentences, there is a lot on the line when dealing with a possession with intent to deliver case. The only way to avoid the mandatory minimum after being charged with drug possession in Pennsylvania is by an acquittal.

If you have been charged with possession with intent to deliver, please contact our Pittsburgh drug possession defense attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Our team of lawyers will work with you to ensure that your rights are protected.