Drug laws: Possession, punishment and defense - Part 1 of 3

It seemed like a simple solution to your back pain. Your close friend offered you some muscle relaxers and painkillers to get you by until you were able to go see a doctor. However, during a traffic stop, a police officer discovered the prescription drugs and charged you with the illegal possession of narcotics. Now you are wondering what to do next.

Whether you are charged with possession of marijuana, heroin or illegally possessing prescription drugs, you have the right to defend yourself. A criminal defense attorney in the Lancaster area can help you fight against drug possession charges. Read further for more information on drug possession laws.

Burden of proof

In order to get a conviction, the prosecuting attorney must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that you knew the drug on your person was a controlled substance and that you knew it was there. In other words, you have to have been fully aware that you possessed the substance and that it was illegal to do so.

Two major categories

In general, drug possession falls into one of two types. The offender had the substance for personal use, or he or she planned to sell it. Usually, if there is evidence of intent to distribute, the court will issue more severe penalties. In order to prove an intention to sell, the defendant must have certain items to aid in the distribution. For example, if a person is charged with possessing a large quantity of marijuana, there must also be tools such as scales, baggies and other items that point to an intent to distribute.

Paraphernalia

Drug laws also apply to paraphernalia. In most cases, a newly purchased pipe or bong is not a violation of drug regulations. However, if law enforcement officers catch a person with these items after use and residue of a drug is present, drug possession charges might follow. Other items that drug laws also prohibit include certain types of chemicals or substances that a person can use to make drugs. For example, items that people use to manufacture methamphetamine can lead to possession charges.

If you or a loved one has been charged with drug possession, you have the right to defend yourself. A conviction for drug possession can result in jail time, heavy fines and many other problems in the future.

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Lancaster, PA 17602

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