Drug Felonies

Overcoming Felony Drug Charges in Central Pennsylvania

Criminal defense attorney Matt McClenahen advises people who are facing felony drug charges in central Pennsylvania. If you're facing prosecution for delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver, criminal use of a communications facility or any other felony charge related to illegal drugs, contact the McClenahen Law Firm in State College for dependable advice and skillful representation.

Can the Prosecution Prove That You Were Dealing Drugs?

The police look at a variety of factors when deciding whether to charge a suspect with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance as opposed to mere possession for personal use. The primary factors are the weight of the drugs and how they are packaged, but these are not the only factors.

For example, the confiscation of guns, scales and packaging materials with a relatively small quantity of drugs could invite felony possession with intent to deliver charges, as will discovery of large quantities of cash or written notes such as "owe sheets," which indicate money owed to a drug dealer when he fronts drugs to others.

The penalties for drug felonies in Pennsylvania are disproportionately harsh compared to the penalties for other crimes. Often, the penalties for non-violent drug offenses are more severe than penalties for violent offenses or sex offenses or property crimes such as burglary or theft. Even for a first conviction of the sale of a mere gram of marijuana, you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of two to four years in a maximum security state prison, if the offense occurred in a school zone. This is so even if the drug transaction had absolutely nothing to do with school aged children and did not occur on school property. In fact, school zones are so broadly defined in Pennsylvania that the vast majority of drug felonies do take place in school zones.

Our job is to analyze and attack the evidence of felony drug charges in every way possible. Sometimes we can challenge the circumstances of a traffic stop or a search and get the evidence against you suppressed (kept out of court). Other times, we'll be able to show that the drugs were for personal use (assuming the quantity is not too large) or that you were unaware of the presence of drugs found near you or that even if you were aware of the presence of the drugs, they belonged to someone else.

If the charges against you are based primarily on the word of a CI (confidential informant), we can attack the CI's credibility. This is an effective strategy when the police have failed to take steps to corroborate the CI's testimony, as CIs are usually themselves people with a criminal past and have strong incentive to make false accusations against others, in order to achieve a more lenient outcome in their own criminal cases. The police, more than anyone, are aware that CIs cannot be trusted, as CIs are often caught lying to the police. Accordingly, the police will normally try to take every precaution to assure that the CI is not fabricating allegations against a target/suspect, but the police are not able to do this in every case. In cases where the police and prosecution cannot back up the word of a CI with reliable, independent evidence, a defendant has a good chance of winning at trial.

Call 814-308-0870 to Discuss Your Case With an Accomplished Trial Lawyer

With a solid record of achievement at trial on behalf of people facing felony drug charges, criminal trial lawyer Matt McClenahen knows how to develop and present effective defenses in court whenever he can expose and exploit weaknesses in the case against you. More often, however, he can explain how you'll be better off working toward an improved plea offer or a strong presentation before a sentencing judge.

In practically all cases, a criminal defendant has the choice between accepting a plea offer or taking the case to trial at the risk of a harsher outcome. Our goal is to give you the best legal advice and practical information possible so that you can make the best choice for yourself by weighing the risks and rewards of going to trial versus accepting a plea agreement. It is only after consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has had the time to review all the evidence in your case that you can make a knowing and intelligent decision as to whether to take your case to trial or accept a plea agreement.

To learn more about your options for resolving felony drug charges on favorable terms, contact the McClenahen Law Firm in State College for a free consultation.