Experienced Defense Counsel Serving Clients Throughout Central Pennsylvania

Photo of Matt M. McClenahen
Photo of Matt M. McClenahen
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Drug Offenses

Your Best Defense Will Depend On The Facts Of Your Case

Our goal in some drug cases is to avoid convictions and all the negative consequences that a drug conviction entails. In other drug cases, we seek a lenient sentence and to prevent felony convictions where possible. These goals can be accomplished by fighting the charges through pretrial motions or by taking your case to trial but achieving your goals through non-trial resolutions, such as a plea agreement or the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD). Even if the evidence of drug possession against you is too strong to overcome, we can still achieve important defense objectives. We might be able to get you into the ARD, which ultimately can lead to dismissal of charges and expungement of your arrest record. If ARD is not an option, we can argue that there are enough mitigating factors in your case to warrant a reduction of charges and/or a lenient sentence.

Defending Clients Charged With Misdemeanor And Felony Drug Charges

McClenahen Law Firm P.C., in State College, represents people accused of drug offenses. Attorney Matt McClenahen handles both misdemeanor and felony drug charges, including those involving:

  • Prescription drugs: Including Xanax, OxyContin, Adderall, Ritalin, Vicodin and Percocet
  • Stimulants: Including cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamine (meth)
  • Narcotics: Including heroin and opium
  • Hallucinogens: Including LSD, PCP and psilocybin mushrooms
  • Empathogens: Including ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Cannabis: Including marijuana and hashish
  • Drug paraphernalia: Including bongs, bowls, pipes, scales and rolling papers

If the police believe you sold an illegal drug or were planning to sell drugs in your possession, you will be charged with a felony, regardless of the type of drug or the weight. Selling 1 gram of marijuana is an ungraded felony, as is selling 50 kilograms of heroin, although the possible sentences obviously differ greatly. By contrast, the police will charge you with an ungraded misdemeanor if they believe the drugs in your possession were for personal use, regardless of the weight or the type of drug.

A common question for defense attorneys is: What weight of an illegal drug marks the cutoff between a felony or a misdemeanor? Pennsylvania law does not provide gradings for drug offenses based on the weight of the drug alone. The police consider the “totality of circumstances” in determining whether to charge a drug offense as a felony or a misdemeanor, and these factors include the weight of the drug; how the drug is packaged; the presence or absence of things like scales, packaging material and “owe sheets”; the presence of a large amount of cash when the suspect does not work in a cash business; and text messages related to drug activity. Both felonies and misdemeanors carry the possibility of prison time, but incarceration is far more likely in felony drug cases. Jail time for misdemeanor drug charges was far more common in the bad old days.

Drug paraphernalia is defined under Pennsylvania law as “any device intended to be used to introduce an illegal drug into the human body or to merely store an illegal drug.” Everyone knows that a bowl, bong or needle are forms of drug paraphernalia, but most people are surprised to learn that a plastic bag containing marijuana can also be considered paraphernalia. The charge of possession of drug paraphernalia usually accompanies a charge for possession of drugs.

A Track Record Of Success

Attorney McClenahen is skilled in handling both misdemeanor and felony drug charges, taking them to trial when necessary. Throughout his career, he has compiled an impressive win-loss record at trial.

Serious Charges Deserve A Serious Defense

Attorney McClenahen represents clients charged with crimes that may occur alone or in connection with drug offenses, such as robbery, burglary, theft, access device fraud (unlawful use of a credit card) and assault.

He will examine the evidence to determine if drugs were found in an illegal search. If an officer did not have probable cause, exigent circumstances or a warrant, attorney McClenahen may file a motion to have the evidence suppressed. If you possessed drugs for personal use and had no intention of selling them, we can point to evidence that backs up your claim.

Speak With An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney McClenahen offers free initial consultations. To talk with an experienced lawyer about drug law, marijuana law or drug charges, contact the McClenahen Law Firm P.C. in State College. Attorney McClenahen can be reached by phone at 814-308-0870 or through the online contact form.