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Philadelphia doctor gets 7 years for drug convictions

Drug charges in Pennsylvania may carry a mandatory minimum depending on circumstances such as the type of drug, the amount and prior convictions. An arrest on drug charges may incur other penalties such as the loss of professional licenses, even when it does not result in a conviction. The following account shows how a doctor can be faced with criminal drug charges for allegedly writing prescriptions improperly.

A 79-year-old Philadelphia doctor has received a seven-year prison sentence for reportedly turning his medical practice into a "pill mill," according to prosecutors. A federal court handed down the sentence on Jan. 29

Federal guidelines required the U.S. judge in this case to consider several factors when deciding on a sentence. These included the doctor's lack of a prior criminal record, his prior military service and the care he is providing for his daughters.

The defense attorney said he was generally pleased with the sentence but was hoping for less time due to his family's unusually difficult circumstances. The doctor has three adult daughters, two of whom are disabled. They are both confined to wheelchairs due to spinal muscular atrophy. All three of his daughters made impassioned pleas for leniency at the doctor's sentencing hearing.

A person who is facing drug charges should know that challenging the validity of the search for drugs is a common legal strategy, depending on the circumstances of the case, of course. Every case is different, and it is generally best to seek legal guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: The Inquirer, "S. Phila. doctor sentenced to 7 years for 'pill mill'," Mensah M. Dean, Jan. 30, 2013

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