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Avoiding conviction for certain people charged with drug offenses

There are many drug users in Philadelphia as well as many drug dealers. There are also many types of drugs that people sell and use. For legal purposes, such drugs are classified into five Schedules depending on how they affect a person. If a person is caught selling or possessing drugs, the severity of the punishment varies depending on what type of drug they are caught with.

Many drug convictions include some amount of jail time and large fines. However, this is not always the case. In certain situations a person facing drug charges can avoid jail time and even a conviction. The first requirement to receive this type of sentence is that the crime must be non-violent. The second is that the person must prove that he or she has a drug addiction. In order to prove that, the person must have a doctor or psychologist testify that they are in fact addicted.

If the first two requirements are met, it must also be a first time offense for the person. If the person has been convicted of a previous misdemeanor or felony or a violent crime as a juvenile, they are not eligible for this type of disposition.

If a person meets all the requirements, they may be placed on probation for a period of time, which cannot be greater than the length of the maximum sentence for the crime. They will not be convicted of the crime though. If they meet all the requirements of probation, at the end of the probation period, the charge will be dismissed without a conviction. However, if they violate probation then the court may convict the person.

Many people in Philadelphia are addicted to drugs. With this understanding, the courts will allow a person one chance to avoid a conviction, so they are not punished for something that is incredibly difficult to control. Experienced attorneys understand drug offenses and may be able to help guide a defendant through the criminal justice system.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health, "The controlled substance, drug, device and cosmetic act" accessed on March 2, 2015

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