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Penalties for possessing heroin with the intent to distribute

There are certain drugs in Philadelphia that can be very beneficial for those who take them. Most of the time, these drugs are prescribed by doctors to treat medical conditions. However, many others use drugs without valid prescriptions. It may be to self-medicate or simply a curiosity that turned into an addiction. There's no dispute that, for whatever reason, some of these individuals may turn to the streets for other drugs, a system which law enforcement has been cracking down on for decades. As a result, many Pennsylvania residents end up being accused of dealing drugs.

One drug that is prevalent in our community is heroin. When people sell this drug, they are risking being slapped with severe penalties. If they are caught and convicted they may face up to 15 years in prison. In addition to this lengthy prison sentence, they may be ordered to pay a fine of $250,000 or more if the profits from selling heroin exceeds $250,000.

These potential penalties will only be realized, though, if an accused individual is convicted. When one enters into the criminal justice system after being charged with a crime, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, there may be defenses available them. Many times these defenses start with one's Fourth Amendment rights against illegal searches and seizures by the police. If these rights are violated and the stop of the person or seizure of the drugs was illegal, then the evidence of the drugs may be suppressed, meaning it cannot be used to prove the alleged crime.

People are charged with possessing heroin with the intent to deliver every year in Philadelphia. If these people are convicted, they could end up with hefty fines and long prison sentences. The person will not face these potential penalties, though, if they are not convicted. That is why it is important to understand the law and potential defenses to ensure one does not find themselves facing these consequences.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health, "The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act", accessed Jan. 23, 2017

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