There are many schools in Philadelphia, from pre-schools to high schools and colleges. These institutions exist to teach children in a safe environment and to help set them on the right path. Because of this, there are laws in place to prevent people from bringing potentially dangerous things or engaging in questionable activities near schools. This includes bringing guns or other dangerous weapons onto school properties and making sure that drug dealing does not take place near schools.
To deter these activities, the state legislature has enacted harsh penalties for those who engage in such behavior, including drug dealing within close proximity of a school. If a person is convicted of dealing drugs or possessing drugs with the intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school, whether it is public, private or a college or university, or within 250 feet of a playground or school bus, then the individual will receive, at a minimum, two years of jail time.
The court has no authority to impose a sentence less than two years of confinement. This enhancement only applies to the sentencing, though, and is not an element of the crime. The prosecution needs to notify the defendant of their intent to impose these penalties prior to sentencing. At the sentencing, either side can present additional evidence as to why the enhancement should be or should not be imposed.
The penalties for selling drugs near schools in Philadelphia are severe, but they will only be realized if an accused individual is found guilty of the alleged crime. Simply being charged with a crime does not mean that a defendant is guilty of the crime. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and there may be defenses available to an accused individual. Such defenses may include questioning the legality of a stop and search, as well as the handling of crucial evidence. With so much on the line, those accused of these crimes owe it to themselves to seek out any legal assistance they may need.
Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, “Pennsylvania Statute Title 18 section 6317“, accessed Feb. 28, 2017