Are you facing drug possession charges in Philadelphia? Our drug possession lawyer is on standby to fight for your rights. Let us act with fervor on your behalf in court to have charges dismissed or mitigated.
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Your Rights on a Drug Possession Charge
Charges of drug possession of illegal or even prescription drugs can be challenged. Do not let a simple mistake compound by not having a bold Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer fighting on your side. If not handled the right way, you could face long term penalties. Our defense lawyer has been defending clients charged with drug possession for twenty years. Don't let a mistake or a poor lapse in judgment wreak havoc on your life! Call our attorney now to see how we can help.
Always keep in mind, police will often try to get you to give a statement. Even minor things can be turned around and used against you in court. Proving that one person out of many in a house or car had direct possession of drugs is hard to prove. In a drug possession case, the state’s often just charges everyone and lets the defendants think that their only hope is to accept a plea bargain or to blame it on other people. Prosecutors rely on the fact that many drug possession defendants are poorly represented. Police can seize the property and assets of suspects in drug possession cases. Often, they don’t have to win a conviction or even bring the case to trial to complete forfeiture. They have vast resources to resist any attempts to get back unfairly forfeited property. This is another reason why having a savvy Philadelphia criminal defense attorney on your side is vital. We are here to protect your rights and your future.
A Skilled Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
As a former prosecutor, our seasoned defense attorneys know what it takes for the state to build a case against you. As in many drug crime cases, gray areas exist. We will review all of the details of your case, build a solid defense from the bottom up, and attack from every angle. We will work within the guidelines of the legal system to provide you with a professional and thorough defense. We can further examine things like, was an illegal search performed? Could the drugs belong to someone else? Were dubious informants used? Was evidence collected and cured the right way? As with any criminal charges, timing is key. The sooner you retain counsel, the better. We make every effort to safeguard your interest every step of the way. We have the zeal to fiercely defend your drug possession charge. Often times, sentences can be reduced to shorter jail times, probation, Drug Treatment Court, or even dismissal of the case.
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At the Law Office of William Spade, we've been handling cases involving drug possession in Philadelphia for twenty years. Call today and let us help restore peace of mind through this chaotic time.
Section 17 – Resolving a Drug Offense Without Adjudication of Guilt
In Philadelphia, as in most counties in Pennsylvania, certain people accused of a drug crime can enter into what is known as the Section 17 program. By resolving your case through a Section 17 disposition, you will be able to avoid having a criminal conviction on your record. The program permits a judge to place you on probation “without verdict.” After completing the probation, the judge will discharge the case “without adjudication of guilt” and the dismissal will not be counted as a conviction for any purpose.
Over the course of his many years representing citizens of Philadelphia who have run afoul of the drug laws, William Spade has guided many people – doctors, lawyers, college students, and business executives among others – through the system and brought them out the other side with no criminal record, thus permitting them to move forward and resume leading productive lives.
Section 17 of the Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act of 1972, P.L. 233, No. 64, is set forth below:
Section 17. Probation Without Verdict.--Except as provided in clause (1) of this subsection, the court may place a person on probation without verdict if the person pleads nolo contendere or guilty to any nonviolent offense under this act and the person proves he is drug dependent. For the purposes of proving drug dependency, the person must present the testimony of a physician or psychologist trained in the field of drug abuse. The term of probation shall be for a specific time period not to exceed the maximum for the offense upon such reasonable terms and conditions as the court may require. The following shall apply:
(1) The following persons shall be ineligible for probation without verdict:
(i) Any person who has previously been convicted of an offense under this act or similar act of the United States or any other state.
(ii) Any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in this Commonwealth or an equivalent crime under the laws of any other state.
(iii) Any person who has been placed on Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition where the person was charged with a violation of this act or the commission of a misdemeanor or felony in this Commonwealth.
(iv) Any person who is charged with or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to multiple offenses which are based on separate conduct or arise from separate criminal episodes such that those offenses could be tried separately in accordance with 18 Pa.C.S. § 110 (relating to when prosecution barred by former prosecution for different offense).
(v) Any person who is a dangerous juvenile offender under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6302 (relating to definitions) or who was adjudicated delinquent for conduct which would constitute a violation of clause (30) or (37) of subsection (a) of section 13 of this act. (vi) Any person who is charged with violating clause (14),(30) or (37) of subsection (a) of section 13 of this act.
(2) Upon violation of a term or condition of probation, the court may enter a judgment and proceed as in any criminal case, or may continue the probation without verdict.
(3) Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of probation, the court shall discharge such person and dismiss the proceedings against him. Discharge and dismissal shall be without adjudication of guilt and shall not constitute a conviction for any purpose whatever, including the penalties imposed for second or subsequent convictions: Provided, That probation without verdict shall be available to any person only once: And further provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of this act, the prosecuting attorney or the court, and the council shall keep a list of those persons placed on probation without verdict, which list may only be used to determine the eligibility of persons for probation without verdict and the names on such lists may be used for no other purpose whatsoever.
(17 amended Dec. 28, 1994, P.L.1406, No.164)