A Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID) charge in Pennsylvania is a felony. The penalties vary based on the type of the controlled substance and the amount or weight of the substance. Other factors include the proximity to a school zone and possession or proximity of a weapon to the drugs. Mandatory minimum sentences may also apply. Therefore, it is important for a person who is arrested and charged with a Possession with Intent to Deliver take immediate action.
In Pennsylvania, PWID is defined, in part, as the manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver drugs. PA criminal lawyers who routinely represent individuals charged with drug crimes often see PWID charges when a significant amount of the drug is found on the individual; the individual’s phone is seized and searched which may contain references to a drug deal; or items such as a scale, baggies or balloons are found near the drugs. If any or all of these circumstances are present, then the circumstantial evidence often causes the police to charge the individual with PWID instead of or in addition to the less serious charge of possession of a controlled substance.
PA criminal attorneys know that the biggest difference between PWID and possession of a controlled substance is whether the police and the Commonwealth believe that the drugs are for more than just personal use. Individuals charged with PWID should immediately consult with and hire a criminal attorney. The attorney may be able to suppress evidence that would tip the scales towards the PWID conviction instead of a conviction on possession alone. For example, if an individual has 3 grams of cocaine and his phone is searched and the text messages contain references to selling cocaine, the Commonwealth may feel that it has enough evidence to prove PWID. If an attorney can prevent the introduction of the text messages into evidence through a successful suppression motion, then the Commonwealth may not believe their case is strong enough to prove PWID since the evidence would only include 3 grams of cocaine, which any reasonable person could believe is for personal use.
A criminal attorney can also negotiate a plea based on the strength of the evidence. Suppose an individual was arrested with 9 grams of cocaine. Would a reasonable person now believe that an individual with 9 grams of cocaine intended to use it for himself/herself? Or is it more reasonable to believe that the quantity suggests that the individual was going to sell it? A good attorney would want to know other facts and circumstances that would suggest a PWID such as whether baggies were found with the cocaine or a scale that would suggest the individual was going to sell it. Was the cocaine all in one bag that would suggest personal use or was it broken up into many bags suggesting a sale? Good attorneys can pick up on these factors and when the factors do not add up to likelihood of a PWID conviction, the attorney can negotiate a plea of a lesser charge.
As with any arrest, individuals should hire an attorney right away. Police are often really nice and say things to get the individual to volunteer information which can later be used against them. In other instances, the police will try to strike a deal. The offer might be a reduced charge in exchange for the individual setting up a buy with his or her dealer. Playing the role of a confidential informant is dangerous and there are other ways that a lawyer can help get the individual a good deal without subjecting the individual to retaliation from an angry dealer.