Conspiracy and Drug Crimes
A person does not have to be in possession of illegal drugs in order to be charged with conspiracy in Pennsylvania. Rather, anybody who took part in any part of an operation—no matter how large or small that role was—to sell a controlled substance could face these state or federal charges.
Prosecutors will often file these charges against as many people as possible in order to get the alleged offenders to testify against the leaders or kingpins of drug rings. Alleged offenders are usually offered reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony, but this can be a much more complicated decision for people in certain circumstances and it is not uncommon for prosecutors to take back proposed deals if they are not satisfied with the information alleged offenders provide.
Philadelphia Drug Conspiracy Lawyer
Are you under investigation for or have you been charged with conspiracy relating to controlled substances in Southeastern Pennsylvania? You will want to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.
Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC represents clients all over Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County, Chester County, and New Jersey. You can have our drug conspiracy attorneys review your case when you call (215) 665-1695 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Pennsylvania Conspiracy and Drug Crimes Overview
- Who can be charged with this criminal offense?
- How are punishments determined if an alleged conspirator is convicted?
- What defenses might somebody have against these accusations?
A drug conspiracy is essentially an agreement to violate state or federal drug laws in which the alleged offender joined the agreement. Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 903, a person can be charged with conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a drug crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he or she either:
- Agreed with such other person or persons that they or one or more of them would engage in conduct which constitutes a drug crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit a drug crime
- Agreed to aid such other person or persons in the planning or commission of such drug crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such drug crime
The statute further notes that a person who is guilty of such drug conspiracy knows that a person with whom he or she conspired to commit a crime has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same crime, he or she is guilty of conspiring with those other person or persons to commit such drug crime as well, regardless of whether he or she knows their identity or identities. It is possible for a person to face drug conspiracy charges for allowing a friend or family member to use an automobile or living space that was part of a drug deal or even just having a conversation with another person involved in a drug conspiracy.
The federal conspiracy statute is largely similar to Pennsylvania law. Title 18 U.S. Code § 371 makes it a crime for two or more persons to conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, and any violation of Title 21 U.S. Code, otherwise known as the Controlled Substances Act, is considered such an offense.
While state law does not provide a grade of sentence for drug conspiracy charges, it is a mistake for anybody accused of this crime to assume that these charges are not as serious as the penalties that the conspiracy masterminds might face. In fact, everybody who is charged with involvement in a drug conspiracy faces the same possible sentence.
This means that if the leader of the conspiracy is facing, for example, a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $25,000 for heroin trafficking, then everybody else who is charged with conspiracy relating to that heroin trafficking also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $25,000.
This is also true for federal charges, as Title 21 U.S. Code § 846 states, “Any person who attempts or conspires to commit any offense defined in this subchapter shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the attempt or conspiracy.”
Prosecutors often like conspiracy charges because they do not need to prove drug crimes were actually committed, just that the alleged offenders had planned to commit the drug crimes. If one of the alleged offenders involved was arrested and charged with a separate drug offense such as possession, then this only helps their cases.
However, there are ways for alleged offenders to challenge these allegations, and some successful defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Illegal search and seizure
- No knowledge of conspiracy
- Unreliable informant testimony
- Withdrawal from conspiracy
Find a Drug Conspiracy Lawyer in Pennsylvania
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for conspiracy relating to a drug crime in Southeastern Pennsylvania, you will want to make sure that you immediately get legal representation. Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC defends clients from Chester County, Bucks County, Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and New Jersey against state and federal charges.
Our drug conspiracy attorneys will fight to get these charged dismissed, and we are not afraid to take cases to trial in order to achieve the most favorable outcomes. You can let our firm provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (215) 665-1695 to schedule a free consultation.