In Pennsylvania, the sentences and punishments for drug offenses range
drastically. One individual could be up against no time behind bars and
a small slap on the wrist while another may be facing several years in
prison and thousands of dollars in fines. What determines whether or not
a defendant will be looking at potential imprisonment in their case? There
are numerous factors that will play a part, including the type of drug
offense, the individual’s criminal record, the amount of drugs involved,
and the location of the crime. In addition to these factors, there is
one more issues that is often overlooked: gun possession. Simply being
found with a gun on your person in connection with a
drug crime could seriously heighten the penalties you face.
For example, if you are found in possession of a small amount of marijuana,
you will likely face a minor fine, short jail sentence, or time on probation.
In the worst case scenario, you will spend the maximum 30 days in jail.
However, if you are caught in the act of selling drugs with a firearm
in your possession, you are facing much heavier consequences, such as
five years behind bars.
What the Law Says About Joint Drug & Gun Offenses
Under state law, any individual found to be in possession of drugs with
the intent to distribute and with a firearm on their person is facing
a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. This term can be
sentenced regardless of the type or amount of drugs involved. The law
further states that even if just
accomplice is found to be in physical possession of a gun, this sentence can still
Unfortunately, due to the fact that this law is worded very broadly, prosecutors
and courts often apply it broadly. Even if you did not have a firearm
on your person, simply being around another individual who does or being
in “close proximity” to a gun could result in you spending
a minimum of five years in prison. The idea of close proximity has not
been clearly defined by the courts, meaning that the prosecution could
loosely interpret this law, putting the defendant at a serious disadvantage.
The good news is that
the lawyers at Parkinson, Tarpey & Lloyd have handled cases involving drug distribution offenses and the five year
mandatory sentence enforced under Pennsylvania law due to the presence
of a gun. Our
Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys know how challenging these charges can be, which is why we bring a tough
and tenacious level of representation to the table. Our team is made up
of former prosecutors that boast more than 40 years of collective legal
experience. You can trust them to fiercely and effectively defend your
reputation and future against such charges.
In need of reliable legal representation?
Call now to request your free case evaluation.