Do I need to get a public defender for a prohibited acts charge and what could be my punishment?

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Do I need to get a public defender for a prohibited acts charge and what could be my punishment?

I got pulled over in my car and searched by the police. They found empty stamp bags and used needles. I got arrested and charged with prohibited acts. I have a preliminary hearing at the magistrate and I was wondering if I need to get a public defender or if I should hire a private attorney? What can they possibly give me for my punishment?

Asked on July 18, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It appears your charges would fall under the Unconsolidated Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 35: HEALTH AND SAFETY, DRUGS, POISONS AND DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES:  CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, DRUG, DEVICE AND COSMETIC ACT.--§ 780-113. Prohibited acts; penalties.

Under the penalties portion of this act, there is a maximum sentence for different types of "prohibited acts."  Given that the court has the ability to give a more lenient sentence, you may want to retain a criminal defense attorney.  Since they found both empty stamp bags and used needles, the prosecutor may seek penalties for all of the paraphernalia together or have them charged as separate counts.  A criminal defense attorney would be more experienced negotiating with the prosecutor, so that you would have a minimal fine and little to none imprisonment sentence. 

Generally under this act, a person found guilty of drug paraphernalia is said to be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, or to pay a fine not exceeding not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or both.  However, the sentence may vary depending upon your criminal history and how the prosecutor intends to pursue this action. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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