What To Know About Drug Charges And Sentencing

America's war on drugs has been raging for decades with no end in sight and no sign of victory. In recent years, drug use and abuse has become a public health crisis in Pennsylvania and many other states, particularly when it comes to opioid painkillers and heroin.

Unfortunately, drugs are still primarily regarded as a criminal law issue, even though prosecution and incarceration often do little to address the underlying issues that lead to drug use and abuse.

At Feeman Law Offices, we are committed to helping clients resolve their drug charges fairly and reasonably. That includes seeking alternatives to traditional prosecution and sentencing, when available.

What Alternative Programs May Be Available?

Lawmakers are slowly starting to realize that many drug- and alcohol-related crimes are caused or exacerbated by addiction. There are also a large number of people who have suffered disproportionate punishment as the result of a single, non-violent offense. Therefore, some programs have been developed in recent years that focus on addiction treatment instead of or in addition to punishment as well as programs that offer opportunities for leniency to first-time offenders.

These programs include:

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program: A pre-trial intervention offered to qualifying individuals with a clean or nearly clean criminal record who have been charged with a non-violent offense, including drug crimes and DUI. If all conditions are met, the defendant can petition to have the case expunged.

State Intermediate Punishment program: For individuals convicted of non-violent crimes motivated or caused by drug/alcohol consumption or addiction. Sentencing includes a short period of incarceration, mandatory in-patient addiction treatment, mandatory out-patient treatment and supervised reintegration after release.

Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP), Tier 1: Available to qualifying individuals charged with buying/possessing drugs or other non-violent misdemeanors. After paying a reasonable fine and completing community service, the defendant may be able to have the charges withdrawn. Qualification includes having no previous criminal record or a very limited previous criminal record.

Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP), Tier 2: Similar to AMP 1, but offered to individuals with a criminal record limited to non-violent offenses and/or a substance abuse problem. In addition to a fine and community service, substance abuse treatment is also required.

If you don't qualify for any of these programs or decide to fight the charges, we are prepared to vigorously represent you at trial. No matter what the charges may be, we have the skills, experience and resources to help you through this difficult time.

Talk To A Lawyer About Your Criminal Charges For Free

Feeman Law Offices is located in Lebanon, and we serve clients throughout Central Pennsylvania. To take advantage of a free initial consultation to discuss your legal needs, call us at 717-450-7114 or send us an email.