These days, justice reform is a popular topic among policymakers as they attempt to make it easier for people who have been arrested to recover from their crimes and lead a good life. However, these policies still have a long way to go, and being arrested for certain crimes like drug possession can be a big handicap on your future in Pennsylvania.
What is the likely sentence for drug possession?
It’s tough to answer this question as your potential sentence and criminal defense strategy will depend on a variety of factors. These include your previous arrest record, how much of a drug you possessed and what drug it was. Generally speaking, the more of a drug you are accused of possessing and the more addictive the drug is, the higher of a potential jail sentence you are likely to face. It might be possible to negotiate a plea deal that diverts you to a rehabilitation program or hours of community service instead of serving time in jail.
What about career damage?
Your reputation can be a problem even if you aren’t ultimately convicted. Many jobs ask about prior arrest records, forcing you into an awkward conversation during a job interview. Unfortunately, in many cases, this may stop you from getting a job interview altogether. Furthermore, while prior arrests cannot be used to deny housing, it can create a variety of “softer” barriers as people who know of your arrest may deny you opportunities.
A defense attorney may stress the importance of not only avoiding criminal charges but also mitigating the long-term damage of your arrest. It’s important to know when to accept a plea deal vs. fight the charges in court.