Philadelphia, PA criminal defense attorney Brian Fishman talks about his approach to defending drug charges.
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So when I’m defending somebody charged with drug charges the first thing I’m looking at is if they’re charged with possession with intent to deliver, selling drugs. The first question is was this a lawful stop, right, so we’re looking at whether or not there’s maybe a valid motion to suppress. To say that the police did something and took some official action where they did not have either reasonable suspicion or probably cause. And if that’s true, if the police made a mistake and sort of jumped the gun we have be able to argue a motion to suppress and if the court finds that legally the officers did not have the requisite reasonable suspicion or probable cause, we may be able to argue that the narcotics recovered should be suppressed. And if they’re kept out of the case well then, of course, the prosecution doesn’t have a case.
The second thing I’m looking at when someone’s charged with possession with intent to deliver is if it’s a situation where it’s a car stop and it’s not an actual surveillance where they observe sales is this a case where the commonwealth can prove or the prosecution can prove that it’s truly possession with intent to deliver? What other factors are present? Are there large amounts of cash? Are there drug paraphernalia that’s consistent with a seller as opposed to with a user? Are we able to make an argument to the court that instead of possession with intent to deliver maybe there should just be a misdemeanor possession charge?
And the difference in sentencing is great when you’re looking at a felony possession with intent to deliver charge versus a misdemeanor possession charge in Pennsylvania. So most clients who are charged with possession with intent to deliver would gladly be found guilty of possession and likely be looking at some probation. So if I can get that result, it’s an excellent one.