In Pennsylvania, mandatory minimum prison sentences could apply to accusations of Drug Delivery or Possession With the Intent to Deliver depending on:
· the drug (cocaine v. heroin v. marijuana);
· the weight of the drug;
· the location of the transaction or arrest; and/or,
· whether a gun was possessed or in close proximity to the drugs at the time of the transaction or arrest.
Weight-Based Mandatory Sentences
Weight-based mandatory minimum sentences are what they say they are -- a mandatory minimum sentence of incarceration based upon the weight of the drug. Additionally, the applicable mandatory minimum sentences can escalate based upon the type of drug, prior convictions for drug delivery, and increased weight.
For example, if you were convicted of selling 3 grams of cocaine to an undercover cop and had never been convicted of drug delivery before, you could face a one (1) year mandatory minimum state prison sentence.
Youth/School Zone Mandatory Sentences & Enhancements
In addition to the risks of a potential weight mandatory, a person accused of Drug Delivery or Possession with Intent to Deliver could face a School Zone Mandatory based upon the location of the sale. In PA, if a drug delivery occurs or drugs are possessed with the intent to deliver within 1000 feet of school property, you could face a mandatory minimum 2 year state prison sentence even if you have no prior drug convictions or prior criminal record.
Moreover, Youth/School Enhancements may apply under the same circumstances of a School Zone Mandatory. Ultimately, if drugs are sold or possessed with the intent to sell them within 1000 feet of school property, the standard penalties you would face for a drug transaction outside of a school zone could be increased by 12 to 36 months in a state penitentiary for a transaction within a School Zone. Additionally, if it is alleged that the drugs were sold to a minor, this same School Zone Enhancement could be applied.
Drug & Gun Mandatory Sentences
A Drug & Gun Mandatory Minimum Sentence is triggered by the possession or presence of a firearm in close proximity at the time of the drugs were sold or possessed with the intent to deliver. If sufficient evidence exists for a conviction and to show that a gun was possessed or in close proximity during the commission of the offense, a 5 year mandatory minimum state prison sentence could be imposed. If such minimum sentence was imposed, it would result ina minimum prison term of at least 5 to 10 years in a state facility.