Criminal charges are possible related to the abuse of prescription drugs and the illegal sale of prescription drugs. It is both illegal to use prescription drugs without a prescription that is valid and to distribute prescription drugs that are illegally obtained without a valid prescription and there are potential criminal penalties for doing both. Potential penalties and consequences for any type of drug charges can be severe.
Drug charges are always serious charges that carry potentially stiff consequences and penalties. A good criminal defense may be able to reduce the charges the accused individual is facing, or reduce the potential penalties the accused individual is facing, so accused individuals should always be familiar with their criminal defense rights and options.
Felony criminal charges are serious criminal charges which can deprive the accused individual of their freedom and future. Individuals who are facing felony charges may wonder what felony charges are and why they are so serious. In general, felony charges are considered the most serious types of criminal charges and can be punished by a year or greater in prison.
There are numerous criminal charges that individuals can be accused of and wind up facing which is why it is important for accused individuals to know their criminal defense rights and protections and be familiar with the different charges they might face. One category of crimes falls under the RICO Act which stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It targets racketeering activities.
Criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, the accused are often convicted in the court of public opinion long before being convicted in the court of law. This is especially true for those accused of violent crimes, such as murder, domestic assault and sex crimes. Attorney Bernard J. Brown is dedicated to protecting defendants' rights during the entire legal process and ensuring that they are informed of all their legal options.
The Philadelphia district attorney recently announced that certain criminal defendants will no longer have to pay cash bail. The district attorney's office hopes that this new policy will address socioeconomic and racial inequalities caused by the present pre-trial system. The district attorney notes that the cash bail system disproportionately affects low-income people and people of color.
A previous blog post discussed legal defenses to a child pornography offense in Pennsylvania. Defendants may avoid conviction if they accidentally viewed the prohibited material, if they possessed the material for a bona fide educational, scientific, governmental or judicial purpose or if the alleged victim was over the age of 18. The laws of criminal procedure, such as the exclusionary rule, apply to criminal defendants facing child pornography as well as other criminal charges.
A previous blog post discussed the scope of a valid search warrant. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, law enforcement must obtain permission from the court to search a person or their property. However, there are some exceptions to this requirement, including consent, emergency, searches incident to arrest and plain view.
Pennsylvanians and others across the country who are under reasonable suspicion of committing a crime may be subject to search and seizure. Criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty and are shielded from unreasonable searches and seizures by the Fourth Amendment. Any evidence that is obtained from an unlawful search and seizure is considered "fruit of the poisonous tree" and cannot be introduced in court.
Criminal convictions may result in penalties other than incarceration. Those convicted of criminal charges in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may receive alternative sentences, such as a suspended sentence, probation, fines, restitution, community service or pretrial diversion. Judges have discretion whether to impose an alternative sentence based on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant's age, criminal history and degree of remorse.