Q: If someone has a criminal record that includes possession of substances in another state but then incurs the charges below in Pennsylvania will they be able to avoid jail time with a public defender? The person in question does have a valid diagnosis and prescription for the pain killers on hand. Does this seem like definite jail time or could a public defender offer a plea without jail time? Should a private attorney be retained for something like this? Here is the list of charges recently incurred: 1 35 § 780-113 §§ A16 M Int Poss Contr Subst By Per Not Reg 2 35 § 780-113 §§ A31I M Marijuana-Small Amt Personal Use 3 35 § 780-113 §§ A32 M Use/Poss Of Drug Paraph 4 75 § 3802 §§ D2* M DUI: Controlled Substance – Impaired Ability – 1st Offense 5 75 § 3301 §§ A S Fail To Keep Right
A: No one can answer this question with any precision as much more information is needed. For example, whether there are any defenses, what the sentencing guidelines are, the position of the police and the DA. As far as a general prognosis, having prior possession of controlled substance charges and new DUI and drug charges, which according to you, are misdemeanors, this person most likely is not looking at any serious jail time. If handled correctly, this person could receive a probation sentence which will address drug counselling and rehabilitation with a negotiated plea. The prior out of state conviction will count toward his or her prior record score. The county DA will examine the other state prior charges and weigh them in accordance with the most similarly graded PA crimes in arriving at a prior record score. If the person is out on bond, it is important that they are involved in treatment and stay in treatment before they go to court.