In Pennsylvania the Legislature has added a provision to the sentencing guidelines which allows the Commonwealth to seek increased penalties when a person engages in criminal conduct involving drugs and guns. This provision was generally aimed at violent criminals who involved guns in their illegal sale of drugs. However this mandatory minimum can also be applied to non-violent offenders and if invoked by the Commonwealth, it calls for a mandatory sentence of five years whenever a person is convicted of a drug offense and the Commonwealth demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time of the offense:
1) the convicted person had a firearm on their person or within their reach;
2) a co-conspirator of the convicted person had a firearm on their person or within their reach; or
3) a firearm was in “close proximity to the controlled substance.”
What this means is if you are convicted, you are requried to be sentenced to a minimum sentence of five years total confinement and does not permit the court to exercise any discretion in whether or not to apply this mandatory minimum.
In Pennsylvania, all sentences must be expressed in terms of maximum/minimum sentences. Therefore, any person sentenced under this enhancement must receive a minimum sentence of five to ten years, and the decision to release the prisoner is placed in the hands of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
If you or someone you love are facing drug charges and a weapon was involved contact the Law Office of John E. Kusturiss, Jr., P.L.L.C. today. Let one of our experienced attorneys review your case and discuss with you the possible application of the above referenced mandatory minimum. Don’t get caught off guard, take the time today to hire an experienced attorney that can protect your rights today!