Articles Posted in Scientific Defenses

October 18, 2018

Drug Crimes In Pennsylvania and How We Know Defend Them the Right Way

By Brian Manchester

Types of Drug Cases We Defend

For 18 years I have been representing people accused of various drug crimes in Pennsylvania to include the following:

  • Drug Possession/Possession of Controlled Substances (Actual Possession, Constructive Possession)
  • Drug Production
  • Drug Trafficking/Operating as a Drug Trafficker
  • Marijuana Cultivation/Growing Marijuana
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Bongs, Pipes, Drug Equipment)
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute/Deliver (PWID)
  • Prescription Fraud
  • Selling Drugs to Minors
  • Synthetic Opioids (Alph-PVP, Bath salts, cathinones)
  • Synthetic Marijuana (K2, Spice)
  • Methamphetamine Manufacturing

My firm has experience investigating alleged crimes involving many types of narcotics and controlled substances, ranging from commonly charged substances like cocaine and marijuana (pot, weed, cannabis) to less frequently prosecuted substances such as peyote, DMT, khat, ecstacy.

We understand the unique sentencing laws and drug diversion programs that apply to each substance and use our nuanced understanding of Pennsylvania’s drug laws to fight for outcomes that are favorable to our clients.

In Pennsylvania controlled substances are categorized by schedules. Below is a list of the five different schedules and some of the drugs listed under those schedules that our clients frequently are charges with:

Schedule Controlled Substances 1 through 5

Schedule I Controlled Substances

    • Ecstasy (MDMA)
    • GHB
    • Heroin
    • LSD (Acid)
    • Marijuana
    • Peyote
    • Psilocybin Mushrooms
  • Schedule II Controlled Substances
    • Adderall
    • Cocaine
    • Fentanyl
    • Methamphetamine
    • OxyContin
    • PCP Charges (Angel Dust)
    • Vicodin
  • Schedule III Controlled Substances
    • Ketamine
    • Steroids
  • Schedule IV Controlled Substances
    • Ambien
    • Valium
    • Xanax
  • Schedule V Controlled Substances
    • Cough Syrup
Penalties for Drug Offenses

The penalties for drug charges depend on factors like what type of substance is involved, the quantity of the substance involved, and the nature of the alleged offense. Some drug crimes are graded as misdemeanors, while others are prosecuted as high-level felonies carrying years or decades of prison time.

Other penalties that can result from a drug-related conviction include probation, loss of your driver’s license, and the creation of a criminal record, which can cause problems when you are applying for jobs, loans, student programs, training programs, or housing.

Most Lawyers Focus on Entrapment – But We Focus on Test Results

Most lawyers focus on how the government came into possession of the drug evidence (search and seizure) or if the defendant was entrapped. Often times the evidence can’t be suppressed, so generally that leaves only plea negotiations and no ability to fight the charges. However, there is another defense that few lawyers ever explore let alone know how to do and that is to attack the test results.

The testing of drugs is a complex affair and there are many different methods of doing so. Some of the methods are gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, thin-layer chromatography, and many more.

These methods generate a lot of data, in which you can find many ways to challenge the test results.

Because Manchester & Associates regularly obtains this data and looks into the test results, we’ve obtained many favorable results for our clients when all other defenses were not even available to them.

Free Strategy Session Available

If you or are a loved one are facing drug related charges, it’s important to call Manchester & Associates immediately for a Free Strategy Session.

Posted in: Criminal Defense Blog , Drugs , Scientific Defenses ,

September 13, 2018

Underage DUI

By Brian Manchester

Two Crimes  For The Price Of One

If you are under the age of 21 and consumed alcohol before driving, you knew you were in trouble the moment you got pulled over and may face underage DUI charges. Driving under the influence is illegal in Pennsylvania, but so is underage drinking. What happens when you are accused of both?

Underage DUIs

The first thing you need to know is that any driver under the age of 21 who is arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania is automatically charged under Pennsylvania’s high BC tier. Even if this is your very first offense and even if you only had a minimal amount of alcohol in your system, your punishment is going to be severe.

The minimum penalties at the High Impairment tier include at least two days (and up to 6 months) in jail, a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5,000, and a 12 month license suspension. This means you won’t be driving again for at least a year.

The Consequences Don’t End There

Drivers under the age of 25 – even those with clean records – pay a lot more for car insurance than older drivers do. If you factor in an underage drinking DUI, your insurance rates will skyrocket; that is, if you can even find someone willing to insure you.

Even worse, your DUI conviction will be noted on your permanent, public criminal record, which can be accessed by all future employers, landlords, lenders, neighbors and anyone else with an interest in your past. Having a DUI conviction on your record can even affect your future interactions with college admission departments and could potentially impede your ability to obtain a job in your chosen profession. If you are in college, you can also face disciplinary action from your school.

Hire An Experienced Attorney

If you are facing DUI charges and are underage, you should hire experienced attorney that knows the ins-and-outs of DUI cases, including:

  • How police test for DUI (sobriety tests), and knowledge of how to point out inaccurate police testimonies.
  • Scientific knowledge of blood tests and how faulty they are, with experience using the equipment used in the lab.
  • For university students, you must hire an attorney experienced in student disciplinary proceedings.

If you are looking for an experienced attorney who is experienced in debunking police tests, blood tests, and is familiar with student disciplinary proceedings, call Brian Manchester at any time for a Free Strategy Session so we can get to know you and help you through the charges set against you.

 

Posted in: Breath Testing , DUI Blog , Scientific Defenses ,

November 13, 2017

Science In Pennsylvania State And Federal Courts

By Brian Manchester

Here at Manchester and Associates we take a multi-layer approach to every case that we handle. In addition to the traditional legal approach by looking at the given facts and comparing them to the laws we look deeper into the actual science involved in every case; from DUI testing, to Drug testing, to crime scene recreations, and forensic computer analysis, just to name a few areas. Science plays a key in how we view a case and advise our clients.

The Courts have their process to look at how science is involved in the legal field but this process is problematic to say the least. Our US Supreme Court Justice has stated that Lawyers and Judges often do not have the background to correctly assess data, scientific research, or technology. This is true most Lawyers and Judges have no idea what the science is behind many different kinds of evidence and take the evidence at face value. This can be very dangerous to the Defendant’s involved in these cases. The Courts and Judges who do not like science typically say well this is how we have always done it. I say to that just because you have done something wrong for decades does not make it right. Bite-mark analysis, microscopic hair comparison, and arson evidence have all been discredited and lack scientific foundation, but people have been convicted and have gone to jail because “experts” testified that this evidence was solid. People have been put to death over bad science, overzealous prosecutors, and “experts” who care more about getting the win then the true science of the evidence. Because of this a lot of junk science has been getting to our Courtrooms. This evidence must be challenged through start and through legal and scientific representation.

Recently a New York Court released the source code for the District Attorney’s office in their DNA analysis process. This type of access to the evidence is exactly what we need to do in the Court systems that will allow for proper criticism of the evidence to make sure that what they are claiming is accurate and true. However this source code is no longer being used by the DA office as it was phased out at the beginning of the year. But it is a start in forcing companies to provide through details in how they are formulating their conclusions and not hiding behind trade secrets. The science behind a piece of evidence can be just as valuable as the law, when being used in the right way.

It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away in you or someone you know is charged with a crime in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

Posted in: Scientific Defenses ,