You are not a drug dealer or a junkie


Are you innocent, a drug dealer, a drug user or just in the wrong place at the wrong time? PWI charges in PA

A possession with intent to deliver (PWI or PWID) charge is basically the government calling you a drug dealer. Furthermore, the government will treat you like a drug dealer. Moreover, the government will try to deny you bail. Next, they will try to give you long prison sentences. Finally, they may confiscate or try to forfeit cars, electronics or even houses. What you need is the best drug defense lawyer. That’s us.

Lots of times, it is all about being in the wrong place, at the wrong time with the wrong people. We get that. 

Additional recommended reading:

When selecting which attorney to hire, please consider:

  • Can you call anytime and talk to a live person?
  • Do they offer payment plans with no credit checks?
  • Will your attorney be attentive and explain what’s going on?

At The McShane Firm, we answer yes to all of these questions. We strive to provide you with a great customer service experience during this tough time.

What you lose with a conviction

What you need to know now:


Group-of-young friends-at-summer festival-drug-dealing
The law says that even “sharing drugs” where no money changes hands is drug dealing in PA

What are the maximum sentences for PWI or possession of drugs in Pennsylvania?

It all depends. For instance, it depends on your prior record, what types drugs the government claims you had, and even how much of the drugs they claim you had. Below are some free links for information on PWI penalties and drug charges consequences in Pennsylvania. With that, you can start to get the answers you need:

In particular, what you will find helpful is this information on state based prosecution for drug offenses and maximum penalties for drug offenses in Pennsylvania:

Additional recommended reading: A primer on Federal drug sentencing

What is The McShane Difference?

  • We take time to understand your personal needs and goals. Then we cater our legal strategy to fit you.
  • We care about you. We listen and return phone calls. We will take time to explain things so you are not left anxious in the dark.
  • We will make this as easy as possible. We will try to minimize the number of times you have to be in court which means less disruption of your work and family life.

Does this sound like what you are looking for in an attorney? If yes, then take the next step and call (717) 657-3900.

If I am charged with PWI in Pennsylvania, can my bail be reduced?

Clearly, yes. Most importantly, the very first job for a drug defense lawyer is: get the client out of jail. There are a number of ways. For example, the best drug defense is actually playing offense. For instance, when we are there with you at the preliminary arraignment which is the first time the local judge (called a Magisterial District Judge) hears the case, we can usually get release on non-monetary or ROR bail. Also, it makes a very positive impression and leads to lower bail if you have a lawyer there with you as you either surrender yourself or as the police arrest you.

We offer a free 24/7 emergency line. If you are arrested, you call us and work out the details of representation.

In addition, we help you put your best foot forward from the very beginning. For instance, we start to fight the “no-good drug dealer” story the government wants to tell. Specifically, as the judge considers bail, we tell the judge about all of the good things you do. But don’t worry if it all happened too fast and you didn’t have time to get a lawyer. We will still help. For one thing, even the judge sets high bail initially, we can get bail reduced in most cases.

If I am on probation in PA, will a simple drug possession charge put in jail for violating my probation?

If you are on probation or parole, you definitely need a drug defense lawyer

Yes. Specifically, several of the standard and nearly automatic conditions of probation or parole apply. They include:

  • refrain from breaking any state, local or federal laws,
  • report any contact with law enforcement to your probation and parole officer, and
  • not to use or possess any illegal drugs

If the government charges you with a drug offense and you are on probation or parole, probation and parole agents can detain you for an alleged violation. So, if you receive a summons or citation in the mail for possessing drugs and you are on probation or parole, you need an experienced drug defense lawyer immediately like us who can try to prevent your being put in prison on a detainer until the case is over.

Our Clients are entitled to a Bill of Rights which states:

  • Our clients have the right to expect, we will be proactive in communication. You will hear it from us first. We will return all phone calls, texts and emails promptly.
  • Our clients have the right to expect plain speaking, straight shooting. No B. S.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to do it right the first time, every time.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to be on time and professionally prepared for all court appearances, and all meetings.
  • Our clients have the right to expect that they will be fully informed at all times.

This is our promise to you. Call today to get us on your side: (717) 657-3900.

Additional recommended reading: County Probation and Parole violations

If I am on state parole in PA, can my lawyer lift my detainer if I am charged with PWI or PWID?

Most folks will agree that state probation or parole is the worst. Unless you deal with the state probation and parole system every single day like we do, they will give you the run-around and will run you over. Specifically, the state system will try to put a “detainer” on you. A detainer is a quasi-criminal charge which allows the state probation and parole officers to take you under detention wherever you are. Moreover, they can lock you up in a local or state prison while your entire new case plays out. As you can imagine, that can take months. You do have rights to hearings where we as your drug defense lawyers can fight for your release or reduce the “back hit” that you would have to serve for the violation.

Will the government “go federal” if I am charged with drugs in PA?

That is always a possibility. What we see generally is that a case will “go federal” if the government claims that:

  • the accused has a large prior record for large scale drug dealing,
  • the defendant is part of a large (and violent) multi-state enterprise,
  • the case involves guns and drugs,
  • the accused has a large amount of drugs and has been operating as a drug dealer for a long time,
  • the defendant is a foreign national and there is some allegation of human trafficking as well as the drugs,
  • you sold laced heroin (with fentanyl or carfentanyl) to someone and that person died and/or
  • the accused has unrelated information of value to the DEA or FBI and they want to “squeeze” cooperation out of the accused.

Does your attorney go to Federal Court too?

One of the very first questions that anyone considering hiring a criminal defense lawyer in a drug dealing case is “Can you go and argue my case if it goes federal?” Not every lawyer has gained admission to the local federal court. Shelling out good money and then find yourself stuck with no lawyer and no money when the case goes federal is a nightmare. The second question should be “How frequently are you in federal court for drug dealing cases?”

If they don’t have drugs, how can they charge me with drug dealing?

The simple is yes. They don’t have to “put drugs on the table” to charge you. The prosecution has built the entire modern practice of drug prosecuting on snitches. Below is a video about how we fight the “no weight, snitch built case.”

Recommended additional readingDefense Lawyer for a snitch and junkie only case

Does The McShane Firm win drug charges?

We do. Consider these real life client success stories (as verified by Avvo):

The best drug defense attorney

Highly recommend to anyone in need of a miracle worker. Knows how to use the system to his clients best interest. Have used other lawyers in past and this one rates top of the list. His rates are reasonable also

And here is another verified review:


Was very pleased with Justin’s ability to save my arse from Harrisburg police. Was very satisfied with his knowledge of my case. A real professional. Highly recommend. He also was reasonable in his rate and is willing to work with customers on payment.


What about a suppression hearing?

A suppression hearing is a type of court hearing where the drug defense lawyer argues to the judge that the government did something illegal in either arresting you or seizing evidence. The two main types of suppression hearings are:

  1. where your lawyer argues that the government did not legally arrest you. For instance, your lawyer argues that the government doesn’t have enough evidence to prosecute you (called a writ of habeas corpus). In another example, your lawyer argues that there was insufficient probable cause to arrest you for the charge.
  2. where your lawyer argues that the government took evidence illegally. This has so many possibilities that it is almost endless. The government did not get a search warrant for your house where they found drugs, for example. Law enforcement didn’t read you your rights even though they arrested you and asked you questions about the crime, for instance. Typically, it might involve the physical evidence such as drugs or money. Moreover, sometimes it can be about the science such as the chemical identification of the drug, fingerprints, DNA, ion scans of the money and so on. The legality of the stop and the search of a car is a big one.

 If you pick the wrong attorney who doesn’t know the law, you lose. It is just that simple. We know the law because we make a weekly podcast of the appeals court decisions called Pennsylvania Case Law Update While You Drive Podcast. Hundreds of judges and lawyers listen to it every week. Why go with a clueless cheap drug defense attorney?


In conclusion, what you need to know about PWI or PWID charges in Pennsylvania is that it will not go away on its own. Moreover, your attorney needs to be aggressive. The penalties for drug charges in PA depend upon your prior record, the type of drug involved and how much. Bail has to be the first priority of any drug charge defense strategy. If you are on probation and parole, then the government can and will try to “detain” you (hold you until the new charges are settled). We can fight against this. Finally, you need lawyers like us who can operate in both the federal and state courts in case the case “goes federal.”

We can and will defend you in drug cases. Call us 717-657-3900.

Additional recommended reading:

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