Pennsylvania prison employee charged with felony drug possession

A 27-year-old prison employee arriving to work his shift on Nov. 10 was arrested and charged with three felony drug charges: possession with intent to deliver, possession of contraband and possession of drugs and paraphernalia. Prison officials declined to divulge the man's position at the prison. No bail has yet been set.

The accused individual, a Hollidaysburg resident, is alleged to have carried a bag containing oxycodone, acetaminophen and oxycontin tablets into Blair County Prison when he arrived for his shift. He was arrested by prison officials, taken to state police barracks and then transported to the Central Booking Center at Blair County Prison.

The severity of the consequences associated with a drug conviction depend on a number of factors, including whether the charge is a first or repeat offense. In some situations, criminal penalties for drug possession, distribution and delivery may be amplified, such as when the crime is committed in a school zone. Pennsylvania law sets mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

Persons facing felony drug possession, distribution or delivery charges could be sentenced to prison time and have fines and probation imposed. A drug conviction may also inhibit a person's ability to obtain or retain employment and housing. Generally, persons with prior drug offenses will be treated more harshly than first time offenders.

Persons facing drug charges should consider enlisting the services of a criminal defense attorney to protect important constitutional rights. An attorney could review the charges, ensuring they appropriately represent the facts alleged by police and prosecutors. An attorney may find flaws in the methods used to arrest or question the accused individual and argue for dismissal of the charges. An attorney could obtain an acquittal if the prosecutor's evidence is weak or negotiate a favorable plea agreement where the prosecutor's evidence is strong.

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, 'Examination of Mandatory Minimum Sentences in Pennsylvania," Aug. 2, 2011

Source: Altoona Mirror, "Blair prison employee faces drug charges", November 11, 2013

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