Illegal drug use in public spaces is always a serious offense. However, there are additional laws and policies intended to limit the presence of drug use near children. Therefore, those who get caught using, buying or selling drugs in close proximity to schools or in other drug-free zones are likely to face even harsher penalties than others accused of the same offense.
Harsher laws near schools are meant to protect impressionable children and prevent dealers from targeting them. Children have the right to be protected from illegal activity and illegal drug use, so the law tries to limit the exposure that children have to drug abuse as much as possible.
What are the drug-free zone laws in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, drug-free school zones laws extend for 1000ft in all directions around a school. This means that if you are found to be engaging in illegal drug activity within 1000ft of a school, you may be subject to enhanced penalties for the crime when you plead guilty or end up convicted.
The law differs widely between states, but in Pennsylvania the drug-free zone law will apply to those who are found to be in possession of a drug with the intent to deliver, those who get caught while delivering drugs or those who are selling them. The accused will face a minimum mandatory sentence of 2 years.
A common defense to this charge is the defendant stating that they were unaware of the drug-free zone policy. If you are concerned about the implications of drug-free zone laws, you should make sure to conduct thorough research on how the law applies to you.
Source: Sentencing Project, "Drug Free Zone Laws," accessed Jan. 10, 2018