"Hand-to-Hand" Transaction


Possession With Intent to Deliver (PWID) is the most frequently charged felony drug crime. PWID applies to the unauthorized, "manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, a controlled substance . . . or knowingly creating, delivering or possessing with intent to deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance."

This is the law that most commonly punishes Drug Dealing and Drug Trafficking, and is graded as a felony offense. If you are facing a PWID charge, the police believe they have enough evidence to prove that you dealt drugs or possessed drugs for sale and not personal use.


The penalties associated with a PWID offense depend on the specific drug and quantity at issue:

  • Schedule I or II Controlled/Counterfeit Substances derived from opiate or chemical synthesis: felony punishable by max sentence of up to 15 years and/or a fine of up to $250,000 or both;
  • Phencyclidine, methamphetamine, cocaine and its derivatives, and marijuana in a quantity in excess of 1,000 pounds: felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $100,000, or both;
  • All other Schedule I/II/III Substances: felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail and/or a $15,000 fine;
  • Schedule IV Substance: felony punishable by up to 3 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


Typically, the strongest type of proof in a PWID case is a situation where a person admits to being a drug dealer, or sells drugs in a hand-to-hand transaction to an undercover police officer, or a confidential informant in the presence of a police officer.

However, most PWID cases are not this black and white, and are based upon circumstantial evidence. When the DA does not have direct evidence of drug transactions, they will attempt to prove that you are a drug dealer through circumstantial evidence, including but not limited to:

  • The amount of the drug recovered.
  • The way the drug was packaged.
  • The amount of cash recovered during the arrest or search.
  • Whether or not you had a job at the time of your arrest.
  • Whether or not drug use paraphernalia was found, such as needles and pipes.
  • Whether or not measuring and packaging paraphernalia was found, such as plastic bags, stamp bags, and digital scales.
  • Whether your physical appearance was different from that of a typical drug addict (i.e. no track marks, jaundiced eyes, signs of intoxication).
  • The number of cell phones recovered (i.e. burner phones).
  • Whether incriminating text messages and voicemails were found on any cell phone.
  • Whether "owe sheets" or other bookkeeping measures were discovered.
  • Whether the accused person lived in a different part of the state where drugs are in short supply.
  • Travel arrangements, including the use of rental cars.


Never assume you are guilty of a possession with intent to deliver offense even if you are caught in a drug deal. Drug investigations can be filled with errors and practices which violate your Constitutional rights, which may include:

  • Failing to conduct DNA and fingerprint testing of containers used to hold drugs, including baggie corners, purses, glove compartments, safes, dresser drawers and other common storage items and locations.
  • Lacking probable cause to conduct a search of your person or vehicle.
  • Failing to apply for a search warrant, or obtaining a defective search warrant.
  • Failing to test drug paraphernalia (needles, pipes, bongs, and empty stamp bags) for the presence of controlled substances.
  • Ignoring evidence that the drugs found belonged to someone else.
  • Ignoring evidence demonstrating that you are a drug addict, and not a dealer.
  • Claiming that the presence of cash on your person was obtained through “drug dealing” as opposed to your job.
  • Failing to disclose the identity of a Confidential Informant (CI) who has provided information in return for a great plea deal from the DA.
  • The use of biased narcotics detectives and police officers as experts to testify against you.


Drug Defense Attorney David Zuckerman has the trial experience, negotiation skills, education and ability to defend your drug case from start to finish. As a former Drug Prosecutor, Attorney Zuckerman understands how drug cases are investigated, and will work to exploit all errors in the process to your advantage. Furthermore, in appropriate cases, he will fight to seek your entry into various diversionary and pre-trial programs, which may include:

  • Reduced plea from PWID to a Simple Possession offense.
  • Favorable Early Disposition Program (EDP) plea at Pittsburgh Municipal Court.
  • Entry into a county Drug Court Program.
  • Probation.
  • House Arrest and/or Alternative Housing.
  • State Boot Camp as an alternative to lengthy Mandatory Sentence.

For a free consultation on your drug case, please call 412-447-5580. Weekend and evening appointments available.