Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
18 Pa.C.S. § 7512

Criminal Use of a Communication Facility is often charged in PWID controlled substance prosecutions. Most frequently, the factual basis of the charge is a suspect using a cell phone to communicate will another person to negotiate and/or arrange a drug transaction.

 

What is a Communication Facility?

 

A communication “facility” or “device” is any public or private tool used to transmit a communication, date, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part via wire or signal.

 

The types of communication facilities include, but is not limited to, telephone, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical systems or the mail.

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Section 7512 Defined

 

A person commits a felony of the third degree if that person uses a communication facility to commit, cause or facilitate the commission or the attempt of any crime which constitutes a felony.

 

Every instance where the communication facility is utilized constitutes a separate offense under this section.

 

Analyzing the Elements of Section 7512

 

To convict a person of this offense, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused: (1) committed or attempted to commit a felony offense; and, (2) used a communication facility during the commission or attempt of the offense.

 

Here, it is important to highlight the requirement that the accused must commit or attempt to commit a felony offense. Thus, this crime applies to PWID controlled substance (drug dealing) prosecutions. However, this offense is inapplicable to misdemeanor controlled substance prosecutions. Thus, this offense is not appropriately charged if it is filed against a person using a phone to purchase an illegal drug.

 

Criminal Use of a Communication Facility Defenses

 

In challenging the elements of section 7512, it is important to analyze if, and how, the Commonwealth can prove identity (voice or otherwise) of the person alleged to have made the illegal communication.  Further, the Commonwealth must prove that the communication is criminal in nature.

 

Grading & Maximum of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility

 

Section 7512 is graded as a felony of the third degree. The maximum penalties are seven (7) years incarceration and/or a $15,000.00 fine.

 

Section 7512 Sentencing Ranges & Considerations

 

Sentencing Guidelines

 

The offense gravity score (OGS) of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility is five (5). The chart below illustrates the standard range sentences for the crime. The sentence range is bases on the offender’s prior record score (PRS). Courts can start a sentence at the low of high-end of the standard range. 

Potential for Consecutive Sentence

A Criminal Use of a Communication Facility conviction exposes the offender to the possibility of a prolonged sentence because the penalty can be applied consecutively to a PWID conviction or to a conviction to any other offense. 

A sentence court has the discretion to run the sentences for multiple convictions concurrent or consecutive to each another. 

A sentence is concurrent if the penalty for two or more offenses are being served simultaneously (at the same time).

A consecutive sentence means that the penalty for one offense must be fulfilled before time credit is applied to the penalty for the other offense. In other words, consecutive sentences begin immediately following the completion of another sentence.  

A consecutive sentence involving this offense is also likely to elevate the offender’s PRS.

If you or someone you love has been charges with criminal use of a communication facility in Pennsylvania, please call Lampman Law at 570-371-3737 for a free consultation. 

2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

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Lampman Law practices criminal defense and civil rights in the Counties of: Bradford, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wayne, Wyoming. Lampman Law Office is located in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

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