Drugs and Controlled Substances
To prove a charge of simple possession, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- the defendant knowingly and deliberately/intentionally possessed a controlled substance (without a valid prescription), and
- the defendant knew the drug was an illegal controlled substance, and
- the defendant had actual control or possession of the drug.
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana:
- As a first time offender, you may be eligible for the ARD program.
- For 30 grams or less, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and could be sentenced up to 30 days in jail, and ordered to pay a fine up to $500.
- For possession of more than 30 grams, the penalties rise to up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $2,500 with an automatic six month license suspension. Additionally, you could be charged with intent to deliver/distribute.
Penalties for Possession of other Controlled Substances (ex. Cocaine, Heroin, PCP, LSD, Ecstasy/MMDA, Meth), and prescription drugs (ex. Vicodin, Oxycontin) or illegal steroids:
- Up to one year in prison, and/or a $5,000 fine first (1st) offense
- Up to two years in prison for a second (2nd) offense
- Up to three years in prison for a third (3rd) offense
- Possession of more than five grams of crack (cocaine) may be subject to a minimum penalty of 5 years in prison.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Intent to distribute:
The categories and penalties for Manufacturing, Delivering, or Possession with Intent to Deliver a controlled substance are related to the specific drug. Most substances are categorized by the federal drug Schedule (I-V) classifications.
The penalties for Possession with intent to Deliver or Manufacture a Controlled Substance (sale, delivery or distribution) in Pennsylvania are:
- For a Schedule I or II drug (a narcotic, ex. Heroin) – up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
- For phencyclidines (PCP), methamphetamines (Meth), cocoa (Cocaine) and its derivatives, or Marijuana in excess of 1,000 pounds – up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
- For any other Schedule I, II or III drug not included above – up to 5 years in prison and a up to a $15,000 fine.
- For a Schedule IV drug – up to 3 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- For a Schedule V – up to 1 year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.
Depending on the charges, you can also face separate Federal penalties for drug distribution, sale, or trafficking.
For selling marijuana to a minor, (regardless of the amount) under Pennsylvania law, it can be a felony charge of up to 2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The penalty may be doubled and even tripled if you are also charged with distributing a controlled substances in a school zone. Mandatory sentences may apply if you are convicted.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a drug violation, contact our office today for your FREE consultation.