Common Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania17 Aug 2020, by Drug Crimes in
Written by Timothy Czekaj
Although recent polling in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania indicates nearly two-thirds of residents would welcome legalized weed, marijuana-related offenses are still against the law, as are several other common drug crimes.
It’s important to know what these common drug crimes are according to state law, especially as laws surrounding marijuana use are changing rapidly in some jurisdictions. Ignorance of the law is not a defense so the more you know the better.
If you are charged with a state drug offense, you’ll need the experienced drug crime lawyers of Czekaj Law, LLC as soon as possible. Don’t make the mistake of thinking some drug crimes are too minor to warrant retaining defense counsel. A criminal record for even a minor drug offense can result in collateral damage to career choices, housing, gun rights, and even education goals. More serious offenses carry heavy penalties and you won’t want to face them alone.
Charges Related to Drugs
Under state law, drugs (also called controlled substances) are divided into five categories that range from those with the highest potential for abuse and have no medical use to those that have a low chance of abuse and are acceptable for medical use. For example, Schedule I drugs include opiates, heroin, hallucinogens such as LSD and ecstasy, and marijuana. Schedule V drugs, on the other extreme, include those used in U.S. prescriptions and over the counter medications, like codeine.
If you are arrested with any controlled substance on you or found in your home or vehicle, you could be charged with simple possession. State law forbids intentionally or knowingly possessing controlled substances. You can only be in lawful possession if you have a valid prescription. A first offense for drug possession is generally a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fine up to $5,000. Get caught doing it again? You’re looking at a possible prison sentence of 3 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
Courts give a bit of leniency, usually, with a first offense. But don’t expect much if you have a previous conviction, you were under the influence of drugs while driving, or you were near a school with drugs. The presence of any such aggravating factors need to be addressed by a criminal defense attorney.
When it comes to marijuana, however, the law is different when it comes to penalties for simple possession. If you’re carrying less than 30 grams, it’s a misdemeanor that could result in jail for up to 30 days, a fine of up to $500, and possible license suspension of 6 months. Greater amounts of weed result in greater punishment. That’s why it’s so important to have our firm represent you.
In addition to simple possession, depending on the circumstances, you could be charged under Pennsylvania law with drug possession with intent to deliver. This charge results if police believe there is evidence that you were intentionally or knowingly manufacturing, delivering, or possessing controlled substances with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell one or more of them. A charge like this is commonly made if there is a large amount of drugs involved and they appeared to be packaged for sale.
Your penalties for conviction of drug possession with intent to deliver are very fact-specific to your case. To fully understand the punishment you might face, contact us.
Another common drug charge under state law is possession of drug paraphernalia. You can’t by law possess with the intent to use any drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia is defined as anything that could be used for planting, growing, manufacturing, testing, storing, ingesting, or otherwise introducing into your body any controlled substance. The category includes things like bongs, pipes, scales, and rolling papers. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that could land you in jail for up to a year and result in a fine of up to $2,500. And those penalties increase if you supplied a minor with drug paraphernalia.
Let Us Help You Resolve Your Pennsylvania Drug Charges
Even misdemeanor drug charges can derail your future. More serious ones even more so. When you have a drug offense on your record getting a job is more difficult, you may be denied housing in certain places, you may lose your right to possess a firearm, and it might even preclude you from getting into the college of choice or the military. Our experienced drug defense attorney will fight to get your charges dismissed and if that’s not possible, to have them reduced for the best possible outcome.