Possession of certain controlled substances is a crime in Pennsylvania. However, there are factors that can influence the penalties you may face for a drug possession conviction. Understanding the law and your rights is critical if you’ve been charged with a crime. If you’re facing possession charges, it’s vital to contact an experienced drug crime lawyer right away.
Factors Considered in Drug Possession Cases
There are different types of drug possession charges in PA: simple possession or possession with intent to deliver. What you are charged with will depend on several different factors including:
- The type of substance involved
- The amount in your possession
- Whether you intended to distribute
- Past criminal convictions
Under Pennsylvania law, simple possession is usually charged when prosecutors assume the drug in someone’s possession was intended for personal use. Although simple possession is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, you can still face harsh penalties.
Felony Drug Possession
Possession of meth, cocaine, PCP, isomers, and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana can result in felony charges, depending on the amount in your possession. A conviction for possession with intent to deliver carries up to $250,000 in fines and up to 25 years in prison. In some cases, the fines may be more if the profits from illegal drug activity exceeded $250,000.
Types of Drugs
Marijuana: Simple possession of up to 30 grams can lead to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Possession of more than 30 grams comes with a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $5000 fine.
THC or Hashish: Maximum imprisonment of 30 days and/or a maximum fine of $500. Possession of more than eight grams may result in one-year incarceration and/or a maximum fine of $5000.
Oxycodone: While it’s legal to possess this drug if you have a valid prescription, simple possession of oxycodone without a prescription can result in up to a year in prison or a $5,000 fine. If you’re convicted of intent to sell, the penalty can include at least two years in prison and a fine of $5,000 or more.
Heroin: Heroin possession carries harsher penalties, as it is subject to mandatory minimum sentencing. You may face up to one year in prison and a fine of $5,000, even if you have less than one gram of heroin and it’s your first offense. For repeat offenses and intent to distribute, penalties increase.
Cocaine: For a first offense, you may be subject to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. A second offense can result in up to three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine. If you’re convicted of cocaine possession with the intent to sell, you can be charged with a felony that brings up to 15 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Methamphetamine: Simple possession of fewer than five grams of methamphetamine can result in up to one year in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. If convicted of possession with intent to sell, you can face at least three years in prison, depending on the amount.
MDMA (ecstasy or molly): Penalties for MDMA include one year in prison and/or a $5,000 fine for a first-time offense. If you’re in possession of more than 100 grams with the intent to sell, you could face at least five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
PCP: Simple possession of fewer than two grams of PCP can result in up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you’re convicted of PCP possession with the intent to sell, you may face two years of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000 for up to 10 grams. For more than 100 grams, you can face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
The experienced team of drug crime attorneys at our full-service law firm is dedicated to fighting for our clients and ensuring your rights are protected.