The Pennsylvania drug laws and criminal court process can be very intimidating. This is especially true if you are charged with a criminal offense. Though many people have the tendency to consider drug possession a fairly minor charge, it is not. Anytime you face potential jail time and a criminal record, it’s a serious matter to be sure.
Being accused of drug possession charges don’t make you a bad person or a stereotypical criminal, though it can feel that way. Charges like these do carry a stigma and it can be quite embarrassing to be accused of possessing drugs. Your defense attorney is there to be your advocate in the system when it seems as if everyone else is judging you.
A drug possession charge can put you behind bars for weeks, months, and even years. In addition, it can cost you your job and can leave you with a permanent criminal record. The long lasting and dramatic impact of these charges can be very serious indeed. Consulting with an attorney about your case can provide insight on how to avoid the worst of the consequences.
Pennsylvania Drug Possession Laws & Penalties
The charge and potential sentence you face for a possession charge depends on the drug you are caught with. Though Pennsylvania drug laws appear to be simple at first glance, like other criminal laws they are complex and can be confusing.
Marijuana possession charges in Pennsylvania vary in severity depending on how much marijuana you are accused of having.
If the charge involves 30 grams or less of pot, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced up to 30 days in jail and $500 in fines. However, if this is your first offense, it’s quite possible to get probation without a verdict, avoiding the possibility of a permanent criminal record.
If you are caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana, you will face up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
If you have multiple similar convictions on your record, these potential penalties can be doubled.
Pennsylvania – Possession of Other Drugs
Other controlled substances carry more serious penalties if convicted. This applies to drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, prescriptions, ecstasy, and LSD.
- First Offense, up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines
- Second Offense, up to 2 years in prison and fines
- Third Offense, up to 3 years in prison and fines
Being accused of a crime is not the same as being convicted—you do have options.
Discussing your case with a local criminal defense lawyer is the best way to determine what defense options are available to you, and to best preserve your freedom and your rights under the law.