Everything You Should Know About Drug Possession Laws in Pennsylvania
Being in possession of an illegal drug can come with stiff penalties, which is why you should be aware of state laws regarding drug possession. In 2010, there were more than 56,000 arrests for drug abuse violations, which goes to show just how prevalent this issue is. If you have been arrested for a drug abuse violation and would like some help with representing your case, our attorneys at Kusturiss Law can provide you with the assistance you need.
Drug Possession Laws in Pennsylvania
In the state of Pennsylvania, it’s considered a crime to be in possession of certain controlled or illegal substances, such as cocaine or marijuana. If you are arrested for being in possession of one of these drugs, it’s up to the prosecutor to prove that you intentionally or knowingly acquired such a substance. Charges might not be brought if the defendant is in possession of a valid prescription to go along with the drug. The penalties that a person can receive for being in possession of an illegal or a controlled substance depend largely on the amount and type of the drug.
Defenses That Are Commonly Used
There are several different defenses that are commonly used for drug possession charges, which mainly include a lack of knowledge or intent to possess the drug. It’s possible that the substance came into a person’s possession unknowingly under certain circumstances. Another defense that’s regularly used is that there was an insufficient amount of the drug in the defendant’s possession. Some of the additional defenses that are commonly used for drug possession charges include an unlawful search and seizure of the drugs, entrapment issues, the drug being prescribed by a doctor, and the defendant having a license that allows him or her to carry the drug.
Potential Penalties to Consider
When you’re charged with possession of an illegal or a controlled substance, the charge could be a misdemeanor or felony. Penalties can vary substantially depending on the type of drug as well as how much was in your possession. For instance, having less than 30 grams of marijuana is considered to be a minor misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 30 days in prison as well as fines of up to $500. If the drug is considered to be a narcotic drug like cocaine or heroin, the fines and penalties are typically much higher. For possession of a narcotic drug, it’s possible to be charged with a felony.
These felony charges can come with a jail sentence of up to 15 years as well as fines that amount to as much as $250,000. The fines could be higher if there were any profits or assets that were built up from the illegal drug possession. Keep in mind that the higher penalties typically apply to the selling of a drug. If a person is caught in possession of a drug like cocaine, the penalties in Pennsylvania typically involve a misdemeanor charge that comes with up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. These penalties will be more severe for subsequent offenses. When looking at the same possession charge for cocaine, a subsequent offense comes with as much as three years in jail and $25,000 in fines.
How Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Assist You
Since the penalties for drug possession differ substantially depending on how much was in your possession and the type of drug, our criminal defense attorneys can help you build a strong defense that takes every facet of the case into account. Our lawyers at Kusturiss Law have garnered an extensive amount of experience in handling drug possession cases, which means that we understand which defenses are most effective and how they could apply to your case. We want to help you reach a favorable outcome.
If you’re in need of an attorney to help with your drug possession case, call our criminal defense lawyers in Media today at (610) 565-0240 so that we can provide you with quality representation.