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Overview of Pennsylvania Drug Possession Laws

In Pennsylvania, it is an ungraded misdemeanor to possess illegal or controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine's, and other drugs. A Client maybe found guilty of drug possession if the district attorney proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the Client knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance.

Defenses to possession of a controlled substance include the following

Lack of intent or Lack of knowledge or Unlawful search and seizure and a doctor prescribed the drugs.

However, keep in mind that even though it is legal to carry a prescription drug loose in PA, most cops do not know that or they will not believe you have a prescription and even though the case will be dismissed down the road, you should always carry them in the original prescription bottle or carry a copy of the prescription with you. Not having one or the other may cause you to be arrested.

Possessing marijuana or narcotics along with scales, plastic baggies, etc. or in large amounts may lead to a felony charge of Possession with intent to deliver, better known as PWID. This charge could and most likely lead to prison time depending on the type and amount of the drug.

Also, if you deliver a drug and that individual overdoses and dies as a result will result in you being charged with a First-Degree Felony with a maximum sentence of forty (40) years in prison.

Penalties and Sentences

Penalties for simple drug possession vary widely depending on the type of drug and how much of it was found in the defendant's possession. Possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana will be an ungraded misdemeanor. This carries a penalty of up to 30 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $500.

For other narcotic drugs, the defendant can be charged with a felony and may receive a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 or more if necessary to exhaust the assets and profits built up from the illegal activity. Depending on the type of drug, the amount found in possession, and the classification the state puts them in, penalties may range from minor probation or fines to lengthy periods in jail and large fines.

Drug Delivery Resulting in Death

1.  Administering, dispensing, delivering, giving, prescribing, selling or distributing any controlled substance

2. with malice aforethought

3. when another person dies as a result of using the substance

Penalty: Felony of the 1st degree: minimum 5 years imprisonment and $15,000.00 fine.

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