What is the punishment for drug possession in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2022

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What is the punishment for drug possession in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2022 | Criminal Law

Pennsylvania law prohibits the possession of designated substances. If you get cited for drug possession, your punishment depends on various factors.

The law distinguishes punishment for felony possession instead of just having an illegal substance on your person. Other factors include if you have previously gotten convicted of an offense and if you have any defense.

Felony possession

Under Pennsylvania law, possession of certain drugs, such as cocaine and meth, is a felony. In addition, having over 1,000 pounds of marijuana is a felony. Under the statute, the maximum sentence is up to 25 years in jail and fined as high as $250,000 if the judge finds that you intended to distribute the illegal substance.

Misdemeanor possession

If you get caught holding certain illicit drugs, the police can charge you with simple possession. Drugs such as marijuana, hashish and heroin are in the category that does not result in a felony charge unless you have over a certain amount. The penalty for a simple possession charge depends on if it is your first offense. The first time you get caught, the maximum punishment is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. For a second offense, you face a potential penalty of three years jail time and up to a $25,000 fine.

To get a conviction, the prosecutor must show that you knew that you had possession of an illegal substance.

Drug possession is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. A conviction for simple or felony possession can negatively impact your life.

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