As some states begin to decriminalize certain types of drug offenses, Pennsylvania still has severe penalties for various types of offenses from possession to intent to distribute. Drug charges and penalties for drug offenses will vary depending on the type of drugs that are found in your possession. If you or a family member was arrested for a drug offense, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia drug charge defense lawyer. The Law Offices of Lloyd Long understand the uncertainty that can accompany a serious drug charge, and we are here to represent you. Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer Lloyd Long is here to explain the types of drug arrests and drug charges that Pennsylvania specifically targets.
Common Drug Offenses in Pennsylvania
There are several types of drug offenses that you can be charged with in Pennsylvania. However, the most common drug offenses typically involve marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Law enforcement is often concerned with stopping the trafficking of these substances. However, that does not mean you are less likely to be arrested for possession.
Due to the differences between heroin, marijuana, and cocaine, Pennsylvania has different laws pertaining to the possession and trafficking of these drugs. The following is a list that details Pennsylvania’s criminal laws regarding marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.
While marijuana has been approved for medical use within the state, the drug is still illegal in Pennsylvania. Marijuana is still treated as a controlled substance and intentionally or knowingly possessing it can result in being arrested for possession.
Whether you are arrested for marijuana possession will often depend on how much marijuana you are caught with. For example, if you are arrested with 30 grams of marijuana or more, you can be charged with possession. The criminal penalties for possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana is a maximum of one year in jail and $5,000 in criminal fines.
It is important to note that the penalties for these offenses will increase if a defendant is convicted of possession more than once. For example, if you are convicted for a third offense of marijuana possession, you can serve up to three years in prison. Alternatively, if you are caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana with the intent to sell, you can serve up to five years in prison if convicted.
Cocaine also uses weight to determine the severity of a drug charge. For example, if you are arrested with less than two grams of cocaine, you can be sentenced to jail for one year and owe $5,000 in fines. However, if you are arrested with two to ten grams of cocaine in your possession, you can receive a minimum prison sentence of two years. You can also be sentenced to at least four years in prison for being arrested with 100 grams of cocaine. While these penalties are severe, they pale in comparison to federal offenses for possession and trafficking.
Keep in mind that the penalties for first-time drug possession in Pennsylvania may be less severe than repeat offenders. It is also important to note that your driver’s license will be suspended for at least six months for a first-time offense and up to two years for a third offense.
Heroin is likely the most dangerous drug out of the three drugs named above. This is evidenced by Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum of two years in prison for possessing one to five grams of heroin. Additionally, if an individual is arrested with more than five grams of heroin, they can be sentenced to three years in prison.
The reason for these harsh penalties is likely because there is no accepted medical use for heroin in Pennsylvania.
Depending on the number of drugs that you are arrested with and your prior criminal history, you could be eligible for a first-time offender program. These programs are dedicated to providing rehabilitation to first-time offenders so that they are less likely to commit a similar crime in the future. However, if you fail to meet the all terms required for the program, your criminal penalty could be reinstated.
Our Philadelphia Felony Defense Attorney is Ready to Fight for You
If you or a family member is facing a serious drug offense, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia felony defense attorney today. The legal team at the Law Offices of Lloyd Long have a wealth of experience handling several types of drug cases ranging from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute. As a defense attorney and a former prosecutor, Lloyd Long understands the inner workings of Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, and he will utilize that knowledge to represent you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, call the Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171. We answer calls 24 hours a day seven days a week.