If you are charged with possession of drugs, you could face serious penalties. For the most common drugs and controlled substances (cocaine, heroin, meth, and many prescription drugs) – not only might you be sent to jail, you could be forced to deal with a criminal record for the rest of your life. (Also see our marijuana possession penalty information page.)
We commonly think of drug possession as a “victimless crime” or one that doesn’t directly hurt anyone in the public realm. But, this doesn’t mean that penalties are any less severe for these offenses. As a matter of fact, the War on Drugs has stood to send thousands to prison for lengthy prison sentences in Pennsylvania alone.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you work through your legal defense options. Even if you admit you are guilty of the offense, you could be entitled to a lenient sentence or possibly an arrangement that would get you help for any addiction problems. In other words, regardless of the circumstances, all hope is not lost.
The penalties for drug possession vary greatly and depend on a number of factors. Everything from your criminal history to the kind and amount of drug you are caught with will play a role in your exact charges and the options that are available to you.
Pennsylvania Drug Possession Laws and Penalties
The term possession doesn’t just refer to something you physically have on your body. You can be charged with possession if you have a controlled substance within your reach or on your property. Even if someone else has drugs in your car, you could ultimately face criminal charges.
The charge you face and the penalty will vary depending on the amount of drugs you have. However, for the most part, the potential penalty is dependant on your criminal record.
This applies whether you are caught with heroin, cocaine, meth, or prescription drugs. Basically, any illegal drug (aside from marijuana) will fall under these standards and potential penalties.
- First Offense: If this is the first time you’ve ever been accused of drug possession, you will likely face misdemeanor charges and up to 1 year in jail with $5,000 in fines.
- Second Offense: If you have a prior conviction on your record, you could be sent to prison for up to 2 years, and be ordered to pay fines.
- Third Offense: If this marks your third criminal possession charge, you could face up to 3 years in prison and fines if convicted.
Pennsylvania Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Penalties
- Up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2500.
Drug Possession Defense Options
Discussing your case with a local defense lawyer will help you determine the best course of action for your case. An attorney can help determine if the search that led to your arrest was lawful or if your rights were somehow violated in the process of your arrest. There are many possibilities that could result in the charges being entirely dropped.
Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case and how we can help you.