Pennsylvania legislators and authorities take drug crimes very seriously. If you are caught possessing even a small amount of an illegal substance, you may find yourself facing potentially harsh penalties, such as fines, jail time, mandatory treatment, probation, community service, and more. The penalties for drug possession vary depending on the type and amount of substance the prosecutor believes you possessed. The penalties become even greater if the prosecutor believes you possessed the substance with the intent to sell it. Whenever you are arrested on suspicion of any type of drug possession, you should always call an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible.

The possible sentencing for possession of marijuana is different from sentencing for possession of other illegal substances, such as heroin, meth, cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, LSD, or prescription drugs (without a prescription). The following are the potential penalties for the misdemeanor charge of simple possession of marijuana:

Amount

Imprisonment

Fine

Less than 30 grams

30 days

$500

More than 30 grams

1 year

$5,000

If you have multiple convictions of marijuana possession, the penalties will increase.

The following are examples of penalties for other types of controlled substances, which increase with each subsequent offense:

Offense

Imprisonment

Fine

1st

1 year

$5,000

2nd

2 years

$5,000 or more

3rd

3 years

$5,000 or more

If you are found in possession of large amounts of any substance, chances are good that a prosecutor will believe you had the intent to distribute and sell the drugs, and will charge you accordingly.

Defenses to Drug Charges

There are defenses an experienced attorney can raise to fight drug possession charges and help you limit or avoid penalties. These include:

  • The drugs belonged to another person
  • The drugs were planted on you
  • The drugs were found due to an unlawful search by law enforcement
  • The forensic lab made an error in the chemical analysis of the substance

You do not want to risk spending time in jail or paying large fines as a result of a drug possession conviction. For this reason, you should always contact Philadelphia drug defense attorney, Brian Zeiger, at The Zeiger Firm for help.

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