Drug possession is a serious charge that can result in harsh penalties, including fines and jail time. A conviction for possession of cocaine can be particularly devastating, often resulting in lifelong consequences that can impact a person’s rights. However, being arrested for cocaine possession does not mean you are guilty, and you have a right to fight the charges.
For nearly 20 years, the attorneys at The Zeiger Firm have protected the rights of people charged with drug possession in Pennsylvania. We know these charges can take a toll on your personal life and mental health because we’ve helped many people in similar positions. That is why our legal team aggressively advocates for every client, working tirelessly in pursuit of the best outcome in their case. If you are facing cocaine possession charges, contact our drug defense attorneys to discuss your legal rights. We can evaluate your case for free during an initial consultation.
Pennsylvania Cocaine Laws
Possession of cocaine for recreational use is illegal throughout the United States. Pennsylvania is no exception. Under state law, it is unlawful to possess any controlled substance, which includes cocaine. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning that, while it may have medicinal benefits, it has a high potential for abuse.
Cocaine-Related Offenses in Philadelphia
There are various cocaine-related offenses under Pennsylvania law. They include:
Pennsylvania law prohibits possession of any controlled substance unless it is obtained with a valid prescription order. Generally, the possession, use, and consumption of cocaine is a misdemeanor offense. First-time offenders may face fines of up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail. Subsequent offenses can carry harsher penalties, including fines of up to $25,000 and up to three years in prison.
Possession with Intent to Deliver, Manufacturing, Delivery, or Sale of Cocaine
Under Pennsylvania law, a person can also face charges for possessing cocaine with intent to deliver, manufacture cocaine, deliver cocaine, or sell cocaine. The severity of cocaine charges will depend on the amount of cocaine in a person’s possession and other factors.
Possession with intent to deliver, or PWID, and delivering cocaine are felonies. Felony penalties are much more severe than simple possession, including longer jail sentences and much higher fines. The specific penalties for PWID will depend on the amount of cocaine in a person’s possession when they are arrested. In general, the first offense for PWID may result in a minimum of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine if the amount of cocaine is less than 2 grams. A PWID conviction for possessing 2 to 10 grams of cocaine will result in a minimum of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The penalty for PWID for over 10 grams of cocaine is a minimum four-year prison sentence.
If a person is found to be in possession of a substantial amount of cocaine, law enforcement may have reason to believe they intend to distribute it and charge them with drug trafficking. Federal mandatory minimums for cocaine trafficking apply and depend on the quantity in a person’s possession and whether the person is a first-time offender. In general, the penalties are as follows:
- Less than 500 grams – A maximum of 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million
- 500 to 4,999 grams – A minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison and fines of up to $2 million for an individual offender
- Five kilograms or more – A minimum of 10 years to life in prison and fines of up to $4 million for an individual offender
What You Should Do If You’ve Been Charged with Cocaine Possession
If you are charged with cocaine possession, remember that you have legal rights and are innocent until proven guilty. Do not discuss your case with law enforcement without an attorney present. Anything you say could be used against you. Contact an experienced cocaine defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Everyone has legal rights, including those who are charged with a crime. However, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side to ensure those rights are protected. If you are facing criminal charges for cocaine possession in PA, it is imperative to have effective legal representation. A conviction for cocaine-related charges will have lifelong consequences that could affect your job prospects, educational opportunities, and even your right to vote, not to mention the stigma associated with a drug conviction.
You need a skilled criminal defense attorney to fight for you aggressively. When you hire an attorney with The Zeiger Firm, you can count on us to:
- Take the time to get to know you, answer your questions, and explain your legal options
- Investigate the circumstances of your case to determine whether you have a defense against the charges, including a lack of knowledge or a lack of intent
- Gather evidence that will weaken the prosecution’s case, including discrepancies, mishandling of evidence, and civil rights violations
- Examine police reports to determine whether law enforcement followed proper procedures
- Build a solid case to negotiate a reduction in your charges, reduce your sentence, or circumvent mandatory minimum sentences
- Prepare to take your case to trial, if necessary, to get you justice
Get Legal Help from The Zeiger Firm
If you are facing cocaine possession charges or other cocaine-related criminal charges in Pennsylvania, you need an attorney on your side who has extensive experience in criminal defense and a thorough knowledge of state and federal law. At The Zeiger Firm, we have helped clients in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania successfully fight criminal charges for nearly 20 years. We understand that your freedom is at stake, so we will work tirelessly for the best outcome in your case. Contact our office for a free, confidential consultation on your legal options with a Pennsylvania cocaine defense lawyer.