Drug laws: Possession, punishment and defense - Part 2 of 3

After receiving a drug possession charge, you may be wondering what kind of punishments you might face if the court convicts you. As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, penalties will often depend on the type of drug possession that occurred. If the court has charged you with possession for personal consumption, the penalties will be much less severe than if it charged you with possession with intent to distribute.

If you or someone you love is facing a drug possession charge, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. A criminal defense attorney in the Lancaster area can help fight against the charges. Read further for information on the possible consequences that come with a drug possession conviction in Pennsylvania.

Type of drug

The type of drug and the quantity that was on your person during the time of your arrest will play a role in the penalties you might face if convicted. For example, under Pennsylvania state law, if you had less than 30 grams of marijuana on you at the time the police charged you, the court considers it an “upgraded misdemeanor.” You could end up with as much as 30 days in jail and possibly owe $500 in fines.

Other narcotics

Other narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin, come with more severe penalties. The court can charge the offender with a felony. Furthermore, the judge might pass a sentence of up to 15 years in jail. Fines will depend on whether or not the offender used drug money to purchase assets. The court could hand down a fine of at $250,000 or more. Any assets or profits that resulted from the drug trade can also be seized.

State legalization

While some states have taken steps to legalize medical and recreational use of marijuana, it is important to remember that in the federal government’s eyes, marijuana is still very illegal. If you are visiting a state that has passed these decriminalization laws, keep in mind that when you are on federal property you could be violating federal drug laws by possessing marijuana.

If law enforcement officers have charged you or a loved one with drug possession, you could be facing very severe consequences. Since the drug laws in Pennsylvania are strict, it is important to have a strong defense.

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