Drug Offenses

There are a wide range of drugs offenses which carry penalties from probation to lengthy prison sentences. In Pennsylvania, all drug offenses carry mandatory license suspensions. The only exception to this rule is the crime of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The license suspension for a first- time drug offense is 6 months. A second drug offense carries a suspension of 1 year. Each subsequent conviction carries a 2 year license suspension.

Possession of a small amount of marijuana less than 30 grams

Possession must be for personal use only. This charge is an ungraded misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of 30 days of incarceration and a $500 fine.

Simple possession

This is possession of any controlled substance other than marijuana or possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana. This charge is an ungraded misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of 1 year of incarceration and a $5,000 fine. However, simple possession is a recidivist crime meaning that the penalty increases for subsequent convictions. Subsequent convictions for simple possession carry a maximum sentence of 3 years of incarceration and a $25,000 fine.

Drug Schedule

common Schedule I drugs: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, MDMA, Bath Salts
common Schedule II drugs: Cocaine, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Vicodin, Codeine, Oxycodone, Amphetamines
common Schedule III drugs: Painkillers combined with codeine, Ketamine (Special K), steroids
common Schedule IV drugs: Valium, Xanax, Klonopin
common Schedule V drugs: Cough medicine containing codeine

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

The definition of paraphernalia covers a wide variety of items, but as an example includes any item which is used to store, manufacture, ingest or inhale a controlled substance. This charge is an ungraded misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of 1 year of incarceration and a $2,500 fine.

Posession with Intent to Deliver / Delivery / Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (PWID or "PWI")

PWID is generally an ungraded felony. The maximum sentence is dependent upon the type of controlled substance.

  • Schedule I or II controlled substance that is a narcotic - carries a maximum sentence of 15 years of incarceration and a $250,000 fine - except that a product of methamphetamine or coca leaves carries a maximum sentence of 10 years of incarceration and a $100,000 fine
  • Any other schedule I, II or III controlled substance - carries a maximum sentence of 5 years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine
  • A schedule IV controlled substance - carries a maximum sentence of 3 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine
  • A schedule V controlled substance - an ungraded misdemeanor - carries a maximum sentence of 1 year of incarceration and a $5,000 fine

Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Fraud

This charge is generally an ungraded felony. The maximum sentence is dependent upon the type of controlled substance obtained. This crime usually involves prescription medication.

  • Schedule I or II controlled substance that is a narcotic - carries a maximum sentence of 15 years of incarceration and a $250,000 fine - except that a product of methamphetamine or coca leaves carries a maximum sentence of 10 years of incarceration and a $100,000 fine
  • Any other schedule I, II or III controlled substance - carries a maximum sentence of 5 years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine
  • A schedule IV controlled substance - carries a maximum sentence of 3 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine
  • A schedule V controlled substance - an ungraded misdemeanor - carries a maximum sentence of 1 year of incarceration and a $5,000 fine

A drug offense can be a serious crime. It is very important that you speak to an attorney about how best to handle your case.

Call our criminal defense lawyers in Reading, PA at 610-372-5128 or submit your case using the "Ask an attorney" link.