Illegal drugs are considered to be one of the most serious social problems in the United States and Pennsylvania’s law enforcement agencies adopt a similar attitude. The so called “war on drugs” means that you will get little justice and fair treatment from the police or courts if you are charged with an illegal drug offense. There are many reasons why you should use an experienced Pennsylvania drug crimes defense attorney to help you if you are arrested for any type of controlled drug crime in this state. Anyone in this country charged with an offense is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Whether you are innocent of the alleged offense or whether you are in danger of being sentenced more harshly than you deserve for the actions you took, a good defense attorney can help you get a fair and just result in the courts.

How are Drugs Classified in Pennsylvania?

The state uses a similar method of classification as the federal government. All controlled substances are put into one of five schedules based on their ability to cause dependence, their potency and potential for abuse as well as whether there is an accepted medical use for the drug.

These schedules range from the least harmful drugs like codeine, which are in schedule 5, through moderately harmful drugs like LSD, which is in schedule 3, through to what are considered to be the most harmful drugs like heroin, which is in schedule 1. There is constant debate about the potential effects of each type of drug and there is a certain amount of fluidity in which drug is assigned to which schedule. Anyone who is concerned by the state’s drug classification and its effects on themselves should become acquainted with the statute, the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act of Pennsylvania.

Penalties for Drug Crimes

The penalties imposed on anyone convicted of drug crimes depend on the exact crime. There are several different types of crimes, all of which have one thing in common: they all involve the illegal possession, use, sale or manufacture of controlled drugs by those who have no license to do so. Some examples of the different types of drug crimes are given below and the possible penalties attached if convicted.

Possession, i.e. illegal drugs are held by that person for their own use. This is a misdemeanor with up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine

Possession of drug paraphernalia. This means that the offender has equipment which can be used to grow or manufacture controlled substances but does not necessarily have the drug itself. Similar penalty to possession as above.

Manufacture. Many illegal drugs require a manufacturing process. Anyone charged with this crime is alleged to be found to not only have the equipment but is actually in the process of making drugs. A felony with fines up to $250,000 and 15 years of imprisonment depending on the type of drug involved.

Sale, also known as trafficking. Drug trafficking implies the offender is alleged to be supplying illegal drugs as part of a commercial transaction. This is a felony, with fines and prison sentences escalating rapidly depending on the schedule of drug involved. This is considered a felony. The fine can be anywhere between $5,000 and $250,000 and jail terms from 1 to 15 years depending on the type of drug involved.

Possession with Intent to Deliver. This is like the first offense, but the offender intends to give or deliver the drugs to somebody else, not necessarily as a commercial transaction. The fines and jail terms are similar to trafficking.

If you have been arrested for a drug crime in this state, you can be punished much more severely than you might have expected if you try to defend yourself. Hire a York PA defense attorney to ensure you get the justice you deserve.

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