With medical marijuana laws and even legalization moving forward in many states, prison for marijuana usage might end up a thing of the past. However, if you have been accused of using marijuana or another controlled substance in Pennsylvania, as of now, you could still face jail time and fines. In order to minimize the impact this might have on your life, you should call a Bucks County drug lawyer to walk you through all your options.
The benefit of working with an experienced Bucks County drug lawyer is that they can help by taking a very careful look through the evidence in your case, and looking for ways that it was possibly mishandled or improperly collected. These facts might lead to the classification of certain evidence as “inadmissible.”
Furthermore, many drug charges involve proving “possession” and “intent.” These particular legal terms are specifically defined in legal statute, and a Bucks County drug lawyer will know how to use those definitions to establish reasonable doubt in your case. In doing so, your attorney may be able to help dismiss or seriously reduce the drug charges you face.
Most drug laws in Pennsylvania come from the Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act of 1972 (.pdf). This law is extremely far-reaching, and dictates what happens for infractions ranging from mislabeling prescription drugs to not keeping proper records. If you are facing a Pennsylvania drug charge, chances are it has to do with the parts of the law detailing penalties for the possession of illicit substances.
Under this law, the manufacture, sale, delivery, holding, offering for sale, or possession of any controlled substance (marijuana, cocaine, etc.) is illegal [Section 13, (a)(3)]. The standard punishment for this general charge is a misdemeanor penalty for up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. For a second or subsequent offense, this penalty increases to a maximum of 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $25,000 [Section 13, (b)].
Please note that there are exceptions to this general rule, and that any number of complicating factors can sharply increase the associated penalty. For example, a simple possession charge for any designer drug can result in a felony charge carrying a penalty of up to 15 years and/or a fine of up to $250,000 [Section 13, (a)(36); Section 13, (k)].
In terms of exceptions, there is a fairly significant one for marijuana possession. If you are carrying less than 30 grams of marijuana, the penalty is a much less severe sentence of up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. This applies even if you had intent to distribute (as long as you were not selling). If the amount is over 30 grams, the general penalties discussed above apply.
Personal drug use may not seem as big a deal as a crime like grand larceny or assault, but the fact is that it is still against the law. The penalties of a drug charge can extend beyond just fines and imprisonment, considering that a criminal record can make it difficult to find a good job or take advantage of other opportunities.
For these reasons, it is in your interest to fight hard against any charges that may be laid against you, and a hard-working Bucks County drug lawyer can help. Call today to conduct your free initial consultation.