In Chester County, as they are across the United States, drugs are classified by schedule. A narcotics schedule is set by the Pennsylvania Narcotics and Criminal Codes of Pennsylvania state legislature. Controlled substances are classified as Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV. The different schedules apply separately when deciding what sort of sentences may apply to a person who may be in possession of, or may be selling certain narcotics, and determine the guidelines, the duration of incarceration, and/or the period of probation that a person may receive as a result of a conviction for a particular type of drug.
Schedule I drugs are generally drugs with a high risk for potential use and no medical benefit. Some are used regularly throughout Chester County and familiar to police. Schedule II drugs are often set by weight, and involve the types of drugs and mandatory sentences which may only apply in cases when weights may exceed a statutory amount. For example, two grams of cocaine is the statutory amount, 10 grams is another mark, and all the way up to 100 grams is another. With heroin, on the other hand, the amount of one gram is enough to impose a higher sentence than would otherwise be given under a mandatory statute.
Additionally, other drugs, such as pill narcotics, can range from Schedule III to Schedule IV. These types of drugs, including Xanax and Percocet, are also controlled, and have not been prescribed in these cases. Often, sentences are imposed by the number of pills, rather than their weight. Any quantity of pills above 50 is considered enough for possession with intent to deliver. Additionally, in cases involving pills alone, anything over 100 pills can cause certain sentencing enhancements to come into play.
In Chester County, like in any other location throughout Pennsylvania, prescription drugs can be legally prescribed by a medical professional with the ability and authority to do so. However, when prescription drugs such as Xanax or Percocet are not prescribed and are sold illegally on the streets of Chester County, their use becomes a large concern as well as a criminal offense. Selling prescription drugs without the right credentials and buying such drugs without the right prescription is against the law and is prosecuted to the fullest extent.
Crimes of this fashion often lead to driving under the influence, theft, domestic violence, and even in some cases, suicides, which is why authorities focus so much time, money, and effort into Chester County drug enforcement. Police with drug enforcement units behind them, like prosecutorial and narcotics units, have the resources and the abilities to make arrests and cause a person charged with such crimes to face very difficult consequences.
If you are facing drug charges in Chester County and are unsure of what the specifics of your charge are based on the classification of the substance you were charged with, contact a Chester County drug lawyer to learn what exactly it is that you are facing and the best way to defend yourself.