Do the penalties for misdemeanor possession vary based on the drug?
Centre County Drug Possession Attorney
In Pennsylvania, the normal charge for possession of a drug for personal use is ungraded misdemeanor under 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(16). The law covers possession of any drug except for small amounts of marijuana. If a person possesses less than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use, there is a special charge under 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(31) that is slightly less severe. Under subsection (a)(16), the ungraded misdemeanor offense carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. If the person has prior drug-related conviction, the maximum sentence increases to three years in jail and a $25,000.00 fine. The recommended minimum sentence set forth in Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines for the (a)(16) charge is also the same for every type of drug. This does NOT mean that a sentencing judge may not impose a more severe sentence for possession of a more severe drug, like heroin, and a less severe sentence for marijuana. Many prosecutors will seek and many judges will impose a more severe sentence for a more severe drug. Pennsylvania no longer suspends licenses for drug possession charges.
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JD Law is located blocks from Penn State University, and the criminal defense attorneys at JD Law have extensive experience in representing people charged with misdemeanor offenses like drug possession, DUI, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, and Simple Assault. If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense, contact JD Law for a FREE CONSULTATION by email or by calling (814) 954-7622.