What are the different drug offenses?

Writen by: on April 5, 2012


Simple Possession

35 P.S. 780-113(a)(16) defines possession of a controlled substance as:

Knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled or counterfeit substance by a person not registered under this act, or a practitioner not registered or licensed by the appropriate State board, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription order or order of a practitioner or except as otherwise authorized by the statute.

Penalties under 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(16) include:

  1. Misdemeanor
  2. First Offense- Maximum of 1 year in Jail and $5,000.00 fine
  3. Second Offense- Maximum of 3 years in Jail and $25,000.00 fine

Manufacture, Delivering or Possession With Intent to Deliver Controlled Substances

35 P.S. 780-113(a)(30) defines manufacturing, delivering or possession with intent to distribute as:

The manufacture, delivery, or possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance by a person not registered or licensed by the appropriate State Board; or, creating, delivering, or possessing with intent to deliver a counterfeit controlled substance.

The penalties for the above crime depend on the specific drug or drugs in question. Most substances are categorized by the federal drug Schedule (I-V) classifications. All penalties, however, are graded as a felony.

The following breakdown describes the penalties you may face depending on the drug. It is important to talk with an attorney, however, to get a detailed explanation of the penalties you face as a number of other factors can play a part in its determination.

  1. Schedule I or II drugs (for example, heroine) – up to 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
  2. Cocoa (Cocaine) and its derivatives, methamphetamines (Meth), phencyclidines (PCP), or Marijuana in excess of 1,000 pounds – up to 10 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
  3. Any other Schedule I, II or III drug not mentioned above – up to 5 years in prison and a up to a $15,000 fine.
  4. Schedule IV drugs – up to 3 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
  5. Schedule V drugs – up to 1 year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.

NOTE: Your penalty may be doubled or tripled if your charges involve distribution in a school zone, or distributing to a minor. Additionally, there are mandatory minimum sentences where the weight of the controlled substance involved exceeds a specified amount.

Marijuana Specifically

In Pennsylvania, possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. The penalties for possession of greater than 30 grams increase to a possible one year in prison and a fine up to $5,000.


Drug Paraphernalia


In Pennsylvania, possession or sale of drug paraphernalia is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. Penalties double if the sale was to a minor.

Written by

Managing Partner and founder of Latoison Law, Enrique Latoison, Esq. represents a diverse portfolio of clientele, including individuals, families, businesses and working professionals, in all of their legal needs. You can find him on Google+ and facebook or write to him at [email protected]. Mr. Latoison earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University, where he received awards in class excellence and accolades in distinguished class performance and outstanding trial advocacy.