In Pennsylvania, simple possession and possession with intent to deliver (PWID) are two separate charges. Simple possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines. In contrast, PWID is a felony that includes fines and a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Depending on the circumstances, a simple possession charge can be elevated to a PWID.
What Is Simple Possession?
When a person is knowingly and intentionally in custody of an illegal drug or controlled substance without a prescription, they can be charged with simple possession.
What Is Possession with Intent to Deliver?
Possession with intent to deliver is charged when the individual has an illegal drug or controlled substance in their custody and they plan on selling it. Generally, the amount of the substance suggests the person planned on distributing the drug later. If the individual has other items in their possession, such as scales, large amounts of cash, or devices used to divide drugs, that could also serve as evidence that they intended to sell the substance.
When Can Charges Be Elevated?
If a person is accused of simple possession, that does not necessarily mean they will also be charged with PWID. However, it is possible for charges to be elevated to a PWID if other evidence suggests the individual intended to sell the drugs. A person found with a small amount of drugs in their backpack will be charged with simple possession. If the person has a larger amount of drugs packaged together, they could be charged with simple possession and PWID, even if the drugs were intended for personal use.
Conversely, if a person is charged with PWID, they will always be charged with simple possession as well. A person cannot have a substance and plan on selling it without also being in custody of the drug.
Contact the Law Offices of William D. Thompson for a Free Consultation
Our lawyer at the Law Offices of William D. Thompson has extensive experience defending individuals accused of drug crimes. If you are facing charges, contact us to retain the skilled legal counsel you need to protect your rights.