Penalties for first time drug offenders

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2022 | Drug Crimes

Pennsylvania takes drug possession very seriously, even for first-time offenses. The consequences include mandatory jail time and fines.

To learn more about first-time drug offenses, continue reading this article. Remember that an arrest is not the same as a conviction. You still have the right to defend yourself in court.

Drug trafficking

Not all first-time drug offenses are the same. The worst-case scenario is a drug trafficking case. According to the Statutes of Pennsylvania, drug trafficking convictions result in mandatory prison time. If you possess two pounds of marijuana, the minimum prison time is one year. If you have two grams of Schedule I or II drugs, you face two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Most drug offenses do not escalate to trafficking charges. However, if you carry less than 30 grams of marijuana, you still risk up to 30 days of jail time and a $500 fine. Also, drug paraphernalia will add to the charges.

Simple possession

Simple possession is the least severe charge you can face for drug possession. The charge might fall under two categories. First, there is actual possession, which means you have the substance on your person. Second, there is constructive possession which means law enforcement found the substances on your property. Sometimes simple possession charges result in alternatives to jail time, such as the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, probation without a verdict and Pennsylvania Drug Court. However, you must qualify for these programs even if your drug possession is minimal.

You do not need to carry a considerable amount to face jail time in Pennsylvania for drug possession. However, you might be able to avoid jail if you receive a simple possession charge.