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The basics of drug possession laws in Pennsylvania

Drug possession charges can have a significant, and negative, impact on the lives of accused individuals. In Pennsylvania, drug possession charges include possession of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs. For criminal charges to be sustained to a criminal conviction, the accused individual must have knowingly possessed a controlled substance. It is important for the accused individual to understand what must be proven because that may impact a criminal defense strategy.

Defenses to drug possession charges can include a lack of intent; a lack of knowledge; possession of an insufficient quantity of the drug; the drug was prescribed to the accused individual by a medical doctor; the accused individual had a license to carry the drug; the drugs did not belong to the accused individual; the accused individual was the victim of an unlawful search or seizure or other violation of their rights by authorities; or the accused individual was entrapped.

Potential penalties for drug possession in Pennsylvania vary based on the nature of the charge, what kind of drug the individual is accused of being in possession of and the amount of drugs the individual is accused of being in possession of. Drug possession crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and penalties may range from jail time, fines or probation to incarceration in prison for up to 15 years. Because of the potentially harsh penalties that vary by circumstance, accused individuals should be familiar with their criminal defense options.

A strong criminal defense strategy focuses on reducing or eliminating the charges, potential penalties and consequences the accused individual is facing. Drug possession charges can threaten the accused individual's freedom and future which is why it is important for accused individual's to understand their criminal defense rights.

Source: Statelaws.findlaw.com, "Pennsylvania Drug Possession Laws," Accessed Sept. 12, 2017

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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-417-9524
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