In the state of Pennsylvania, law enforcement and the criminal justice system take cocaine possession charges very seriously. If you’re currently accused of cocaine possession in any capacity, you must continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Montgomery County drug crime lawyer who can advocate for your rights and future. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Constitutes Cocaine Possession in Pennsylvania?

Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession means you have physical control of the substance. Constructive possession, however, involves access to and control over the cocaine, even if it’s not physically on you. Pennsylvania law does not differentiate between these types when levying penalties. Charges escalate based on the amount possessed and whether intent to distribute is evident.

How Does Pennsylvania Classify Cocaine Possession?

Cocaine possession, considered a controlled substance offense, falls under various categories. Simple possession is the least severe but still carries significant consequences. Possession with intent to deliver (PWID), on the other hand, incurs more severe penalties, reflecting the law’s aim to combat distribution.

What Are the Penalties for Simple Cocaine Possession?

The penalties for simple possession of cocaine are outlined under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, specifically 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(16). This statute categorizes the possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription as a misdemeanor offense. The law is clear: possessing even a small amount of cocaine can lead to significant legal consequences.

For those found guilty of simple possession for the first time, the law mandates up to a year in jail. Additionally, offenders may be fined up to $5,000, depending on the judge’s discretion and the specifics of the case. This level of penalty underscores the state’s serious approach to controlling drug possession.

Subsequent offenses see a steep increase in severity. Penalties can escalate to a maximum of three years in prison, with potential fines reaching up to $25,000. This increased penalty for repeat offenders reflects the legal system’s intent to deter ongoing drug use and possession.

The statute also provides for possible probation for a first offense, granting judges the discretion to impose probationary periods instead of jail time. This can be particularly relevant for individuals possessing small amounts for personal use, with no prior criminal record.

Moreover, Pennsylvania’s Act 122 of 1972, the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act, allows courts to mandate participation in drug treatment programs. This alternative sentencing aims to address the underlying issues of substance abuse, offering offenders a path to rehabilitation instead of punitive measures alone.

Can Legal Representation Influence the Outcome?

Absolutely. If you’ve been charged with cocaine possession, a skilled attorney can argue for reduced sentences, plea bargains, or program admissions in lieu of incarceration.

If you have further questions or you’ve been charged with a crime and require a competent criminal defense attorney in your corner, simply contact Cohen & Patel today.