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What are punishments for drug-related crimes in Pennsylvania?

While medicinal marijuana has been legalized as a way of treating certain medical conditions in Pennsylvania, the possession of the drug for recreational use has not. Instead, it remains one of the many drugs, like meth and cocaine, that can easily land you in jail if you're caught in possession of it.

In Pennsylvania, drug crimes are sentenced differently depending on a number of factors including which and how much of the drug you were alleged to have been in possession of.

If you were found to be carrying under 30 grams of marijuana when stopped, then you will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor. That crime carries a prison sentence of as much as 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Possession charges for cocaine or meth possession are much different. What sentence an individual in a case like this receives varies greatly depending on the type and amount of drug the individual is said to have been in possession of.

While some defendants in these types of cases will be sentenced to probation alone, it's quite possible that he or she may face as much as 15 years in prison. They can also be required to pay as high as a $250,000 fine in their case.

While being charged with a drug offense might seem like the end of the world, it doesn't have to be. There are numerous defense strategies that can be claimed to defend yourself against the charges waged against you.

Defenses can include you saying that you were a victim of entrapment, that an insignificant amount of the drug was discovered or that the search and seizure that resulted in the find was illegally conducted.

If you were arrested for possession, despite having a medical marijuana card, then you are protected under both state and federal law. The same goes for the medical provider who has been licensed by the state to carry the drug for distribution to medicinal marijuana patients. In both of these cases, with some legal wrangling, it should be able to proven you didn't engage in any illicit activity.

Penalties are quite high if you're convicted of a drug-related offense. In light of that, it's important that you work closely with an Erie criminal defense attorney to craft a response to the charges that have been waged against you.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania drug possession laws," accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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