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An Overview of Possession of a Controlled Substance in Pennsylvania

heroin needle

Every state in the nation has strict regulations on controlled dangerous substances (CDS). The state of Pennsylvania includes drugs like heroin, cocaine and marijuana, along with the various chemical compounds used to create them, on this list.

Pennsylvania divides CDS into five different “schedules.” Schedule I includes the most dangerous drugs, those with no recognized medical value and a high incidence of addiction and abuse. The “schedules” decrease in danger and abuse probability through Schedule V. Pennsylvania law (35 Penn. Stat 780-104) clearly identifies which drugs belong in each schedule. Some drugs have additional legal considerations, but the schedule that applies is always important in determining how prosecutors will move ahead with a drug crime case.

Penalties for possession of a controlled dangerous substance

In Pennsylvania, you could face a variety of penalties if you possess a CDS without a valid medical prescription. Even having a prescription will only help you up to a certain point, once you have more of the substance than provides its recognized medical benefits.

Penalties for possession include fines of up to $5,000, up to a year in prison, or both. Subsequent convictions may incur fines of up to $25,000 and a prison sentence of up to three years.

The law also outlines especially egregious possession offenses. For example, the possession of gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) will result in a fine of up to $250,000, up to 15 years in prison, or both. The possession or transport of liquefied ammonia for any reason other than legitimate agricultural purposes — as approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or Department of Transportation — could lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or incarceration for up to five years.

Finally, the possession or transportation of substances like red phosphorous, ammonium sulfate or various other specified CDS compounds with the intent to manufacture a drug could result in a fine of up to $15,000, a prison sentence of up to seven years, or both.

For more information and guidance on how to proceed with your defense when charged with possession of a controlled substance, consult a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense attorney with The Law Offices of David Jay Glassman. You can reach us online or call 215-563-7100.