Possession of a Controlled Substance

In Pennsylvania, possession of a controlled substance is a serious offense that can result in harsh penalties like jail time and expensive fines. Depending on the amount of the controlled substance found, you could be facing even more serious offenses like trafficking or manufacturing, or even federal charges.

However, for a conviction to occur, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the substance was indeed a controlled substance, you knew it was illegal and you had actual or constructive possession of it. A skilled Philadelphia drug defense attorney can fight for your rights while exposing cracks in the prosecution's case against you, which may increase your chances at a charge reduction or dismissal.

Possession of a Controlled Substance Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia

If you are facing a possession of a controlled substance charge in Philadelphia, it is important to hire an experienced attorney that has knowledge of all aspects of the Pennsylvania justice system. Joseph Lento has years of experience defending those facing criminal charges.

In addition to using his behind-the-scenes knowledge and connections to benefit his clients, Joseph Lento also diligently pursues the most favorable outcome for his clients. This includes if the most favorable defense is not the easiest. To find out what Lento Law Firm can do for your controlled substance possession case, call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation.

Possession of a Controlled Substance Information Center

Controlled Substance Laws and Penalties in Pennsylvania

What is considered a controlled substance and the penalties for possession of such a substance are defined in 35 P.S. §§ 780-101 – 780-144, which is also known as the Pennsylvania Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act. Controlled substances are graded according to their abuse potential, how addictive they are, if they can result in mental or physical harm, and whether the substance has a valid medical purpose. A controlled substance can be anything, including street drugs, designer drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, natural substances, plants, chemicals, and man-made substances.

If an individual is found to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance defined in Pennsylvania's drug schedules, he or she will be charged with possession of a controlled substance. The only way possession of these drugs is considered lawful is if the person in possession was authorized to do so through means like a prescription or a practitioner's license. A conviction of drug possession in Philadelphia can come with up to a year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine for a first offense.

Philadelphia Actual and Constructive Drug Possession

For a possession of a controlled substance charge to occur in Philadelphia, the prosecution must prove the defendant had actual or constructive possession of the drug. Actual possession is when you have the drug or controlled substance on your person – such as in your hands, in the purse slung over your shoulders, or in your pants pocket. Constructive possession usually involves three elements and is generally harder to define as well as prove.

For constructive possession to exist, the individual not only was aware or the presence and illegal nature of the substance, but also had the intent and ability to take control of the controlled substance. For the charge to hold in court all three elements of constructive possession or any element of actual possession must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Without proof of actual or constructive possession, your charges may be reduced or dismissed. An experienced Philadelphia drug defense attorney may be able to poke holes in the prosecution's case of possession against you and therefore achieve a more favorable outcome.

The Schedule of Controlled Substances in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the schedule of controlled substances is arranged much like the federal system. Drugs are listed according to addiction and abuse risks as well as medical capabilities. Pennsylvania has five schedules, with Schedule V for the least serious substances, and Schedule I for the most serious substances.

Schedule V

  • Least potential for abuse
  • Accepted medical use in U.S.
  • Includes medications with small amounts of codeine or opium

Schedule IV

  • Lower potential for abuse
  • Commonly used in U.S. for medical purpose
  • Includes many prescription drugs

Schedule III

  • Mild potential for abuse, but less than Schedule I & II
  • Medical use in the U.S. is commonly known
  • Includes LSD and anabolic steroids

Schedule II

  • High potential for abuse
  • Very limited medical application in the U.S.
  • Includes cocaine, meth, and opium

Schedule I

  • Highest potential for abuse
  • No known U.S. medical use
  • Includes heroin, marijuana, and peyote

Finding the Best Drug Possession Defense Attorney in Philadelphia

Joseph Lento founded Lento Law Firm on the principle that every defendant deserves respect, quality legal services and perseverance when they need it most. If you have been charged with drug possession in Philadelphia, it is important to hire an attorney that will fight for your rights and your future to the end, and beyond if necessary.

Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation with Lento Law Firm and see what defense strategies we can offer your Philadelphia controlled substance case.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, or New Jersey should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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