Possession of Meth in Pennsylvania

Like most street drugs, methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “meth” or “crystal meth” is incredibly addictive. Once consumed, it stimulates the brain, leaving users feeling intense euphoria. In an effort to experience this amazing feeling once more, users find themselves doing the drug over and over again.

Although meth has been a well-known street drug for a while now, it's popularity has begun to rise in Pennsylvania. This rise has been accredited to its inexpensive nature and accessibility. Like many states across the nation, Pennsylvania lawmakers have drafted and enacted strict laws to deter the rates of meth use, possession, and delivery. As a part of the state's crackdown on meth charges and other drug defenses, very harsh penalties have been imposed upon users and distributors who are caught with this drug.

If you have been charged with a drug crime involving meth, it is important you understand the system you're up against. You should also be aware of the advantages of retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney in cases like this, where mandatory minimums are imposed, and prosecutors are eager to make an example of defendants like you. For the purposes of this article, we will address (1) Pennsylvania's meth laws, and (2) the penalties associated with these crimes.

Meth Laws in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for an individual to possess, cultivate, distribute, deliver, sell, or transport meth. Meth is categorized as a schedule II controlled substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and is likely to lead to severe psychological or physical dependency. Due to it's schedule, meth has been outlawed by the state entirely, making people who are discovered with very small quantities of the drug subject to criminal charges.

Simple Possession (less than 5 grams)

In order for a defendant to be convicted of simple possession, a prosecutor must provide evidence that the drug was actually possessed by the defendant. The courts have the burden of establishing whether there was an actual possession (the drugs were found on the defendant) or a constructive possession (the drugs were found in a place the defendant had control over) to constitute this crime.

The simple possession of meth will be charged as a misdemeanor offense. In these cases, courts presume that the drugs were intended for personal use. If it's a defendant's first charge, they will likely face up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.

Possession with the intent to distribute (PWID)

The “intent to distribute” covers deliveries, sales, manufacturing, trafficking and transporting under state law. Therefore, the existence of a transaction is irrelevant in these cases. As long as there is proof that a defendant planned on passing off the drugs in any fashion, he or she is guilty of committing a criminal act.

The court will assess a number of factors to seek evidence of an intended distribution. These factors include, the quantity of drugs confiscated, the packing of the drugs, whether or not there was distribution materials (scales, multiple cell phones etc.), a defendant's drug history etc. to justify a PWID conviction.

PWID is charged as a felony crime, and the penalties are pretty harsh, even for first-timers. The severity of the penalties imposed will be determined by the quantity of drugs discovered.

  • Five grams to under ten grams: at least three years of imprisonment
  • Ten grams to under 100 grams: at least four years of imprisonment
  • More than 100 grams: At least five years of imprisonment

Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with any offense involving meth, or any other drug offense, it is important that you immediately get in contact with an attorney. With your privileges, freedom, and reputation at stake, you can't afford to not seek legal counsel. Contact skilled criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help.

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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. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide 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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