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Drug Crimes Increase During COVID-19

December 23, 2020

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Public safety officials in small towns have warned that drug crimes have increased, and that they are now equivalent to the numbers seen in larger communities. The officials have stated the increase is at least partly due to COVID-19, as some people turn to drugs to help them cope with the depression and anxiety they feel during the pandemic. Still, self-medicating is not a defense to drug crimes so it is important that everyone in the state understands the penalties they may face if they are convicted of drug crimes in the state.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Pennsylvania

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Pennsylvania, although certain individuals may possess small amounts of medical marijuana. Most people convicted of marijuana possession will face penalties that include:

  • Up to 30 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine for possession of 30 grams or less
  • Up to one year in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine for possession of more than 30 grams or less, as well as an automatic six-month driver’s license suspension

It is important to note that when a person is found in possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, they risk being charged with possession with intent to deliver or distribute, which is a much more serious crime. Additionally, individuals that are considered a first-time offender for simple possession of marijuana may only face probation without a verdict.

Penalties for Other Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania

Marijuana crimes are very serious in Pennsylvania, but other controlled substances are taken even more seriously. Penalties for other possession of other drugs, including heroin, LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, and meth are as follows:

  • First offense: Up to one year in prison or a maximum $5,000 fine, or both
  • Second offense: A maximum of two years in prison
  • Third offense: A maximum of three years in prison

When the drug involved in the alleged crime is crack, the penalties are far more serious. If convicted, a person may face a minimum of five years in prison.

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Pennsylvania

It is not only being found in possession of drugs that comes with serious penalties in Pennsylvania. A person found in possession of drug paraphernalia such as roach clips, pipes, bongs, and more also comes with serious penalties. If convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia, a person faces up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $2,500, or both.

Our Pennsylvania Drug Crime Lawyers can Help You Avoid Penalties

The penalties for drug possession and even possession of drug paraphernalia come with serious penalties in Pennsylvania for individuals convicted of the crime. If you are facing charges, our Allentown drug possession lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can help. There are defenses to drug crimes in the state, and we know how to use them effectively to give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.


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