Drug Crimes and Offenses

Drug crimes can be graded as low as a misdemeanor or as high as a felony.  Whether you are charged with simple possession or possession with intent to deliver (PWID), it is crucial to have a qualified criminal defense lawyer involved as early in the process as possible to have the best chance of beating the drug charge.  If you have been charged with a drug offense in the Pittsburgh area, contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Bickerton & Bickerton for a consultation.
For information about drug charges in Pennsylvania, click here.
For information about mandatory sentencing for drug charges in Pennsylvania, click here.
Pennsylvania Drug Crimes
•     Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (PWID)
Possession With Intent to Deliver is the charge police officers use when they suspect that you intend to sell drugs.  Delivery is the charge used when the police believe you have completed the sale.
•     Possession of a Controlled Substance
In Pennsylvania, a controlled substance includes illegal drugs as well as drugs that must be dispensed with a prescription.  Therefore, you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance if you have a prescription drug without a valid prescription.
•     Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana
A small amount of marijuana is considered to be 30 grams of regular marijuana or 8 grams of hashish.
•     Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Any item that can be used in the use or sale of drugs can be considered drug paraphernalia.  This includes needles, syringes, crack pipes, steel wool, wrapping papers, digital scales, etc.
•     Possession with Intent to Deliver Drug Paraphernalia
A defendant can be charged with this offense if the police believe that they possessed drug paraphernalia and intended to give or sell it to someone else knowing that the recipient would use the paraphernalia for a drug-related purpose.
•     Possession With Intent to Deliver a Counterfeit Controlled Substance
The police will charge a defendant with possession with intent to deliver a counterfeit controlled substance if he has a substance that is not really a drug, but attempts to pass the substance off as one.
•     Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation, Fraud, or Subterfuge
Drug Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences
Mandatory minimum sentences apply when the drugs you are convicted of delivering or intending to deliver are above a certain weight.  Also, in Pennsylvania’s mandatory sentencing, your minimum sentence will be enhanced if you have previously been convicted of any drug trafficking offense.  Therefore, if you’ve ever been convicted of possession with intent to deliver or delivery, you will automatically be sentenced under the “Second Offense” regardless of the weight of the drugs in your first offense.
*These are just the jail sentences.  Minimum fines are also applicable.*
Marijuana – PWID
First Offense – At least 2 but less than ten pounds = Minimum of One year in prison
Second Offense – At least 2 but less than ten pounds = Minimum of Two years in prison
First Offense – At least 10 but less than 50 pounds = Minimum of Three years in prison
Second Offense – At least 10 but less than 50 pounds = Minimum of Four years in prison
First Offense – At least 50 pounds or greater = Five years in prison
Second Offense – At least 50 pounds or greater = Five years in prison
Cocaine – PWID
First Offense – At least 2 grams but less than 10 grams = Minimum of One year in prison
Second Offense – At least 2 grams but less than 10 grams = Minimum of Three years in prison
First Offense – At least 10 grams but less than 100 grams = Minimum of Three years in prison
Second Offense – At least 10 grams but less than 100 grams = Minimum of Five years in prison
First Offense – At least 100 grams =  Minimum of Four years in prison
Second Offense – At least 100 grams or greater = Minimum of Seven years in prison
Heroin – PWID
First Offense – At least 1 gram but less than 5 grams = Minimum of Two years in prison
Second Offense – At least 1 gram but less than 5 grams = Minimum of Three years in prison
First Offense – At least 5 grams but less than 50 grams = Minimum of Three years in prison
Second Offense – At least 5 grams but less than 50 grams = Minimum of Five years in prison
First Offense – At least 50 grams or greater = Minimum of Five years in prison
Second Offense – At least 50 grams or greater = Minimum of Seven years in prison
Methamphetamine (Meth) – PWID
First Offense – At least 5 grams but less than 10 grams = Minimum of Three years in prison
Second Offense – At least 5 grams but less than 10 grams = Minimum of Five years in prison
First Offense – At least 10 grams but less than 100 grams = Minimum of Four years in prison
Second Offense – At least 10 grams but less than 100 grams = Minimum of Seven years in prison
First Offense – At least 100 grams or greater = Minimum of Five years in prison
Second Offense – At least 100 grams or greater = Minimum of Eight years in prison
Amphetamine (Speed) – PWID
First Offense – At least 5 grams or greater = Minimum of Two and one-half years in prison
Second Offense – At least 5 grams or greater = Minimum of Five years in prison
Methaqualone (Quaaludes) – PWID
First Offense – At least 50 tablets/25 grams and less than 200 tablets/100 grams = Minimum of One year in prison
Second Offense –  At least 50 tablets/25 grams and less than 200 tablets/100 grams = Minimum of Three years in prison
First Offense – At least 200 tablets/100 grams or greater = Minimum of Two and one-half years in prison
Second Offense – At least 200 tablets/100 grams or greater = Minimum of Five years in prison
MDMA (Ecstacy)- PWID
At least 50 tablets/15 grams and less than 100 tablets/30 grams = Minimum of Five years in prison
At least 100 tablets/30 grams and less than 1,000 tablets/300 grams = Minimum of Ten years in prison
At least 1,000 tablets/100 grams or greater = Minimum of Fifteen years in prison

Drug crimes can be graded as low as a misdemeanor or as high as a felony. Whether you are charged with simple possession or possession with intent to deliver (PWID), it is crucial to have a qualified criminal defense lawyer involved as early in the process as possible to have the best chance of beating the drug charge.  If you have been charged with a drug offense in the Pittsburgh area, contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Bickerton & Bickerton for a consultation.

Pennsylvania Drug Crimes

•     Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (PWID)

Possession With Intent to Deliver is the charge police officers use when they suspect that you intend to sell drugs.  Delivery is the charge used when the police believe you have completed the sale.

•     Possession of a Controlled Substance

In Pennsylvania, a controlled substance includes illegal drugs as well as drugs that must be dispensed with a prescription.  Therefore, you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance if you have a prescription drug without a valid prescription.

•     Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana

A small amount of marijuana is considered to be 30 grams of regular marijuana or 8 grams of hashish.

•     Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Any item that can be used in the use or sale of drugs can be considered drug paraphernalia.  This includes needles, syringes, crack pipes, steel wool, wrapping papers, digital scales, etc.

•     Possession with Intent to Deliver Drug Paraphernalia

A defendant can be charged with this offense if the police believe that they possessed drug paraphernalia and intended to give or sell it to someone else knowing that the recipient would use the paraphernalia for a drug-related purpose.

•     Possession With Intent to Deliver a Counterfeit Controlled Substance

The police will charge a defendant with possession with intent to deliver a counterfeit controlled substance if he has a substance that is not really a drug, but attempts to pass the substance off as one.

•     Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation, Fraud, or Subterfuge

Drug Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences

Mandatory minimum sentences apply when the drugs you are convicted of delivering or intending to deliver are above a certain weight.  Also, in Pennsylvania’s mandatory sentencing, your minimum sentence will be enhanced if you have previously been convicted of any drug trafficking offense.  Therefore, if you’ve ever been convicted of possession with intent to deliver or delivery, you will automatically be sentenced under the “Second Offense” regardless of the weight of the drugs in your first offense.

*These are just the jail sentences.  Minimum fines are also applicable.*

Marijuana – PWID

At least 2 but less than ten pounds:

  • First Offense = Minimum of One year in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Two years in prison

At least 10 but less than 50 pounds

  • First Offense = Minimum of Three years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Four years in prison

At least 50 pounds or greater

  • First Offense = Five years in prison
  • Second Offense = Five years in prison

Cocaine – PWID

At least 2 grams but less than 10 grams

  • First Offense= Minimum of One year in prison
  • Second Offense =Minimum of Three years in prison

At least 10 grams but less than 100 grams

  • First Offense= Minimum of Three years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Five years in prison

At least 100 grams

  • First Offense=  Minimum of Four years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Seven years in prison

Heroin – PWID

At least 1 gram but less than 5 grams

  • First Offense = Minimum of Two years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Three years in prison

At least 5 grams but less than 50 grams

  • First Offense = Minimum of Three years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Five years in prison

At least 50 grams or greater

  • First Offense= Minimum of Five years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Seven years in prison

Methamphetamine (Meth) – PWID

At least 5 grams but less than 10 grams

  • First Offense = Minimum of Three years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Five years in prison

At least 10 grams but less than 100 grams

  • First Offense= Minimum of Four years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Seven years in prison

At least 100 grams or greater

  • First Offense= Minimum of Five years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Eight years in prison

Amphetamine (Speed) – PWID

  • First Offense – At least 10 but less than 50 pounds = Minimum of Two and one-half years in prison
  • Second Offense – At least 5 grams or greater = Minimum of Five years in prison

Methaqualone (Quaaludes) – PWID

At least 50 tablets/25 grams and less than 200 tablets/100 grams

  • First Offense = Minimum of One year in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Three years in prison

At least 200 tablets/100 grams or greater

  • First Offense = Minimum of Two and one-half years in prison
  • Second Offense = Minimum of Five years in prison

MDMA (Ecstacy)- PWID

  • At least 50 tablets/15 grams and less than 100 tablets/30 grams = Minimum of Five years in prison
  • At least 100 tablets/30 grams and less than 1,000 tablets/300 grams = Minimum of Ten years in prison
  • At least 1,000 tablets/100 grams or greater = Minimum of Fifteen years in prison