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Rules for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Pennsylvania

Pills on a person's palm

Every state in the nation regulates controlled  substances, but each state has its own definition of what a controlled substance is and its own criminal penalties for possession of these substances. In Pennsylvania, drugs including cocaine, heroin and marijuana are considered controlled substances, as are the various chemical compounds used to create them.

Pennsylvania law divides controlled substances into five categories, called “schedules,” based on the likelihood that they will be abused or cause addiction and whether or not they have any recognized medical value. Schedule I is the highest category, containing the most dangerous drugs having the most potential for addiction and abuse and no recognized medical value. Drugs on Schedules II, III, IV and V have decreasing probability of abuse and addiction and increasing medical value.

Penalties for possession of CDS

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to possess any controlled substances without a valid medical prescription. Penalties for possession include a maximum fine of $5,000, up to a year in prison, or both. Second and subsequent convictions may result in fines of up to $25,000 and/or a maximum of three years in prison.

It is also illegal to possess any of the compounds or precursors used to make dangerous drugs, unless the possession is for a legitimate agricultural purpose approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Department of Agriculture. Possession of liquefied ammonia gas, for example, is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to five years in prison. Possession of certain compounds with the intent to manufacture dangerous drugs comes with a more severe penalty, with fines of up to $15,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to seven years.

To learn more about your options if you’ve been arrested for drug possession in Pennsylvania, contact a skilled Ambridge criminal defense lawyer with Bowers & Fawcett, LLC.


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