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Marijuana - Pennsylvania law still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug. Therefore, marijuana possession in Pennsylvania continues to be a criminal offense. A person convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana, less than 30 grams, is guilty of an ungraded misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. A person convicted of possessing more than 30 grams could face a penalty of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia - Drug paraphernalia includes having rolling papers, marijuana pipes, grinders, syringes, or any item for packaging or introducing a drug into a person's body. Possession of drug paraphernalia is an ungraded misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Drug Possession - Possession of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine - including crack cocaine - or other harsher drugs subjects a person to a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of $5,000 for a first offense. The maximum penalty increases to three years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $25,000 for a subsequent conviction.
Possession with Intent to Deliver, Manufacture, or Distribute - PWI is commonly charged with the Commonwealth believes, through actual or circumstantial evidence, that a person is selling, manufacturing, or distributing illegal drugs. These cases are often based on undercover operations using undercover police officers and/or confidential informants to purchase drugs from a target subject. However, PWI charges can also stem from circumstantial evidence such as, the amount of drugs possessed, packaging materials, large sums of currency in small denominations, and cell phones. Penalties for conviction vary in PWI cases. If the substance is a Schedule I or II drug (narcotic) it is an ungraded felony and carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. If the substance is a Schedule I, II, or III it is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine.
Sentencing - Common Pleas Judges have discretion when sentencing a defendant. Most defendants do not receive the maximum penalty. Defendants are most often sentenced within the standard range, which is determined by the seriousness of the current offence (referred to as the offense gravity score, or "OGS") and the defendant's prior record score.
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