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Pittsburgh Marijuana Lawyer

Marijuana / Cannabis Possession Charges in Pennsylvania

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Being arrested or charged with marijuana possession can wreck your future and put a halt to your freedom. The penalties for being arrested with marijuana are very strict in Pennsylvania, where marijuana (weed, pot, cannabis) and even medical marijuana is still illegal for using, growing, distributing, etc.

If you or a family member were recently charged for marijuana possession, you probably have many questions about the penalties, sentencing guidelines, the court process and how to keep your freedom.

This webpage gives general sentencing guidelines and a basic understanding of the penalties for being convicted of marijuana charges in Pennsylvania. For detailed information on your unique circumstances, call an experienced Pittsburgh Marijuana Attorney like Justin Ketchel for a free legal consultation.

DON’T EVER THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE THE POLICE FOUND
MARIJUANA ON YOU THEY HAVE “PROOF” THAT YOU ARE GUILTY.

If you have been charged with simple possession of marijuana or possession with intent to deliver (PWID) marijuana, call Justin Ketchel Law today. We will help you understand your legal situation and build a strong case to defend your rights.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR MARIJUANA CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL JUSTIN KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

PENALTIES IN PA FOR SIMPLE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA

Many different factors will determine whether you are charged with simple possession of marijuana (a misdemeanor), possession or sale of paraphernalia or possession with intent to deliver (PWID) marijuana (a felony).

If you have been charged with simple possession of marijuana, this means that the police or arresting officers did not find any cause to charge you with intent to grow, distribute or deliver marijuana.

Read below for more information on the penalties and sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania convictions depending on the amount of marijuana, simple possession or PWID and the number of offenses.

Simple Possession – Less Than Thirty Grams of Marijuana – First Offense

The penalties in Pennsylvania for simple possession of marijuana, even for first-time offenses, are pretty tough.

Possession of a small amount of marijuana (defined as less than 30 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of hashish for personal use) has a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, a $500 fine and an automatic license suspension from PennDOT for a minimum of six months (for a first-time offense). If you are convicted of selling or growing marijuana (30 grams or less) you also face the same penalties.

Furthermore, the charges will go on your permanent record – which could limit your future opportunities for jobs, colleges, housing and insurance.

If there have been previous arrests or other criminal charges involved there could be additional penalties tacked on to your sentencing.

Simple Possession of Marijuana – Over Thirty Grams – First Offense

If you are convicted of simple possession of marijuana, it is a misdemeanor and you could be facing one year of prison and a $5,000 fine for a first offense.

If this is a second offense or you are facing other criminal charges, sentencing of penalties may be doubled depending on your circumstances. Other penalties include driver’s license suspension by PennDOT, court costs and fees, and many other losses of basic freedoms, like owning a firearm or losing parental rights of your children.

An experienced attorney can help you try to get your charges lessened or dropped altogether, which could mean a drastic reduction in sentencing and punishment.

There are also first-time offender and diversion programs you may be eligible for, such as the Pennsylvania Probation Without Verdict program, in which your criminal record could be expunged.

Call Justin J. Ketchel for a free consultation of your case to learn more.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR MARIJUANA CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL JUSTIN KETCHEL LAW TODAY AT 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Jail Time and Penalties for Possession or Sale of Marijuana Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia could be any object used to manufacture or distribute marijuana or inhale or become high from marijuana – bongs, water pipes, bowls, ceramic pipes, vaporizers, roach clips, etc. Any instrument found with marijuana resin could also be considered drug paraphernalia, i.e., a soda pop can.

A conviction for possession or sale of marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor and can lead to up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine for a first offender.

PWID Marijuana – Less Than Thirty Grams of Marijuana – First Offense

If you are charged with cultivating, growing, manufacturing or selling LESS than 30 grams of marijuana or LESS than 8 grams of hashish, under PA law this amount is still considered “personal use”.

Upon conviction you face a misdemeanor and a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, a $500 fine and an automatic license suspension from PennDOT for a minimum of six months (for a first-time offense).

Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana (PWID Charges)

More Than Thirty Grams of Marijuana

Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID) marijuana of over 30 grams is a felony and comes with much stricter penalties than marijuana simple possession charges.

Possession with Intent to Deliver charges mean the arresting officers suspected growing/cultivating (manufacturing), selling, distributing or sharing marijuana. PWID is also known as drug trafficking.

A conviction for PWID marijuana or drug trafficking can have severe consequences for you and your family. Penalties could include forfeiture of property, drivers’ license suspension, large fines and prison sentencing.

Sentencing for PWID marijuana in Pennsylvania has a penalty of 1-3 years in prison and a $5,000 to $25,000 fine.

Other factors, like whether it is a first or second offense, other criminal activity and distributing to a minor or within a school zone, are also determining sentencing factors.

MARIJUANA DRUG TRAFFICKING SENTENCING GUIDELINES IN PA

Marijuana or “marihuana” is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Drugs Device Cosmetic Act of Pennsylvania and United States Federal Drug Trafficking Laws.

Schedule I drugs are cited as not having any “medicinal use” and a high addiction rate. So under PA and Federal laws, marijuana is essentially the same as heroin or cocaine.

If you have been charged with drug trafficking or PWID of marijuana, you may be facing charges from both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Federal Government.

Title 18, §7508 of The Controlled Substances Act of PA states the following sentencing guidelines for possession of marihuana:

  • At least 2 lbs. but less than 10 lbs. or 10 to 21 live plants: A mandatory minimum of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine for a first offense*.
  • At least 10 lbs. but less than 50 lbs. or 21 to 50 live plants: A mandatory minimum of three years in prison and a fine of $15,000 or more for a first offense*.
  • 50 or more pounds or 51 or more live plants: A mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a fine of $50,000 or more for a first offense*.

If you are charged with more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, you face up to 10 years in jail and a $100,000 fine.

*Penalties double for subsequent charges or if defendant is convicted of other drug related charges.

For a list of penalties for other drugs read our page on Drug Conviction Penalties in Pennsylvania.

Under U.S Federal Drug Trafficking Convictions, the following sentencing applies:

  • 1 to 49 marijuana plants or less than 50 kilograms of marijuana: Up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 or $1 million if a drug ring is involved (first offense)
  • 50 to 99 marijuana plants or 50 to 99 kilograms of marijuana mixture: Up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 (individual) for a first offense.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR MARIJUANA CHARGES DISMISSED.

strong drug attorney with experience will fight to get your PWID charges reduced to a Simple Possession charge or a Not Guilty verdict.

Penalties of a Marijuana Conviction could include:

  • Time in Jail or a Lengthy Prison Sentence
  • Substantial Court Costs, Legal Expenses And Fines
  • Loss or Suspension of Driver’s License
  • Forfeiture of Property And Assets
  • Prohibition from Owning and Carrying a Firearm
  • Loss of Employment
  • Loss of Parental Rights
  • Significantly Higher Insurance Premiums
  • Inability to Obtain Insurance Coverage
  • Loss of Eligibility for College Financial Aid
  • Difficulty Finding Employment

DEFENDING YOUR RIGHTS – AN ARREST IS NOT A CONVICTION

A possession of marijuana charge does not mean you will be convicted. You are presumed innocent of all charges unless a judge or jury finds you guilty.

Even so, Pennsylvania and U.S. prosecutors take marijuana cases very seriously and will do everything they can to get a conviction.

A skilled drug defense attorney will vehemently battle all charges to protect your rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. Call Attorney Justin Ketchel today at 412-456-1221 for a free consultation of your case.

AN EXPERIENCED PITTSBURGH MARIJUANA LAWYER

A skilled marijuana attorney could use a number of defenses to battle your marijuana charges and have them reduced, expunged or dropped altogether.

There could be evidence that your Constitutional Rights were violated during the time of arrest or when officials searched the area where the marijuana was located. If police cannot prove probable cause and reasonable suspicion, evidence could be suppressed and your case will be dismissed.

There are also a number of drug diversion and probationary programs in Allegheny County that are available to first-time offenders such as Probation Without Verdict (PWOV), which will result in a full dismissal of charges and expungement of your criminal record.

Contact Attorney Ketchel for a free consultation to find out if you are eligible or could qualify for application.

The marijuana attorneys at Justin Ketchel Law are aggressive and will closely examine every angle of your case and fully investigate your arrest and the circumstances surrounding your charges. We will speak with witnesses and identify any problems with police procedures.

We are experienced attorneys and know how to negotiate with the best interest of our clients in mind. We work with you to find optimal solutions and the best way for you to retain your freedom.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR MARIJUANA CHARGES DISMISSED.

At Justin Ketchel Law, our number one goal is to have your case dismissed and charges withdrawn. If that is not possible, there are numerous ways of attempting a reduction in sentencing such as probation vs. jail.

Talk to an experienced attorney for a free consultation about whether you may be eligible to have your record expunged and how best to fight your charges.

A drug charge does not have to mean a drug conviction.

Learn More About Drug Charges in Pennsylvania: