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POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

An individual charged with possession of a controlled substance can be convicted under a variety of ways. Simple possession is not the only way to violate the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. The law prevents possessing, distributing, manipulating, selling, fraudulently prescribing and/or mimicking a controlled substance under Schedule I, II, III, IV or V.

A conviction for possession of a controlled substance can result harsh penalties, including jail or prison sentences, license suspension, a criminal record, fines, and/or lasting negative consequences to the individual’s life, including loss of job and educational opportunities. In many instances, the ability to travel abroad may also be affected. Drug possession offenses can be charged as a violation of Pennsylvania law, federal law, or both state and federal law. Penalties for federal charges are usually much harsher than state penalties.

West Chester and Media Drug Possession Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Chester County or Delaware County, Michael J. Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm will examine the details of your case to try and find potential defenses or mitigating circumstances that may reduce or eliminate your charge. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 for a consultation about your alleged drug offense today.


Pennsylvania Possession Laws and Penalties

The Pennsylvania Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (35 P.S. §§ 780-101 – 780-144) defines the prohibition of controlled substances under the Act and the penalties for committing such an offense. Each subsection has its own penalties, ranging from ungraded misdemeanors to felonies. For example, possession of a small amount of marijuana is an ungraded misdemeanor punishable up to 30 days in jail, while sale and/or distribution of marijuana could be a felony punishable up to 15 years in prison.

A controlled substance can be anything that has the potential to be abused, is addictive, or can result in physical or mental harm, including street drugs, designer drugs, natural substances, plants, chemicals, medications, prescription pills, and man-made substances. It also includes derivatives and metabolites of a controlled substance. The Act contains a list of these substances and divides them into 5 separate schedules.


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Drug Possession in Chester County and Delaware County

In order to be charged with possession of a controlled substance in Pennsylvania, a person has to have actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance. Actual possession is actually having the controlled substance or drug on your person or body, or in a purse or pocket on your body. Constructive possession is harder to define, but usually involves being in the presence of a controlled substance with the ability to take control of it.

There are many ways to fight a drug possession charge, especially if the charge is based on constructive, rather than actual, possession. If the prosecution is unable to prove the alleged offender had either actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance, the defendant’s charges may be reduced or dismissed because possession is a required element to the offense.


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Pennsylvania’s Schedule of Controlled Substances

Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act lists and categorizes all controlled substances in a category based on how addictive the controlled substance is and whether there is a known medical use for the controlled substance. Pennsylvania law provides for five schedules, ranging from the most serious drugs (Schedule I) to the least serious (Schedule V).

  • Schedule I – Drugs in this schedule have no known medical use in the United States and the highest potential for abuse. Examples of substances in this schedule include marijuana, heroin, and peyote.
  • Schedule II – The drugs in this schedule have a high potential for abuse, but very limited medical application in the United States. Examples of substances In this schedule can include cocaine, methamphetamines (meth), methadone, opium, and opiates.
  • Schedule III – The drugs in this schedule have less potential for abuse than the drugs in schedules I and II and commonly known medical use in the United States. Examples of substances in this schedule include Lysergic acid (LSD) and anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV – The drugs in this schedule have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs and commonly used medical purposes in the United States. Many prescription medications are included in this schedule.
  • Schedule V – The substances in this schedule have the least potential for abuse and are accepted for medical uses in the United States. Examples of substances in this schedule include medications with very small amounts of codeine or opium.

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Finding a Possession of a Controlled Substance Lawyer in Pennsylvania

Contact the Skinner Law Firm today for a free consultation about your alleged controlled substance offense in Chester County, Delaware County, or any of the surrounding counties. Michael J. Skinner is an experienced West Chester drug crimes lawyer who will listen to the facts of your particular situation, and make every effort to help you achieve the best possible outcome, including fighting the case. Call (610) 436-1410 for a consultation about your alleged drug possession offense.

Michael Skinner
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