Felony Drug Possession Vs. Misdemeanor Drug Possession
The criminal offense for possession of drugs can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Which kind of crime the offense is charged as depends on a variety of factors, including the type of drugs possessed and the circumstances of the crime. Below are some of the factors that may lead a person to be charged with felony drug possession as opposed to misdemeanor drug possession.
Types and Amounts of Drugs
The federal government and most states place drugs into one of several categories called “schedules.” Which schedule a drug goes into is based on the drug’s recognized medical value compared against the drug’s potential for addiction and abuse. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous drugs because they have low medical value and/or a high potential for addiction and abuse. Schedule V drugs are considered the least dangerous drugs. Many drugs, such as prescription painkillers, fall into one of the schedules in between because they have significant medical value but are also very addictive.
The type of drug does not affect whether a possession charge is a felony in Pennsylvania.
Types of Possession
In deciding whether to charge a drug offense as a misdemeanor or a felony, prosecutors look at the reason for the offender’s possession of the drugs – namely, was the offender possessing the drugs for his or her personal consumption, or did he or she intend to sell or transfer the drugs to another person?
The law typically tends to punish possession for personal use as a misdemeanor, while possession with intent to distribute or sell is almost always treated as a felony due to the fact that someone dealing drugs is hurting a greater number of people.
Prosecutors determine whether possession is for personal use or distribution/sale by looking at the quantity of drugs possessed, since possessing more drugs than one person could safely consume in a reasonable period of time indicates they are being sold, as well as by looking at whether the offender was found in possession of equipment to facilitate distribution and sale, like scales, packaging materials and equipment, and large amounts of cash.
Contact an Experienced Norristown Drug Defense Attorney About Your Felony Drug Crime Charges in Pennsylvania
Have you been charged with a drug related offense in Pennsylvania? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines and jail time! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. represent clients charged with use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Newtown, Doylestown, Lansdale, King of Prussia, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (215) 822-7575 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 2605 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA 18915, in addition to an office located in Newtown.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.