What Are Common Types of Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania? 

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
June 16, 2021

common types of drug crimes in pennsylvaniaPunishments for drug crimes in Pennsylvania are some of the toughest in the United States. Federal and state laws encompass a wide range of drug offenses, from possession to distribution. However, federal penalties often lead to longer sentences than state penalties, which may grant probation or shorter sentences. Suppose you were arrested for a drug crime in Pennsylvania. In that case, it is strongly encouraged to retain an experienced drug crime defense lawyer to help you avoid getting a conviction on your record.

The criminal defense lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford have advocated on behalf of countless individuals throughout Pennsylvania facing severe drug charges with great success. This blog provides insight into some of the most frequent types of drug offenses prosecuted in Pennsylvania.

5 Common Drug Offenses in Pennsylvania

Law enforcement in Pennsylvania is primarily concerned with the trafficking and distribution of illegal substances. However, drug possession is not taken lightly. The most common types of illicit drugs involved in criminal charges in Pennsylvania involve marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Below are the most frequent types of drug offenses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Drug Paraphernalia

The National Drug Intelligence Center defines drug paraphernalia as any equipment used to conceal, produce, or consume illegal drugs. That may also include anything used to inhale or inject illicit substances. Examples of standard tools considered drug paraphernalia include:

  • Bongs
  • Cocaine freebase kits
  • Pipes
  • Roach clips
  • Rolling papers
  • Miniature spoons
  • Syringes

Individuals can easily purchase items considered drug paraphernalia in tobacco shops where items are marked for tobacco use only or online through mail-order business. United States Code Title 21 Section 863 makes drug paraphernalia unlawful to transport, import, or export drug paraphernalia, making the crime a federal offense.

Drug Possession

Pennsylvania’s laws on drug possession vary depending on the type of drug. While medical marijuana was legalized in 2016, it’s still a crime in Pennsylvania to possess marijuana without registration and certification by a physician. Possession of marijuana is still considered a federal offense along with other controlled substances like cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine. Anyone apprehended with a small amount of illegal drugs can be charged with simple possession, a misdemeanor crime, while a large quantity can lead to felony possession with the intent to distribute and harsher consequences.

Drug Trafficking 

Drug possession with the intent to distribute is much more severe a charge than simple possession. In Pennsylvania, drug trafficking is usually considered a felony with potential penalties of up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. If prosecuted at the federal level, penalties can be even harsher. 

Drug trafficking includes selling, transporting, and importing illegally controlled substances like cocaine and marijuana. Even if you are caught with a large quantity of narcotics meant for personal use, law enforcement may still charge you with drug distribution.

Drug Dealing

Similar to trafficking, “drug dealing” typically relates to selling illegal drugs on a reduced scale. For example, you may face drug-dealing charges if police suspect that you sell drugs on a street-level distribution in smaller amounts but are not high up in the distribution framework. With that said, even if you are not at the head of a specific distribution hierarchy, you may be charged with drug trafficking if you’re found with a large amount of illegal on hand. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sets federal penalties for drug crimes and considers 50 grams of marijuana as drug dealing with a potential sentence of up to five years incarceration while selling 1,000 kilograms of marijuana can result in ten years or more in prison.

Drug Manufacturing

Another felony crime, drug manufacturing, includes any phase of the production process of an illicit drug. In order to convict a suspected drug manufacturer, the prosecution usually must demonstrate that there was intent to manufacture and possession of the drugs. Depending on the narcotic, these charges can lead to a maximum of fifteen years imprisonment and fines up to $250,000. Note that marijuana manufacturing or cultivation is handled differently in Pennsylvania because of medical use exceptions.

Consult Experienced Southeastern Pennsylvania Defense Lawyers for Drug Crimes 

No matter what type of drug crime you are facing in Southeastern Pennsylvania, it is in your best interests to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney with experience defending drug charges. Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford’s team of drug crime lawyers has provided effective and powerful defense for clients charged with drug offenses for over 65 years. We’re here to help you walk away from these charges with the most favorable outcome possible for your situation. Contact us today to talk to a knowledgeable drug crime defense lawyer for free about your situation. Schedule your free case review and call 215-822-7575 or complete our contact form.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
June 16, 2021
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.