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What are the potential penalties for cocaine possession?


If one wants, one could find a number of different drugs in Philadelphia. There are many people who use these drugs on a regular basis and may be addicted to the drug. Others may just use a drug recreationally. However, the frequency of the use does not make it more or less illegal. If a person is caught with a drug, most likely he or she will be charged with a drug offense.

The penalties for a person who is convicted of a drug offense depend on the type and amount of the drugs involved. In Philadelphia, the penalties for a small amount of marijuana are different than those for a person possessing a larger amount of cocaine. Each drug is put into a category depending on how dangerous the drug can be for the user and the penalties vary according to the category.

Cocaine is in the category known as Schedule II, which is the second most dangerous or serious category of drugs. If convicted for a first-time cocaine possession offense, the person would receive a misdemeanor conviction and may be sentenced to as much as one year in jail. The individual also may have to pay a fine of up to $5,000. If it is a person's second conviction for possession of cocaine, then he or she could go to jail for up to three years and/or pay a fine of $25,000.

Those are the penalties for simple possession, but if the person is dealing cocaine or has the intent to deal it, the penalties increase dramatically. If convicted of dealing, the person would be guilty of a felony. He or she also could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and/or pay a fine up to $100,000 or more. If the assets used in the drug dealing business total more than $100,000, the fine could be equal to the value of the assets.

Cocaine possession and dealing are taken very seriously in Philadelphia. The penalties even for possession of a small amount of cocaine can result in a significant fine and jail sentence. This post only provides general information, however, and is not legal advice. Experienced drug offense attorneys understand the law and may be able to protect one's legal rights.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health, "The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device and Cosmetic Act," accessed April 6, 2015

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