Penalties for Drug Possession in Pittsburgh
While it’s a crime to possess illegal drugs in any location in the United States, the penalties and mandatory minimum sentences can vary drastically from state to state. If you are a resident of Pittsburgh, you should be aware of the penalties for the state of Pennsylvania.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
Penalties are more severe for persons trafficking in drugs, that is, carrying a quantity large enough to sell. If someone dealing drugs has a firearm in close proximity to his person, the firearm will add a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 5-10 years. Sentences will also vary based on how many prior convictions the defendant has; a first offense means a lighter minimum sentence.
If marijuana is possessed in an amount large enough to sell or distribute (at least two pounds), a minimum sentence of one year and/or a $ 5,000 fine will be imposed for a first offense, and two years for a second offense. These sentences can reach up to five years if the quantity exceeds 50+ pounds. A first offense for selling marijuana to a minor will result in a felony conviction and two years in prison.
Some prescription drugs will be treated as illegal controlled substances when obtained without a valid medical prescription. These include but are not limited to Fentanyl, Vicodin, Oxycontin, Xanax, Ativan, Lorazepam and Adderall. Other illegal controlled substances include cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, acid (LSD), mushrooms, ecstacy, methamphetamines and illegal steroids. A first offense for the above-listed substances can result in up to five years in prison, depending on the substance and the amount in possession (crack cocaine and heroin have longer minimum sentences). A second offense can result in up to seven years in prison. Note that these sentences are maximums, and smaller quantities will not trigger their enforcement.
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