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    What are the Penalties for Possession of Cocaine in Philadelphia?

    Question: If I was charged with possessing cocaine, will I be convicted? What are the penalties? Will I go to jail? I have never been charged with possessing cocaine before, and I am worried about my future.

    Answer: Facing cocaine drug charges in Philadelphia is understandably frightening.  However, just because you have been charged with a drug crime does not mean that you will be convicted.  You are innocent until proven guilty.

    PA drug law classifies drugs into different schedules, from I to V, with the most dangerous drugs in Schedule I and the least dangerous drugs in Schedule V.  Drugs in Schedule II have a high potential for abuse.  Abuse of these drugs may lead to severe psychic or physical dependence. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, and the penalties for individuals convicted of possessing cocaine can be severe.

    Even if you possess a small amount of cocaine in Philadelphia for your own personal use, you may be sentenced up to one year in prison.  Your driver’s license will be also suspended for 6 months.

    There are different kinds of drug possession charges, from simple possession to possession with intent to deliver (PWID).  If cocaine was found on you, i.e., your pocket, shoes, socks, or somewhere you have control over, i.e., your home or car, you would be charged with simple drug possession.

    If you possessed cocaine and intended to sell or distribute them, then you would be charged with PWID.

    Fighting Drug Charges

    As I said in the beginning, being charged does not mean that you will be convicted.  There may be some legal issues with regard to how the cocaine was found on you.  These are called search and seizure issues.  If a police officer found cocaine on you, but it was unconstitutionally obtained, then the cocaine may be suppressed and cannot be used as evidence in the case against you.  Pursuant to PA law, a police officer may search a car without a warrant after pulling a driver over for a traffic offense.  However, the police officer can only search the vehicle if there is reasonable cause to believe that a crime is being committed.

    Related: PA Supreme Court Makes Sweeping Changes to Search-Seizure Law in PA Drug-Gun Cases

    For example, a police officer pulls you over for a broken tail light.  When you are pulled over, you are coming home from work and showed no indication of being high.  The car is properly registered and there are no active warrants.  There is no smell of drugs in the car.  He gives you a ticket and says he wants to search your glove compartment.  You keep a small amount of cocaine in your glove compartment for personal use, and the police officer finds the small amount of cocaine.

    In this situation, it can be argued that the police officer did not have reasonable cause to believe a crime was being committed.  Therefore, he could not search your glove compartment.

    Fighting PA Drug Charges in Philadelphia –FREE Consultations from a Philadelphia Criminal Lawyer

    If you or a loved one was arrested for a state or federal drug related charge in Philadelphia, call David Nenner, a top rated Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer, who has handled countless state and federal drug cases. Mr. Nenner offers FREE consultations. (215) 564-0644

    Rated by Super Lawyers Magazine: “Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney in Philadelphia, PA”

    David Nenner, Esq. has been selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list from 2015-2016.  Each year no more than 5% of the nominated lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

    Disclaimer: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. Our lawyers provide legal advice only after accepting a case. It is imperative that any action taken is done on advice of counsel. Read full disclaimer below.

    David S. Nenner

    "Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer"
    (2015-2022)

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