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In part I and II of this article series, we discussed PA’s drug laws and federal drug laws. In addition, state penalties were also discussed for simple possession and possession with intent to deliver (PWID). In part III, we will discuss the penalties for these charges under federal drug laws.
As previously discussed, PA state and federal drug laws categorize drugs into five schedules or groups. Schedule I contains the most dangerous drugs, and Schedule V contains the least dangerous drugs.
Because federal drug charges are generally more serious than state drug charges, convicted individuals face more serious penalties for the same charges.
Simple Possession Under Federal Law
An individual convicted of simple possession may face up to 1 year in prison and a fine of no less than $1,000. If it is the person’s second offense, the person must pay no less than $2,500, and faces up to 2 years in prison.
Drug Trafficking Under Federal Law
In general, federal drug laws apply to more serious drug crimes such as drug trafficking, which is possession with intent to distribute, manufacture, import and export drugs. Federal trafficking charges typically involve larger amounts of drugs as compared to the amount of drugs involved under state PWID drug law.
If an individual is convicted of federal drug trafficking, the penalty depends on the type and amount of drugs the person possessed.
If a person is found with 100-999 grams of heroin, a Schedule I drug, and it is the person’s first offense, he/she faces prison time of no less than 5 years and not more than 40 years. If death or serious bodily injury is involved, the person faces a minimum 20 year prison sentence, up to life in prison. In addition, he/she also faces a fine of no more than $5 million.
If it is the person’s second offense, he/she faces a prison sentence of at least 10 years, but no more than life. If death or serious bodily injury is involved, then the person faces life in prison and a fine of up to $8 million.
The same penalty applies for those possessing a larger amount of Schedule II drug, such as cocaine. If a person possess 500-4999 grams of cocaine, he/she faces the same above penalties.
Because heroin is a more dangerous drug, i.e., Schedule I drug, a smaller amount of it will have the same penalty as the penalty for a larger amount of cocaine, a less dangerous drug, i.e., Schedule II drug.
Philadelphia Criminal Lawyer Handling PA and Federal Drug Charges
If you have been arrested in Philadelphia and charged with state and/or federal drug charges, it is important to have an experienced Philadelphia criminal drug lawyer on your side. Call our office to schedule a FREE consultation. 215.564.0644
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