Drug laws throughout the U.S. vary from state to state and even jurisdiction to jurisdiction within certain states. Nevertheless, in spite of developments in certain states with respect to the legalization of medicinal or recreational marijuana usage, the possession of controlled substances (including marijuana) and/or noncontrolled substances where an individual does not have a valid prescription remains a crime here in Pennsylvania.
Nowhere is this more true than here in sleepy central Pennsylvania where, despite the current shifts toward leniency on the national level, a conservative “small town” attitude often clashes with the harsh reality that drug use, particularly heroin use, is steadily on the rise here in Pennsylvania.
As a result, casual drug users — particularly college students from out of state who merely possessed small amounts of a controlled substance for personal use, often marijuana — are surprised when they are aggressively charged and prosecuted for relatively minor drug offenses in Centre County and in counties throughout central Pennsylvania.
The legislative act that criminalizes controlled substances here in Pennsylvania — the Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act — is a dauntingly complex statute replete with exhaustive definitions of criminal offenses, drug paraphernalia, and the chemical content of a wide variety of both common and uncommon controlled substances.
Furthermore, the Drug Act, as it is commonly called, is ever evolving as the legislature works hand-in-hand with the law enforcement community to define and prohibit the possession of legal, mind-altering “designer” drugs (i.e., “bath salts” or “spice”).
Despite the complexity of the Drug Act, drug-related offenses here in Pennsylvania can generally be broken down into two categories: Offenses related to the possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia for personal use, and offenses related to the manufacture and/or distribution of controlled substances.
Offenses related to the possession of controlled substances for personal use necessarily involve one of three specific crimes: Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana for Personal Use, “Simple” Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. If you or a loved one has been charged with any of the above specified offenses, please visit the appropriate page to learn more about the specifics of each charge, including potential sentencing exposure and collateral consequences if you are convicted.
Attorney Julian Allatt of Rehmeyer & Allatt will be able to identify any available defenses or motions to suppress that may help you avoid conviction, or be able to negotiate a favorable plea agreement on your behalf that would help to avoid serious long-term consequences. We would urge you to contact the law offices of Rehmeyer & Allatt to set up a free consultation with a State College drug defense attorney.
Offenses related to the manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance are serious criminal offenses with significant, long-term consequences in the event of a conviction. Please visit our page on Possession with the Intent to Distribute (PWID) to learn more. If you or a loved one has been charged with an offense or offenses related to the distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, we would urge you to contact the law offices of Rehmeyer & Allatt to set up a free consultation: 814-343-9860.