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Penalties for cocaine crimes in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Drug Crimes

Cocaine is a very addictive controlled substance made from the leaves of coca plants. Since it can damage health, most states have made laws that prohibit cocaine. A person in State College, Pennsylvania, who gets caught with cocaine faces several penalties.

Overview of Pennsylvania drug laws

Pennsylvania divides controlled substances into four groups, Schedule I, II, III and IV, based on addiction potential. Schedule I and II substances are believed to be the most addictive, and cocaine is under Schedule II. Schedule I substances have no medically established use, and Schedule VI and V substances include prescriptions.

Drug crimes include simple possession, cultivation, selling, manufacturing, and trafficking, each with varying penalties. Pennsylvania also applies Zero Tolerance laws to drugged driving regardless of substance amount, and even if drivers don’t show impairment.

Penalties for cocaine

Possession under Pennsylvania law means knowingly and intentionally having control of an illegal substance. Penalties for first-time cocaine possession commonly include one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine and a six-month license suspension. The penalties increase to up to a $15,000 fine and maximum three years of jail for possessing between 10 and 100 grams.

Possession with intent to deliver Schedule I to IV substances counts as a felony with a penalty of up to 15 years of jail and/or a $15,000 fine. The penalties for selling cocaine include up to a $250,00 fine and up to 15 years in jail for first offenses. The penalties for a first-offense cocaine trafficking charge are up to five years in jail and up to a $15,000 fine.

The prosecution must prove the defendant had control of the substance beyond a reasonable doubt. Getting charged doesn’t always mean guilty, and a valid defense may help reduce the charges or get them dismissed.