When is it simple possession vs. possession with intent to deliver in Pennsylvania?

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Answered by: John J. Waldron

Located in Allentown, PAHuber, Waldron & Williams, LLP

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Whether or not you will be charged with simple possession or possession with intent to deliver largely depends on the weight. For example, in Pennsylvania, a “small amount” of marijuana is considered 30 grams or less. However, it’s important to also take into account any other paraphernalia around. Using marijuana as an example, having items around like many small plastic baggies, a scale and cash can make it look more like you are intending to distribute marijuana, whereas having just a pipe makes it look like you are just planning to use it yourself.

How paraphernalia can affect your charge?

The court can be flexible regarding weight of the drug when taking paraphernalia into account. You could have 32 grams and a pipe and be charged with simple possession because it’s clear you’re just using it yourself. Or, you could have 28 grams and plastic baggies, a scale and tons of cash around and be charged with possession with intent to deliver, making it look like an operation.

Why simple possession vs. possession with intent to deliver matters?

What you are charged with matters because it will affect whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Having a felony on your record can and likely will affect the rest of your life, starting with potential jail time. If you are being investigated for any drug charge, you should talk to an attorney to get a professional’s opinion.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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