Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “meth” or “crystal meth,” is an extremely addictive drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes methamphetamine as a drug that “increases the amount of neurotransmitter dopamine, leading to high levels of that chemical in the brain.”
The NIDA reports that initial meth usage may lead to feelings of temporary euphoria, although long-term meth users may experience:
- mood disturbances; and
- violent behavior.
Because it is such an addictive drug, and can have significant physical and mental detriment on a user, the United States, as well as Pennsylvania, has outlawed its possession and use. If you are facing methamphetamine charges in Palmerton, Stroudsburg, or Bethlehem, it is important to understand the penalties you may be facing, as well as how an attorney can help you.
Penalties for Methamphetamine-Related Charges in Pennsylvania
Methamphetamines are Schedule II drugs, according to the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act of Pennsylvania (it is similarly classified by the United States government). As such, possession of this drug can carry significant penalties.
Per the guidelines set forth in Title 35 § 780-113 of the Pennsylvania Statutes, a first-time conviction for meth possession is classified as a misdemeanor depending on the amount. It can result in up to one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $5,000. A conviction of methamphetamine possession will also lead to a driver’s license revocation of six months or more, depending on the circumstances. Subsequent offenses for the possession of meth can result in a three-year prison sentence, as well as a $25,000 fine.
Furthermore, penalties can become much more severe if facing methamphetamine charges for delivery of the drug or possession with the intent to deliver.
Pennsylvania law provides that an individual who delivers or intends to deliver meth may receive:
- three years in prisonfor five to less than 10 grams (or five years in prison for a subsequent offense);
- four years in prison for possession of 10 to less than 100 grams (seven years for a second offense); or
- five years in prison for 100 grams or more (eight years for a subsequent offense).
Other Meth-Related Charges
An individual may face additional penalties for methamphetamine charges depending on the circumstances. For example, if the individual is charged with delivering meth within a school zone, he or she may face a two-year minimum sentence.
Additionally, the sale or delivery of meth to a minor can result in a minimum of one year in prison, no matter the amount in question. Additionally penalties may be handed down if the sale of the drug to a minor was near a school, or if it was done with the intent of promoting the habitual use of the drug.
How an Attorney Helps When Facing Methamphetamine Charges
The services of a legal professional can be extremely beneficial if you are currently facing methamphetamine charges in Pennsylvania. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to demonstrate that you did not have possession of the drug in question, possessed less of the substance than with which you are charged, or can explore other defenses.
If you are facing drug trafficking charges, a legal professional can help you create a defense that demonstrates that you did not have the intent to sell the drugs to anyone, which may lower the penalties.
It is important that you speak with an attorney today if you are facing methamphetamine charges. The legal professionals at ARM Lawyers defend clients against drug-related charges and can help you build your case.