In a high-tech world, new recreational drugs pop up every day. The law struggles to keep up with them, and chemists struggle to keep ahead of the law in a never-ending game of cat and mouse. Many synthetic drugs are illegal, so it is important not to assume a drug is legal simply because it is new. Charges for possession or trafficking in a synthetic drug can be just as serious as those applied to heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine.
If you are facing synthetic drugs charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced synthetic drugs defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
What Are Synthetic Drugs?
The label “synthetic drugs” applies to a wide array of drugs, including some that have been around, and illegal, for decades. But it’s most often used to refer to a long list of designer recreational drugs that have appeared around the world in recent years, designed by chemists seeking to avoid anti-drug laws. This includes many of the chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana, such as K2, and many of the chemicals commonly marketed as “bath salts,” such as methcathinone and its derivatives. Many of these chemicals have been outlawed by the state and federal governments, including Pennsylvania, but new chemicals have quickly appeared to replace them.
Possession of Synthetic Drugs in Pennsylvania
Simple possession of a small amount of several types of synthetic drugs is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, punishable by as much as one year in jail for a first offense and three years for subsequent offenses. The list of banned synthetic drugs in this state includes synthetic cannabis and some of the chemicals commonly used in so-called bath salts. There is mandatory minimum incarceration for multiple repeat offenders, but first-time offenders often can walk away with probation and fines. It is worth noting that synthetic marijuana is not treated in the same way as organic marijuana under Pennsylvania law. Possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana is a lesser misdemeanor punishable by no more than 30 days in jail, but there is no such minimum for synthetic marijuana. Simple possession of an illegal synthetic drug is also punishable under federal law, which provides a maximum one-year sentence.
Purchase of Synthetic Drugs in Pennsylvania
Additional charges are possible for buying synthetic drugs. Intentionally or knowingly purchasing synthetic drugs is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Only multiple repeat offenders face mandatory minimum sentences, so probation is often possible. Simple possession charges are generally more likely, but in some cases additional charges of purchasing a controlled substance may be filed.
Synthetic Drugs and Trafficking in Pennsylvania
Trafficking in synthetic drugs is a serious felony in Pennsylvania and carries penalties including as five years. Mandatory minimum sentences don’t apply on a first offense, but jail time is likely. Offenses involving distribution of synthetic drugs to minors carry minimum one-year sentences. Two years more are added when a defendant intended to promote habitual drug use, intended to involve a minor in drug trafficking, distributed synthetic drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, or distributed the drugs on a school bus or within 500 feet of a school bus stop. . Federal trafficking laws also apply and carry even stiffer penalties: mandatory minimums as that include a life sentence where drugs distributed by a repeat offender cause a death.
If you or a loved have been charged with a synthetic drugs crime, call Brian Manchester, an experienced synthetic drugs defense lawyer. He can help you build the defense you need today.