Philadelphia Drug Lawyer

In 2014, the City of Philadelphia decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, possession of marijuana remains a state crime. City and state drug laws often change as new mayors, governors, and legislators take office. When drug laws change, penalties for drug convictions also change. Drug cases in Philadelphia can be particularly complex due to the differing potential penalties of city law versus state law.

For those facing marijuana or other drug charges in Philadelphia, conflicting city and state laws can cause a lot of confusion. If you have been charged with drug possession or a related drug offense, contact a Philadelphia drug lawyer. An experienced defense attorney can determine which law applies to your case, and make sure that you are not charged with the wrong crime.

Common Drug Charges

The law defines many drug charges, and the associated penalties for those charges. Some of the most common drug charges in Philadelphia include:

  • Marijuana charges
  • Simple Possession (also called Knowing and Intentional Possession)
  • Possession with Intent to Deliver
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Each drug charge has a different set of potential penalties. Some charges may result in jail time, fines, and other penalties, depending on the amount and type of drug.

For certain drug crimes, state law requires certain penalties are imposed. This requirement is known as a “mandatory minimum.” In these cases, a conviction will lead to specific penalties with no exceptions. Penalties differ for each crime, so it is important to contact a Philadelphia drug lawyer if someone is facing charges.


Like many cities across the nation, Philadelphia recently decriminalized possession small amounts of marijuana. Possessing and using marijuana remains illegal in Philadelphia.

However, possessing small amounts of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense, but rather a civil offense. This means that possessing a small amount of marijuana can result in a civil penalty, such as paying a fine, rather than jail time.

The City Code defines a “small amount” of marijuana as 30 grams or less (30 grams equal approximately one ounce of marijuana). Someone found in possession of 30 grams or less faces a civil citation, and penalty of $25 for each violation. This penalty increases to $100 per violation for those found smoking a small amount of marijuana in a public place.

Drug Charges vs. State Drug Charges

It is important to note that while the City of Philadelphia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, such possession is still a state crime. Buying and selling marijuana is also a state crime. Even if buying a small amount, a buyer could potentially face state criminal charges for Knowing and Intentional Possession.

Because of the complexity of city and state drug laws, it is important to contact a Philadelphia drug lawyer right away if charged. A drug lawyer can determine which law applies to their potential client’s case, and provide more information on potential penalties.

Benefit of a Lawyer

Conflicting city and state drug laws can lead to complexities in any Philadelphia drug case. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact Philadelphia drug lawyers. Skilled lawyers will explain the penalties you may face, and will work hard to defend you in court.