Possession of a Controlled Substances is also referred to as Simple Possession of Drugs and Prohibited Acts. 


The crime of simple drug possession is an ungraded misdemeanor offense, punishable as follows:

  • 1st Offense: Ungraded Misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 1-year in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, and a 6-month driver's license suspension
  • 2nd Offense: Ungraded Misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 3-years in jail, a maximum fine of $25,000 and a 1-year driver's license suspension
  • 3rd and Subsequent Offenses: Ungraded Misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 3-years in jail, a maximum fine of $25,000 and a 2-year driver's license suspension


The Commonwealth will attempt to prove that you committed the crime of Simple Possession by Direct Possession or by Constructive Possession. Direct Possession occurs when drugs or contraband are found directly on your person, such as in your hand or pocket. Direct Possession evidence is typically the strongest evidence that can be presented against you in a simple possession case.

Constructive Possession applies when drugs are not found directly on your person, but in an area that you control, such as your home or vehicle. To prove Constructive Possession, the Commonwealth must establish that you had the power and intent to control the drugs. In Constructive Possession cases, more than one person can be charged with and convicted of possessing the same bag of drugs.


Never assume you are guilty of a drug offense even if drugs are found on your person, in your home, or in your vehicle. Drug investigations can be filled with numerous investigative errors and violations of your Constitutional Rights. The following list is a small sampling of frequent errors made by police officers in the course of drug investigations:

  • Routinely failing to conduct DNA and fingerprint testing of vehicles and containers used to hold drugs, including baggie corners, purses, glove compartments, safes, dresser drawers and other common storage items and locations;
  • Lacking probable cause to conduct a search of your person or vehicle;
  • Failing to obtain a search warrant, or obtaining a defective search warrant;
  • Failing to test drug paraphernalia (needles, pipes, bongs, and empty stamp bags) for the presence of controlled substances;
  • Ignoring evidence that the drugs found belonged to someone else;

Drug Defense Attorney David Zuckerman has the trial experience, negotiation skills, education and ability to defend your case from start to finish. For a free consultation, call 412-447-5580. As a former Drug Prosecutor, Attorney Zuckerman has first-hand knowledge of how drug cases are investigated, and will work to exploit all errors in the process to your advantage.

Furthermore, in appropriate cases, he will fight to seek your entry into various diversionary and pre-trial programs, which may include:

  • Probation Without Verdict (PWV) for First-Time Offenders: End probation with no conviction and ability to expunge charges from record
  • Reduced plea from Simple Possession to a Summary Disorderly Conduct offense
  • Favorable Early Disposition Program (EDP) plea at Pittsburgh Municipal Court
  • Probation

Call us - 412-447-5580