Drug Possession Penalties In New York

by ECL Writer
Drug Possession Penalties In New York

Drug offenses are among the most typical offenses for which persons are detained, tried, and sentenced in New York. In reality, there are over 50,000 arrests each year for just the most minor marijuana offense. Drug crimes can take many different forms, including drug distribution, drug production, drug paraphernalia, and drug-related sex crimes.

In addition, a variety of substances, including marijuana, club drugs, prescription medications, opioids, depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens are used. Drug-related offenses are categorized under New York law as infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. This indicates that penalties might range from life in prison to no time served in jail. Probation and penalties are other potential punishments. Despite the fact that some drug offenses are not felonies, the great majority of drug offenses are felonies that can result in lengthy jail terms.

If you are charged with a drug crime involving marijuana, cocaine, heroin, OxyContin, methamphetamine, or any other drug, it is crucial that you get in touch with a skilled New York drug crimes attorney right away. This lawyer will be familiar with the law pertaining to drug crimes, including sentencing, and will be able to offer you the best defense possible given the facts of your case.

Types Of Drug Crimes In New York

Marijuana-related drug offenses are prosecuted differently from drug crimes involving other narcotics under New York law. There are 11 marijuana-related offenses, all of which are connected to marijuana possession or sale. A single marijuana infraction is a violation rather than a criminal. There are 29 so-called controlled substance offenses that involve other drugs. The possession, sale, and manufacture of prohibited substances are the main topics of controlled substance offenses.

You could be arrested and, in some situations, found guilty if you commit any of the 39 drug offenses. Most drug-related convictions result in sentences ranging from 90 days to life in prison and fines of up to $100,000.

Arrest And Arraignment

You will be arraigned 24 hours after being detained for a narcotics offense. The specific charges against you will be revealed at your arraignment hearing. The costs may occasionally differ from what you anticipated. But you could believe that, for instance, a possession charge would suffice. However, the prosecutor may opt to charge you with possession with the intent to sell or a criminal sale charge depending on the number of narcotics you have or any other evidence.

There are some instances where the charge might be less than you anticipate. Sometimes there can be charges for crimes other than drug offenses, such as sex crimes or theft. You will find out whether or not bail is necessary at your arraignment.

The prosecutor will submit your case to the Grand Jury if you are accused of a felony. Whether you should be charged with a crime or discharged will be decided by the Grand Jury. If you are accused, or indicted, you may be able to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor, which usually entails agreeing to admit guilt to a less serious charge.

The prosecutor can propose a settlement in which you agree to plead guilty to a class C or class D crime, for instance, if you are accused of a class B drug criminal. Your case will go to trial if you and the prosecution are unable to come to a plea deal.

Criminal Drug Treatment Court In New York

You might also be able to have your case heard by the Drug Treatment Court. Only those who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, who have been accused of class B, C, D, or E drug offenses, and who are likely to benefit from the Drug Treatment Court program are eligible for this choice. Any marijuana-related felonies qualify. Since they are class A felonies, five controlled substance offenses are not included. Having committed a violent crime within the last 10 years and being convicted of it is another criteria that could disqualify you from the program.

You must request a hearing in order to be given the choice of attending Drug Treatment Court. Both the prosecution and your defense team will present evidence to the judge. If the court deems that you are eligible for Drug Treatment Court and you accept the offer, before you can enter the program you must plead guilty to the pending criminal charges. If you finish the Drug Treatment Court program successfully, the court will dismiss the criminal charges against you in a way that is more beneficial to you than it would have been if you hadn’t. Sometimes the initial charges are dropped, and other times they are reduced.

If you choose not to attend Drug Treatment Court or if you don’t finish the program, your criminal case will proceed as usual through the criminal court system. If found guilty, you’ll probably have to spend some time in jail or prison.

Drug Possession Penalties In New York

The maximum penalty for a drug offense conviction varies depending on the drug crime’s classification, with life in prison being the maximum for class A-I or class A-II felonies. The type of substance, the amount of drug, the type of conduct, and your prior felony convictions are the most crucial elements used to categorize a drug crime and decide the punishment. Manufacturing, selling, and distributing drugs are the most serious drug crimes. Following convictions for drug offenses:

Class B misdemeanor 

The maximum possible sentence is 3 months days in jail and a fine of up to $500. The following drug offenses are class B misdemeanors: criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree and criminal sale of marijuana in the fifth degree.

Class A misdemeanor

The maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The following drug offenses are class A misdemeanors: criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the fourth degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree, and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument.

Class E felony

The maximum possible sentence is 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The following drug offenses are class E felonies: Criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree, criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances, criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree, criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material, use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense, and criminal injection of a narcotic drug.

Class D felony 

The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The following drug offenses are class D felonies: criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree.

Class C felony

The maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The following drug offenses are class C felonies: criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the first degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the second degree, and criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance.

Class B felony 

The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. The following drug offenses are class B felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds, and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree.

Class A-II felony 

The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The following drug offenses are class A-II felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree.

Class A-I felony

The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The following drug offenses are class A-I felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree, and operating as a major trafficker.

Defense To Possession Of A Controlled Substance In New York

Possession of a controlled substance is a serious crime in New York, with severe penalties that can include significant fines and lengthy prison sentences. However, in some cases, individuals who are accused of possessing a controlled substance may be able to mount a successful defense. Below are some common defenses to possession of a controlled substance in New York.

  • Lack of knowledge: One of the most common defenses to possession of a controlled substance is to argue that the accused did not know that the substance was illegal. For example, if the substance was found in a backpack that did not belong to the accused, or if the accused was unaware that prescription medication was expired, they may be able to argue that they did not have the requisite knowledge to be guilty of possession.
  • Unlawful search and seizure: The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. If law enforcement officers did not have a valid warrant or probable cause to search the accused or their property, any evidence of drug possession that was discovered during the search may be inadmissible in court.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officers induce an individual to commit a crime that they would not have committed otherwise. If an individual can demonstrate that they were coerced or induced to possess a controlled substance by a law enforcement officer, they may be able to argue that they should not be held responsible for the crime.
  • Medical necessity: In certain cases, individuals may be able to argue that they possessed a controlled substance out of medical necessity. For example, if an individual has a serious medical condition that requires them to use medical marijuana, they may be able to argue that their possession of the substance was necessary for their health and well-being.

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