New York Drug Possession – All You Need To Know

by ECL Writer
Criminal Possession In The Fifth Degree Of A Controlled Substance

New York Drug Possession charges can have serious consequences, including fines, probation, and even jail time. Being caught with illegal drugs can have a long-lasting impact on your personal and professional life, affecting your ability to find employment, secure housing, and obtain credit. If you or someone you know has been charged with drug possession in New York, it’s essential to understand the charges and the potential consequences. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore the different types of drug possession charges in New York, the penalties associated with each charge, and what you can do if you’re facing drug possession charges. Whether you’re a first-time offender or have prior convictions, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of your legal rights and options.

Overview Of New York Drug Possession Laws

One of the most frequent crimes in New York is drug possession. Illegal narcotics are frequently in the possession of people of all ages and all classes for their own individual usage. Although some people contend that having a modest amount of narcotics for personal use shouldn’t be viewed as a significant felony, this is not the case in New York. Even for some misdemeanor drug possession offenses, you risk going to jail and getting a criminal record if you are found guilty.

It is unlawful for anybody to knowingly possess a restricted substance, according to New York Penal Law 220.03, which is the most basic definition of drug possession in the state. However, if the medication is discovered on someone’s person while they are seeking quick medical attention for a life-threatening emergency, they are not subject to prosecution. A Class A misdemeanor is the outcome of a conviction for this low-level violation. This carries a maximum one-year prison sentence as well as a $1,000 fine.

The severity of the charges increases with the quantity of narcotics discovered under a person’s control. Six different classifications of drug possession exist, each with distinct meanings and consequences. The types of drugs found in these categories as well as the quantity of drugs found vary. For instance, under New York Penal Law 220.06, having 500 milligrams of cocaine is considered narcotics possession in the fifth degree. A Class D felony, this is. According to New York Penal Law 220.16, however, having the same amount of a hallucinogen is considered third-degree drug possession, which carries substantially heavier penalties. These accusations are felonies of Class B.

An attorney for New York City could explain the charges against the suspect and the possible consequences of a conviction to the suspect. Drug charges are fortunately among the easiest to refute under criminal law.

New York Drug Possession Crimes

Drug possession, as defined by New York law, can refer to the possession of any number of narcotics designated as restricted substances. Cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, club drugs, OxyContin, and other illegally obtained prescription opiates are all considered controlled substances for the purposes of a drug possession accusation. The term “drug possession” can also refer to marijuana possession.

Only one of the six drug possession offenses—criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree—is a misdemeanor. If you have even a small amount of a controlled substance, you could be charged. It is a misdemeanor of Class A. New York Penal Law 220.03. Depending on the drug, if you have more than a certain minimal amount, you may be charged with felony criminal possession rather than criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Other situations, including the illegal possession of anabolic steroids, result in a misdemeanor penalty for possession of any quantity. Possession of drugs in a crime is charged as follows:

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree

Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell it is involved, as is possession of at least 1/2 ounce of a narcotic preparation, at least 50 milligrams of PCP, at least 1/4 ounce of a concentrated cannabis preparation, at least 500 milligrams of cocaine, at least 1,000 milligrams of ketamine, at least 28 grams of GHB, or at least 1,000 milligrams of ketamine if you have a prior conviction for ketamine possession. It is an offense of Class D. New York Penal Law 220.06

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree

It involves possessing at least 1/8 ounce of narcotic drug preparations; at least 1/2 ounce of methamphetamine preparations; at least 2 ounces of narcotic preparations; at least 1 gram of a stimulant; at least 1 milligram of a lysergic acid diethylamide; at least 25 milligrams of a hallucinogen; at least 1 gram of a hallucinogenic substance; at least 10 ounces of a dangerous depressant; at least 2 pounds of a depressant; at least 1 ounce of concentrated cannabis; at least 250 milligrams of PCP; at least 60 milligrams of methadone; at least 50 milligrams of PCP and you were previously convicted of a controlled substance offense; at least 4,000 milligrams of ketamine; any amount of ketamine if you have a previous possession of ketamine conviction; or possessing at least 200 grams of GHB. It is a Class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.09

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree

This is the charge you will face if you possess a narcotic drug; or you possess a stimulant, hallucinogen, hallucinogenic substance, or lysergic acid diethylamide drug with the intent to sell it and you have already been convicted of a controlled substance offense ; or you possess at least 1 gram of a stimulant, at least 1 milligram of a lysergic acid diethylamide, at least 25 milligrams of a hallucinogen, or at least 1 gram of a hallucinogenic substance with the intent to sell; or you possess at least 1/8 ounce of methamphetamine preparations, at least 5 grams of a stimulant; at least 5 milligrams of a lysergic acid diethylamide; at least 125 milligrams of a hallucinogen; at least 5 grams of a hallucinogenic substance; at least .5 ounce of a narcotic drug preparation; or at least 1,250 milligrams of PCP. It is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.16

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree

It involves possessing a minimum of 4 ounces of narcotic drug preparations; 2 ounces of methamphetamine preparations; 10 grams of a stimulant; 25 milligrams of a lysergic acid diethylamide; 625 milligrams of a hallucinogen; 25 grams of a hallucinogenic substance; or 2,880 milligrams of methadone. It is a Class A-II felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.18

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree

This is the most serious drug possession crime. You will face this charge if you possess a minimum of 8 ounces of narcotic drug preparations or at least 5,760 milligrams of methadone. It is a Class A-I felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.21

There are six additional marijuana possession offenses. Marijuana possession is seen as less serious than the possession of a controlled substance. One marijuana possession accusation is therefore only a violation, while the other two are misdemeanors.

Unlawful possession of marijuana

It involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana. It is a violation. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.05

Criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree

It involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in a public place and burning it or displaying it in public view. It also involves possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 25 grams. It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.10

Criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree

This involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 2 ounces. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.15

Criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree 

This involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 8 ounces. It is a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.20

Criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree

It involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 16 ounces. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.25

Criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree 

This involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 10 pounds. It is a Class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.30

Penalties For New York Drug Possession

The maximum punishment for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, which is a Class A-1 felony, is up to life in prison. The sentence for a conviction for a drug crime varies depending on the categorization of the drug offense. Convictions for drug possession also result in the following punishments:

Violation

The only drug possession charge that is a violation is unlawful possession of marijuana. The penalty is a fine of up to $100. However, if it is your second conviction for this offense within the prior 3 years, then the fine will be up to $200. If it is your third offense, then you may face a fine of up to $250 or up to 15 days in jail.

Class B misdemeanor

The maximum possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree is a Class B misdemeanor.

Class A misdemeanor

The maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree are Class A misdemeanors.

Class E felony 

The maximum possible sentence is 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree is a Class E felony.

Class D felony 

The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree are Class D felonies.

Class C felony

The maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree are Class C felonies.

Class B felony 

The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is a Class B felony.

Class A-II felony

The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree is a Class A-II felony.

Class A-I felony

The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is a Class A-I felony.

Defenses To Drug Possession Charges In New York

If you are facing drug possession charges in New York, there are several defenses that you may be able to use to challenge the charges. Some common defenses to drug possession charges in New York include:

  • Unlawful search and seizure: If the drugs were obtained as a result of an unlawful search and seizure by law enforcement, you may be able to argue that the evidence should be suppressed and the charges dismissed.
  • Lack of knowledge: If you did not know that the drugs were in your possession, you may be able to argue that you lacked the necessary intent to commit the crime of drug possession.
  • Prescription: If you had a valid prescription for the drug, you may be able to argue that your possession of the drug was legal.
  • Entrapment: If law enforcement induced you to possess drugs that you otherwise would not have possessed, you may be able to argue that you were entrapped and the charges should be dismissed.
  • Mistaken identity: If the drugs did not belong to you and you were mistakenly identified as the person in possession of the drugs, you may be able to argue that you are not guilty of the crime of drug possession.

It is important to note that the success of these defenses will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. If you are facing drug possession charges in New York, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and help you develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your unique situation.

The Importance Of Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney For Drug Possession Charges In New York

If you are facing drug possession charges in New York, it is critical to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. The consequences of a drug possession conviction can be severe, and an attorney can help you navigate the legal system and work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Here are some reasons why hiring a criminal defense attorney is important in drug possession cases in New York:

  • Knowledge of the law: An experienced criminal defense attorney will have a thorough understanding of New York’s drug possession laws and how they apply to your case. They can explain the charges against you, the potential penalties you face, and the defenses that may be available to you.
  • Protection of your rights: Your attorney will work to protect your constitutional rights throughout the legal process. This includes ensuring that any evidence against you was obtained legally, protecting you from self-incrimination, and ensuring that you are treated fairly by law enforcement and the court system.
  • Negotiation with prosecutors: Your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf to seek reduced charges or a plea bargain that may allow you to avoid jail time or have your charges dismissed upon completion of a drug treatment program.
  • Guidance through the legal process: The criminal justice system can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you have never been involved in it before. An attorney can guide you through the process and provide you with the support and advice you need to make informed decisions about your case.
  • Mitigation of consequences: Even if a conviction cannot be avoided, an attorney can work to mitigate the consequences of a drug possession conviction. This may include seeking a reduced sentence, advocating for alternatives to incarceration, or working to ensure that you receive treatment for any underlying substance abuse issues.

Overall, hiring a criminal defense attorney is crucial if you are facing drug possession charges in New York. Your attorney can protect your rights, provide you with legal guidance and support, and work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

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