Nature of Drug Offense
Drug offenses in New York are categorized into two categories namely controlled substances and marijuana. A controlled substance is defined as all other drugs listed by the law except marijuana. Drug offenses can range from drug possession to drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is defined as the production, distribution, and sale of controlled substances. Charges of drug trafficking are more severe than charges of drug possession.
Before you are convicted of a drug possession charge, there are four things that prosecutors must prove.
· The substance you were found with is a controlled substance under New York State Law.
· You were indeed in possession of the substance at the time of apprehension.
· You were aware that the drugs were listed in law as controlled substances.
· Possession of the drugs was not in line with the Laws of New York. If drugs are found in your residence or any other area under your control, then you could still be charged with constructive possession. The charge carries the same sentence as a regular possession.
Drug trafficking incorporates any of the following offenses according to Article 10 of the New York Penal Law.
· Using a child to transport or sell drugs.
· Management of a major drug operation that involves manufacture, distribution, and sale of drugs.
· Sale of drugs near schools.
· The sale of controlled substances of either the first, second, third, or fourth degree.
Penalties for Drug Offenses in Queens, New York
The penalties for drug offenses depend on how much drugs you had in your possession, how much money you have made from the manufacture, distribution or sale of said drugs, and whether you have previous convictions. If you are found to be in possession of a firearm along with the drug offense, then your possible prison sentence and fine goes up. If you were receiving treatment from the drugs at the time of your charge, then this positively helps your case.
The lowest drug possession charge is also called a seventh-degree charge, a misdemeanor. This carries a sentence of up to a year behind bars or $1,000 in fines. This is the least severe drug offense that forms the basis of your charges. The rest are all felonies, and you could spend the rest of your life behind bars if the charges brought against you are serious.
Criminal drug offenses are classified as the first, second, third, fourth, and the fifth degree which are class A-II, class A-I, class B, class C, and class D felonies respectively.
First-degree offenders who do not have prior convictions and are not significant traffickers, face up to 8-20 years in prison. If you are convicted of being a major drug trafficker, then expect between 5 years to life imprisonment.
The four different defenses that your lawyer could use in a drug offense case include:
· Lack of intent that has to be proven for it to be used as a defense.
· Lack of knowledge.
· Entrapment. This is when a law enforcement officer coerces you into performing acts of trafficking that you would not ordinarily do. You have to prove that you had no intention of possessing or trafficking the drug in the first place for this defense to hold in court.
· Possession for personal use. If you are found to be in possession of marijuana for example, and you aimed to use it for recreational or medicinal purposes, then this can be used as your defense in court.
What Our Lawyers can do for You
Our experienced legal team will be able to use the various possible defenses to make sure your charges are either dropped, or your sentence is reduced to the minimum possible sentence. Furthermore, our team can get a plea deal for you if you choose to help track down major drug traffickers.