A charge of drug possession in New York can lead to serious penalties, with those penalties increasing depending on the amount of the substance you had and if you have any priors. If you’re facing a drug possession charge, it’s good to understand what you’re up against. This guide will cover all the essentials, including what the crime is, potential penalties for it and possible defenses to consider.
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in New York
The laws related to drug possession in New York’s criminal code are the criminal possession of a controlled substance laws. You’re in violation of the law if you knowingly possess anything that the state has listed as a controlled substance.
There are different degrees to this crime. The least severe is criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and then the severity increases for Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth, fourth, third, second and first degrees.
There’s a specific minimum amount of substances for each degree of the crime, which is what distinguishes them from one another. For example, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree applies with even trace amounts of a substance. If you had cocaine on you, you’d be charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree if you had at least 500 milligrams or criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree if you had at least 1 gram.
Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree also applies if it’s believed that you had intent to sell the substance, which means you can be charged with it even for small amounts of a substance.
Penalties for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
The classifications of each controlled substance charge and their max sentences are as follows:
Besides potential time in prison, other possible penalties for these crimes include probation and fines.
Defenses to a Drug Possession Charge
There are several defenses to a drug possession charge, although the right defense for you will depend on your case. If you can demonstrate reasonable doubt that you knew about the drug possession, that is one option, as you can only be guilty of the crime if you knowingly possess the substance. Another defense would be if you actually had a legal reason to possess the substance, or if it was prescribed to you.
You may also be able to reduce the severity of your punishment by agreeing to complete a substance abuse treatment program.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
We realize that being charged with drug possession can be a stressful experience, and you may be wondering what to do next. Your best move is to hire a qualified drug possession lawyer who has experience finding the right defense strategies for their clients.
Our lawyers can consult with you and look at what you’re being charged with, along with the evidence against you, to advise you on your options. Your lawyer can negotiate plea deals on your behalf and represent you in court. We’ll be by your side from the beginning of your case until the end.