New York Penal Code § 220.50: Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree

A person may be charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree in New York if you possess or sell:

  • Various dilutents or adulterants, used to dilute a narcotic drug or stimulant under circumstances showing an intent to use the narcotic drug or stimulant; or
  • Capsules, envelopes, vials, or any other material for the packaging of narcotic drugs or stimulants under circumstances showing an intent to use, or under circumstances showing knowledge that some person intends to use a narcotic drug or stimulant; or
  • Scales and other similar instruments used weigh or measure controlled substances with circumstances showing an intent to use.

These circumstances are very broad any several items may fall within the definition. For each circumstance, there must be evidence that the items were possessed with the an intent to use them for controlled substances. Because of this, there must be more than just mere possession of the item of alleged paraphernalia.

If you are facing these charges, then you should seek out representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and represent you in the case.

What are the potential penalties?
Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you face a maximum jail sentence of one year. The jail sentence could be suspended and you would be placed on probation. During probation, you could be required to attend substance abuse treatment and submit to drug testing.

Are there any defenses?
In order to be found guilty of this offense, the prosecution must prove each of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If this cannot be done, then your case should be dismissed.

For example, under the Penal Code, there must be proof that the items possessed are used to make, package or sell drugs. If you possessed items for other purposes, then you should not be found guilty. Similarly, if the items you possess were being used for a controlled substance, which you lawfully can use (e.g., prescription), then there may be a defense for your case.

Drug-related crimes often involve issues related to the fourth amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches. If the alleged paraphernalia was obtained by the police without a search warrant, then the police must show that an exception to the warrant requirement applies, such as consent, automobile exception, search incident to arrest, etc. If there was no warrant and an exception does not apply, then the evidence of the paraphernalia could be excluded.

How a criminal defense attorney can help
Drug-related crimes can be serious and have long lasting consequences. Paraphernalia cases can be complex and often involve legal and factual issues that need to be addressed. A criminal defense attorney will understand the law and know what issues to look for.

A criminal defense attorney will review your case to determine whether there are any defenses available. They will help you understand how the law applies to your situation and discuss the possible scenarios. They can review the evidence that the state intends to use against you to help you identify possible defenses.

An attorney can represent you in court and act as an advocate for your behalf. If the case proceeds to trial, then a criminal defense attorney will cross examine witnesses, make any necessary objections and present argument on your behalf.

If you are facing charges for drug paraphernalia, then contact our office as soon as possible to discuss your options. We will strive to achieve a fair result for your case.

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