Despite reform in marijuana sentencing, along with movement across the country for the legalization of recreational marijuana, New York State still has severe punishments for the possession or sale of marijuana or controlled substances. Arrests on any marijuana- or narcotic-related offenses must be faced proactively and swiftly. It’s important to retain a New York defense attorney. Your defense attorney is your main protection against the power of the prosecution and law enforcement.
There are a huge number of drug offenses outlined in the New York Penal Code. They cover a wide amount of different conduct. Selling drugs is criminalized, as is the possession of illegal substances. There are special crimes outlined for people who traffic drugs across state lines, as an interstate crime means the offense must be tried on a federal level. Prosecutors can use the numerous charges to great advantage, leveling multiple charges against a person after one arrest.
For example, if a defendant sold cocaine to a police officer working undercover, they’ll face a felony charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. But because they possessed the cocaine before the sale, they can also be charged with criminally possessing a controlled substance in the third degree. They might also face conspiracy charges if the prosecutor believes you were helped by others in commissioning the crime.
If you are charged with multiple times or a single crime, it’s not guaranteed that you will be convicted. Different charges have different possible defenses. The severity of the charges and potential consequences also varies widely. Marijuana offenses are tried differently from controlled substance offenses. The state of New York considers marijuana offenses to be less serious than controlled substance offenses, but they could still have powerful potential consequences.
Unlawful possession of marijuana: This is considered a violation rather than a crime. It’s the only criminal drug statute not considered an official crime. A conviction of this offense won’t result in any permanent criminal records.
Possession and sale of marijuana: A number of different elements and factors go into the severity of these charges. In many cases with first-time offenders, a case will be dismissed.
Criminal sale of marijuana: There are five potential degrees to this crime, and they vary in severity, with first degree criminal sale being the most severe. The degree of the crime is based on the amount of marijuana being sold.
Controlled Substance Crimes
Criminal possession of controlled substances: This charge is leveled against a person when they own illegal substances like cocaine or heroin. It’s also applicable to people who have controlled prescription drugs without a prescription. The degrees of severity vary depending on the amount being sold.
Criminal sale of controlled substances: This charge is leveled when people attempt to sell their controlled substances. Even if the substance was given without payment, the gift still counts as a “sale.” Like possession charges, the degree of severity will depend on the amount of the substance being sold.
Sale of controlled substances by a practitioner: This statute specifically targets healthcare professionals who sell controlled substances or prescription medications. The penalties tend to be severe and varied depending on the type of substance being sold.
You might be surprised by the variety in the sentencing for drug crimes. For example, if you drive your car with a pound of marijuana stored under the seat, you might have to pay a $100 fine for criminal marijuana possession. But you might also be sentenced to two or more years in prison because of the intent to distribute.
There are collateral consequences to guilty pleas or convictions during a trial. Your license will immediately be suspended for six months. Medical practitioners will have their medical license revoked.