New York Designer Drug

The term designer drug was first used in the 1980s by law enforcement to describe drugs which were changed into order to make them legal. They were developed as new forms of pre-existing illegal drugs or completely new drugs. In both cases the drugs are designed to fall outside of the law because their chemical makeup has not been specifically banned by existing law. The first designer drugs were synthetic forms of heroin. Law enforcement and healthcare professionals are particularly concerned about designer drugs because the formulations are so new that they have not been thoroughly tested. Thus, both the short term and long term effects are unknown. Furthermore, designer drugs are often used by young adults and teens. They are sometimes made to look "innocent"-- almost like candy. Those who take them are sometimes unaware of their intoxicating effects. The term "designer drug" is also sometimes used interchangeably with the term "club drug " because like other types of club drugs such as MDMA, Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) , Rohypnol, methamphetamine, and ketamine, designer drugs are frequently found at raves, night clubs, bars, and house parties. Because many designer drugs are not illegal, if you are arrested and charged with a drug crime based on a designer drug, the charges may not stick. On the other hand if the so-called designer drug has been classified as a controlled substance as defined in the New York Penal Code, then you may end up with a drug crime conviction. If you are arrested and charged with a drug crime based on a designer drug, do not assume that the charges will eventually be dismissed. Instead, you should immediately contact an experienced New York designer drug Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and work closely with you to develop an aggressive defense to the charges. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience representing clients who have been charged with drug crimes and other serious crimes such as assault, domestic violence and sex crimes. Find out what we can do for you by contacting us at to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

Types of designer drug crimes

If you are arrested based on having a designer drug, you could be faced with several different types of possession of controlled substances offenses. However, in order for the prosecutor to be able to successfully prosecute you for a controlled substance crime, the prosecutor will have to prove that the designer drug is indeed a controlled substance under New York law. For relatively new drugs created in someone's basement "lab," that may be a challenge. If the substance is not a controlled substance then the drug crime charge will likely be dismissed. On the other hand, if the drug is a controlled substance, you could face a drug possession charge, a drug distribution charge, a drug paraphernalia charge, or another type of drug charge.

Possession of a controlled substance offenses

If you are found in possession of a designer drug, a club drug, or another drug that falls under the controlled substance statute, there are several different criminal possession of a controlled substance charges that you could face.

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.03.
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.06
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.09
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is a class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.16
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree is a class A-II felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.18
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is a class A-I felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.21

The specific charge that you face depends on the type of drug and the amount of the drug that you possess. In most cases the greater the amount of the drug, the more serious the charge and the harsher the possible sentence.

Sale of a controlled substance offenses

Another type of controlled substance offense that you may face based on designer drugs, is a sale of a controlled substance offense. Selling is defined as not only exchanging the designer drug for cash, but also as exchanging it for something other than money or even giving it away. Like possession charges sale charges are often based on the type of drug or the amount of drug.

  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.31.
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.34.
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree is a class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.39
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree is a class A-II felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.41
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree is a class A-I felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.43
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds is a class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.44
  • Use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.28
  • Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.65
  • Operating as a major trafficker is a class A-1 felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.77
Club drug paraphernalia offenses

Drug paraphernalia offenses make it illegal to have the equipment and substances that are used to manufacture, store and package designer drugs, club drugs and other substances that are illegal under the controlled substances statute in order to sell them. These crimes include:

  • Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.50.
  • Criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.60
Drug crimes and sex crimes

Certain controlled substances, particularly the club drugs GHB, Rohypnol, and ketamine are regularly used to commit sex crimes. However, any controlled substance, including designer drugs that are identified as controlled substances can be used to commit a sex crime. If you give someone a controlled substance that causes that person to be become dizzy, confused, have hallucinations, or lose consciousness, and then have sex with that person, you would have committed a sex crime as that person would not have had the capacity to consent to a sex act. This crime is called facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance, a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.90

Sentencing

If you are convicted of a crime related to a controlled substance, you could face a penalty of from up to 1 year in jail for a class A misdemeanor conviction to life in prison for a class A-II or class A-I conviction. Furthermore, you could face a fine from up to $1,000 to up to $100,000. Your sentence will be determined by the classification of your crime and your criminal history.

The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help

Because of the prevalence of so many different types of drugs in the community, law enforcement is aggressive in its efforts to arrest and prosecute anyone who they believe to be involved with controlled substances, even if they are unsure of whether or not the substance involved is illegal. Thus, if you are charged with a crime based on a designer drug, it is important to be represented by someone who is familiar with New York drug laws. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been accused of offenses related to club drugs, designer drugs, and other controlled substances. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of drug crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens , Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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