New York Distribution

While there are many different types of crimes related to drugs, one of the most serious crimes is distribution of drugs. Distribution of drugs refers to selling drugs. For purposes of the statutes related to selling or distributing drugs selling does not only mean an exchange of drugs for money. Selling also includes exchanging, giving or disposing of drugs, as well as offering to or agreeing to sell, exchange, give or dispose of drugs. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.00(1). While law enforcement is interested in prosecuting those who possess drugs, it is even more interested in ridding communities of drugs. To do this it is necessary to stop people from selling drugs. The sale of drugs does not only lead to people using drugs and to health problems associated with drug use and abuse. Selling also leads to other crimes such as assault, rape and murder. Under New York law it is a felony to sell a controlled substance. A controlled substance is defined in the New York Penal Code as any substance specifically listed in the New York Public Health law as a controlled substance, except marijuana. N.Y. Pub. Law § 3306. However, it is also against the law to sell marijuana. Depending on the amount of drug involved, if you are convicted of selling drugs, you could end up in jail for the rest of your life. Thus, if you have been charged with selling drugs you should immediately contact an experienced New York Distribution Lawyer who will explain to you your legal options and work closely with you to aggressively defend you against these 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.

Sale of a controlled substance offenses

Criminal sale of a controlled substance occurs when you unlawfully sell any of a number of drugs and controlled substances covered by the sale of a controlled substance statute. Examples include cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, GHB, PCP and ecstasy. If you are convicted of selling a controlled substance, there is a good chance that you will spend some time in prison. For the most serious drug distribution crime, you could face a sentence of up to life in prison.

  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. If you unlawfully sell any amount of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or other controlled substance, the minimum charge that you will face is criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. It is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.31.
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree. This is the charge you will face if you sell a certain specified amount of a drug or a type of drug. For example, if you unlawfully sell at least 50 milligrams of PCP, at least 4,000 milligrams of ketamine, or at least 28 grams of GHB, you will face a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree. In addition if you sell any amount of a controlled substance on or near school grounds, school bus, day care, educational facility. It is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.34.
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. The difference between fourth degree and third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance is the type of drug involved and the amount involved. You will face this charge if you sell a narcotic drug, or if you sell a stimulant, hallucinogen, hallucinogenic substance, or lysergic acid diethylamide and you have been previously convicted of a controlled substance offense. In the case of some controlled substances, the more you sell the more serious charge you will face. You will also face this charge if you sell at least 1 gram of a stimulant, at least 1 milligram of lysergic acid diethylamide, at least 25 milligrams of a hallucinogen, at least 1 milligram of a hallucinogenic substance, at least 1/8 ounce of a methamphetamine preparation, at least of 250 milligrams of PCP, or sell a narcotic preparation to someone who is under 21 years old. If you sell a narcotic to someone who is less than 21 years old, you will be charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree. It is a class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.39
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree. The drug distribution charge will be raised to criminal sale of a controlled substance if you sell at least .5 ounce of a narcotic drug preparation, at least .5 ounce of a methamphetamine preparation; at least 5 grams of a stimulant; at least 5 milligrams of lysergic acid diethylamide; at least 5 milligrams of a hallucinogen; at least 25 milligram of a hallucinogenic substance; or at least 360 milligrams of methadone. It is a class A-II felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.41
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree. A conviction for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree could send you to prison for the rest of your life. You will face this charge if you sell a minimum of 2 ounces of a narcotic drug preparation or a minimum of 2,880 milligrams of methadone. It is a class A-I felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.43
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds . Selling drugs near a school, school bus or educational facility is one of the most serious drug crimes. It is a class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.44
  • Use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense. If you use a child to sell drugs, you will face the charge of use a child to commit a controlled substance offense. In order for you to be charged with this, you must be at 18 years old and the child involved must be under 16 years old. It is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.28
  • Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance. Drug distribution does not only involve selling drugs that are manufactured in home labs, or that have no valid medicinal value. Drug distribution also includes medical professionals such as doctors, dentists or veterinarians unlawfully providing prescriptions for controlled substances. If you do this, you will be charged with criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance. It is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.65
  • Operating as a major trafficker. Being a major drug trafficker involves overseeing or in some way managing significant sales of drugs. If you are in some way a director, manager or planner over the sale of at least $75,000 worth of controlled substances in a 12 month period or narcotics in a 6 month period you will face the charge of operating as a major trafficker. It is a class A-1 felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.77
Sale of marijuana offenses

While selling marijuana is a crime just like selling controlled substances, selling marijuana is not considered to be as serious as selling controlled substances. In fact, if you sell a relatively small amount of marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. In order to be charged with a felony, the amount of marijuana involved must be at least 25 grams.

  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the fifth degree. This is the least serious sale of marijuana charge. It will be the minimum charge you will face if you sell marijuana. It involves selling less than 2 grams of marijuana or one marijuana cigarette. It is a class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.35.
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the fourth degree. If you sell more than 2 grams but less than 25 grams of marijuana or a mixture containing marijuana, you will face this charge. It is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.40.
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree. If you sell at least 25 grams of marijuana or a mixture containing marijuana, you will face this charge. It is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.45.
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the second degree. If you sell at least 4 ounces of marijuana or a mixture containing marijuana, you will face this charge. It is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.50.
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the first degree. If you sell at least 16 ounces of marijuana or a mixture containing marijuana, you will face this charge. It is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.55.
Offenses related to distribution of drugs Drug paraphernalia offenses

Oftentimes those charged with drug distribution also face charges related to drug paraphernalia. Such offenses involve having equipment that is typically used to manufacture, store and package controlled substances in order to sell it. These charges include criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, and criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances. These charges range from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony.

Manufacturing methamphetamine offenses

Those who sell methamphetamine often manufacture it as well. Criminal offenses related to manufacturing methamphetamine include criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree, criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree, criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the second degree, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree, and unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material.

Sentencing

While there are some drug distribution offenses that are misdemeanors with possible sentences of only up to a year in jail, the majority of distribution crimes are felonies and can result in prison sentences of several years. In fact, convictions for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree and operating as a major trafficker can result in a sentence of up to life in prison. The most important determining factors for the charge you will face and the possible penalty are the type of drug and the amount of drug you are accused of selling. The penalties for drug distribution convictions include:

  • Class A misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Class E felony. The maximum possible sentence is 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Class D felony. The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Class C felony . The maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Class B felony. The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
  • Class A-II felony. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
  • Class A-I felony. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

However, if you are addicted to alcohol or drugs and are arrested for certain drug distribution offenses, you may be eligible for Drug Treatment Court. This means that if a judge determines that you are eligible and if you agree to go to the program, you will be required to plead guilty to the criminal charges and follow the conditions of the treatment program If you successfully complete the program the judge may have the criminal charges against you dismissed, sentence you to probation, or dispose of your criminal case in some other way that would be must more lenient than if you had not gone through the Drug Treatment Court program.

The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help

Being convicted of a drug distribution crime is serious as the penalties are some of the most harsh under New York law. For this reason it is important that you are represented by an attorney who has experience representing those accused of drug crimes. 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 drug distribution, selling drugs, manufacturing drugs and other drug crimes. 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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