New York Drug Offense

Under New York law there are over 40 offenses related to drugs. Most of the offenses relate to the use, possession, manufacture and distribution of controlled substances. Several other offenses are related to the possession and sale of marijuana. A controlled substance is any substance listed in the New York Public Health law as a controlled substance. N.Y. Pub. Law § 3306. Marijuana offenses are defined separately from controlled substances offenses. Because drugs have been a huge societal problem for so long leading to several other types of criminal activity, law enforcement puts a lot of resources into arresting and prosecuting those who commit drug crimes. If you are convicted of a drug offense not only is there a possibility that you will end up in jail, you will also end up with a criminal record with a drug crime conviction. If you have been charged with a drug offense such as drug distribution, drug possession, or a drug paraphernalia offense, you should immediately contact an experienced New York drug crimes lawyer who will explain to you your legal rights and work closely with you to develop a strategy 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 sexual assault and burglary. Find out what we can do for you by contacting us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

Types of drug offenses

Under the New York Penal Code controlled substance and marijuana offenses are grouped into 2 main categories: possession and sale. In addition, there are several controlled substances crimes related to drug paraphernalia and manufacturing methamphetamine.

Possession of a controlled substance offenses

There are 6 drug offenses related to the possession of a controlled substance. If you are accused of possessing a controlled substance, that means that you both knowingly and unlawfully posses the drug. For possession to be a crime, it must be more than a residual amount that was left over in a hypodermic needle. The 6 possession of a controlled substance offenses cover a variety of different controlled substances. In the case of certain drugs, the more of that drug you have, the more serious offense you will face. For example, if you possess 28 grams of GHB you will face a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony. The possible sentence is a prison term of up to 7 years. On the other hand, if you possess 200 grams of GHB, the offense goes from fifth degree possession to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a class C felony with a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The criminal possession of a controlled substance crimes include:

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

Similarly, there are 5 possession of marijuana criminal charges, and 1 possession of marijuana charge that is a violation. The difference in each marijuana charge is based on the amount of marijuana possessed. In order to be charged with a felony, you must possess at least 8 ounces of marijuana.

The criminal possession of marijuana charges include:

  • Unlawful possession of marijuana is a violation. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.05
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree is a class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.10
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.15
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.20
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.25
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.30
Sale of a controlled substance offenses

Drug selling or drug distribution is considered a worst crime than drug possession. As such, there are no drug selling crimes related to controlled substances that are misdemeanors. Like possession of controlled substance offenses, in the case of certain drugs such as GHB, PCP, cocaine and methadone, the amount that you sell or intend to sell will be the determining factor in the drug offense with which you will be charged. One of the most severe drug offenses is criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree. You will face this charge if you sell 2880 milligrams or more of methadone which could put you in jail for life. If you sell only 360 milligrams of methadone, you will face a second degree sale of a controlled substance offense and face a prison term of up to 25 years.

The criminal sale of a controlled substance crimes include:

  • 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
  • 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

On the other hand, a selling marijuana conviction, regardless of the amount, will not send you to prison for life. Criminal sale of marijuana in the first degree is a class C felony, involving selling more than 16 ounces of marijuana. If convicted your sentence will be up to 15 years in prison. The two least severe marijuana sale offenses are misdemeanors. In fact, you will not be charged with a felony unless you sell at least 25 grams of marijuana.

The criminal possession of marijuana crimes include:

  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the fifth degree is a class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.35
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.40
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.45
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the second degree is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.50
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the first degree is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.55
Drug paraphernalia offenses

Another type of drug offense is a drug paraphernalia offense. These 3 offenses relate to controlled substances and what is needed to manufacture, store and package it in order to sell it. Drug paraphernalia offenses include:

  • Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.50
  • Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.55
  • Criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.60
Manufacturing methamphetamine offenses

Like distributing drugs, manufacturing controlled substances is one of the most serious drug crimes under New York law. Each of the controlled substance drug manufacturing offenses relate to making methamphetamine. All methamphetamine manufacturing offenses but one are felonies. If you are convicted of the most serious manufacturing charge, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree, a class B felony, you could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

  • Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.70
  • Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.71
  • Criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.72
  • Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.73
  • Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the second degree is a class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.74
  • Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree is a class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.75
  • Unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.76
Other drug offenses

Other drug offenses under the controlled substance statute involve using a child to commit a controlled substance and using needles or syringes to take drugs.

  • Use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.28
  • Criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument is a class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.45
  • Criminal injection of a narcotic drug is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.46
Sentencing

The sentence for a drug crime conviction varies based on the classification of the drug offense, with the minimum sentence being a few days in jail for a violation up to life in prison for class A felonies. The penalties for drug convictions include:

  • Violation. Unlawful possession of marijuana is a violation and is not considered a crime. The penalty is a fine of up to $100. However, if it is your second conviction for this offense within the prior 3 years, then the fine will be up to $200. If it is your third offense, then you may face a fine of up to $250 or up to 15 days in jail.
  • Class B misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence is 3 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree is the only drug offense that is a class B misdemeanor.
  • Class A misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The following controlled substance offenses are class A misdemeanors: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree, and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument.
  • Class E felony. The maximum possible sentence is 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The following controlled substance offenses are class E felonies: criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances, criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree, criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material, use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense, and criminal injection of a narcotic drug.
  • Class D felony. The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The following controlled substance offenses are class D felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree.
  • Class C felony . The maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The following controlled substance offenses are class C felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the second degree, and criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance.
  • Class B felony. The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. The following controlled substance offenses are class B felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds, and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree.
  • Class A-II felony. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The following controlled substance offenses are class A-II felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree.
  • Class A-I felony. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The following controlled substance offenses are class A-I felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree, and operating as a major trafficker.

Your sentence for a drug offense conviction will not only be based on the classification of the offense, but also on your prior criminal history. If you have history of one or more prior felony conviction, you will face a minimum prison sentence. Thus, you will have to go to prison for a longer period time than if you were a first time, non-violent offender. In addition, if you are charged with a drug crime and also have a substance abuse problem, you may qualify for the Drug Treatment Court program. This program will allow you to plead guilty to the criminal charges and then go to a drug treatment program. If you successfully complete the drug treatment program and abide by the other terms of the Drug Treatment Court, then the judge will resolve the criminal charges against you in a relatively favorable manner. The charges may be reduced, the sentence may be minimal, or the charges may be dismissed.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

An arrest for a drug offense puts your future in jeopardy as you could end up in jail away from your family and friends for several years. In addition, even if you are not sentenced to years and years of prison you may be faced with a steep fine. Because of these possible consequences, if you have been charged with a controlled substance offense or a marijuana offense you should immediately contact a lawyer who has experience defending those accused of drug offenses. 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 possession, distribution and manufacturing offenses. 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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