New York Drug Possession

Drug possession is one of the most common crimes in New York. People of all ages and social positions regularly have illegal drugs in their possession for their own personal use. While some believe that possession of a small amount of drugs for personal use should not be considered a serious crime, under New York law drug possession is indeed considered a serious crime. If convicted, even of certain misdemeanors drug possession crimes, you will face the possibility of going to jail and you will have a criminal record. If you have been charged with drug possession, you should take the situation very seriously and immediately contact an experienced New York drug possession lawyer who will 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.

Drug possession crimes

Under New York law drug possession can refer to the possession of any of number of drugs labeled controlled substances. For purposes of a drug possession charge, a controlled substance may include cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, club drugs, OxyContin, as well as other illegally obtained prescription narcotics. Drug possession can also mean the possession of marijuana.

There are 6 possession of controlled substances offenses, only one of which is a misdemeanor: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. You may face this charge if you possess any amount of a controlled substance. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.03. Depending on the drug involved, if you are in possession of more than a specified minimum amount, the charge will not be criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, but a more serious felony criminal possession charge. In other cases, such as with the unlawful possession of anabolic steroids, possession of any amount will result in the misdemeanor charge. The following are felony drug possession charges:

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree involves possessing a controlled substance intending to sell it; possessing at least 1/2 ounce of a narcotic preparation; possessing at least 50 milligrams of PCP; possessing at least 1/4 ounce of a concentrated preparation of cannabis; possessing at least 500 milligrams of cocaine; possessing at least 1,000 milligrams of ketamine; possessing any amount of ketamine if you have a previous ketamine possession conviction; or possessing at least 28 grams of GHB. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.06
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree involves possessing at least 1/8 ounce of narcotic drug preparations; at least 1/2 ounce of methamphetamine preparations; at least 2 ounces of narcotic preparations; at least 1 gram of a stimulant; at least 1 milligram of a lysergic acid diethylamide; at least 25 milligrams of a hallucinogen; at least 1 gram of a hallucinogenic substance; at least 10 ounces of a dangerous depressant; at least 2 pounds of a depressant; at least 1 ounce of concentrated cannabis; at least 250 milligrams of PCP; at least 60 milligrams of methadone; at least 50 milligrams of PCP and you were previously convicted of a controlled substance offense; at least 4,000 milligrams of ketamine; any amount of ketamine if you have a previous possession of ketamine conviction; or possessing at least 200 grams of GHB. It is a Class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.09
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is the charge you will face if you possess a narcotic drug; or you possess a stimulant, hallucinogen, hallucinogenic substance, or lysergic acid diethylamide drug with the intent to sell it and you have already been convicted of a controlled substance offense ; or you possess at least 1 gram of a stimulant, at least 1 milligram of a lysergic acid diethylamide, at least 25 milligrams of a hallucinogen, or at least 1 gram of a hallucinogenic substance with the intent to sell; or you possess at least 1/8 ounce of methamphetamine preparations, at least 5 grams of a stimulant; at least 5 milligrams of a lysergic acid diethylamide; at least 125 milligrams of a hallucinogen; at least 5 grams of a hallucinogenic substance; at least .5 ounce of a narcotic drug preparation; or at least 1,250 milligrams of PCP. It is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.16
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree involves possessing a minimum of 4 ounces of narcotic drug preparations; 2 ounces of methamphetamine preparations; 10 grams of a stimulant; 25 milligrams of a lysergic acid diethylamide; 625 milligrams of a hallucinogen; 25 grams of a hallucinogenic substance; or 2,880 milligrams of methadone. It is a Class A-II felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.18
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is the most serious drug possession crime. You will face this charge if you possess a minimum of 8 ounces of narcotic drug preparations or at least 5,760 milligrams of methadone. It is a Class A-I felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 220.21

There are an additional 6 possession of marijuana offenses. Possession of marijuana is considered less serious than possession of a controlled substance. Thus, there is one possession of marijuana charge that is just a violation, and 2 others that are misdemeanors.

  • Unlawful possession of marijuana involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana. It is a violation. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.05
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in a public place and burning it or displaying it in public view. It also involves possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 25 grams. It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.10
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 2 ounces. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.15
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 8 ounces. It is a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.20
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 16 ounces. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.25
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree involves knowingly and unlawfully possessing at least one preparation containing marijuana with an aggregate weight of at least 10 pounds. It is a Class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.30
Sentencing

The sentence for a drug crime conviction varies based on the classification of the drug crime, with the maximum sentence being up to life in prison for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree which is a Class A-1 felony. The other penalties for drug possession convictions include:

  • Violation. The only drug possession charge that is a violation is unlawful possession of marijuana. 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 up to 3 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree 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. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree are Class A misdemeanors.
  • Class E felony. The maximum possible sentence is 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree is a Class E felony.
  • Class D felony. The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree are Class D felonies.
  • Class C felony . The maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree are Class C felonies.
  • Class B felony. The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is a Class B felony.
  • Class A-II felony. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree is a Class A-II felony.
  • Class A-I felony. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is a Class A-I felony.

New York has a special alternative sentencing program called Drug Treatment Court. If you have a substance abuse problem and are arrested for a drug possession crime that is a B, C, D or E felony, then you may be eligible to go through the Drug Treatment Court program. If you successfully complete the program, then this will impact the disposition of the criminal case against you. The judge will have several options such as reducing the criminal charges against you or even dismissing the charges.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While drug possession may seem like a minor offense, the possible penalties show that New York State considers it to be a very serious crime. You could end up spending the rest of your life in prison. In addition to being sentenced to years and years in prison you may also be fined thousands of dollars. Because of these potential consequences, even if you have been charged with one of the less serious drug possession offenses you should immediately contact an attorney who has experience defending those accused of drug possession. 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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