New York Penal Code § 220.21: Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree

Under New York law, the more drugs you are found in possession of the more serious the crime and the harsher the sentence. This is because if you have a large amount of drugs it is less likely that they are for your personal use and more likely that you plan to sell them. Under New York Penal Code § 220.21, you have committed a Class A-1 felony if you possess 8 ounces or more of a narcotic drug or 5,760 milligrams of methadone.

Examples

The police receive a tip about the make and model of a car that alleged contained cocaine. A police officer spotted the car on the New York State Thruway. While following the vehicle, the officer observed it change lanes without signaling. After calling for backup the police officer pulled the car over. Upon conducting a pat-down search of the driver of the car, the police discovered a rectangular-shaped package of cocaine taped to the man's leg. The man could be prosecuted for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree as long as the amount of cocaine found on his person was enough to meet the requirements of the statute.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 220.43
  2. Operating as a major trafficker: New York Penal Law § 220.77
Defenses

If you are arrested for first degree criminal possession of a controlled substance you may be able to challenge the charge based on the amount of drugs found in the incident. If the drug is a narcotic and the amount is less than 8 ounces or if the drug is methadone and the amount is less than 5,760 milligrams, then a change of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree would not be valid.

Another defense would attack the method the police used to find the drugs. In order to conduct a search the police must have probable cause. If the search was unlawful, anything which the search produced including drugs would be inadmissible in court and your case would likely be dismissed.

Sentence

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is one of the most serious crimes in the New York Penal Codes. Along with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree and operating as a majority trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is a Class A-1 felony. This means that if you are convicted you could receive a sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

New York Penal Code § 220.21: Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses:

  1. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of eight ounces or more; or

  2. methadone and said methadone weighs five thousand seven hundred sixty milligrams or more.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, there is a lot at stake. If you are convicted you could be sent to prison for decades. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients who have been accused of drug possession, crack possession, cocaine possession, marijuana possession, drug selling, 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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