New York Penal Code § 220.44: Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds

Selling drugs is considered one of the most serious types of drug crimes. The penalties for selling drugs are generally harsher than the penalties for possessing drugs. Furthermore, if children are in some way involved in or potentially affected by a drug sale, then the drug selling offense is even more serious. Under New York Penal Code § 220.44 it is a crime to sell drugs near a school. To be convicted of this crime the prosecutor must show the following:

  1. That the defendant sold drugs on the grounds of a school, at a child day care center, at an educational facility, or on a school bus

  2. If the sale took place at a child day care center or at an educational facility, the defendant must have had knowledge that such a place was a child day care center or educational facility

The grounds of a child day care center is defined as a building, structure, athletic playing field, playground, or land including in the real property of a public or private child day care center. Also included in the definition are nursery schools, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten facilities.

Example

Late one Saturday evening a police officer noticed a man give a woman cash in exchange for a small pouch which he quickly put in his pocket. The transaction took place on a deserted playground of an elementary school. Because of the suspicious nature of the transaction, as the woman left the playground she stopped, questioned and searched. She was eventually arrested and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds. Even though the drug sale occurred at a time when the school was closed and no children were on the playground the woman could be convicted of the charge.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child: New York Penal Law § 220.48
  2. Endangering the welfare of a child: New York Penal Code § 260.10
Defenses

The criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds has a very detailed, and specific definition of school grounds, educational facility and day care center. If the area in which the incident took place is not included in the statute's definitions, then you may have valid defense to such a charge.

If the place where the incident occurred was a child day care center or an educational facility, then the prosecutor must prove that it was reasonable that you had knowledge that the place was a child day care center or educational facility. If you can show that you had no knowledge and there was no reason for you to have such knowledge, then the prosecutor may have to drop that charge.

Sentence

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds is considered so serious that it is classified as a class B felony. This means that if you are convicted, you will be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. If you have no prior felony convictions, then the minimum prison sentence will be 5 years, while if you have a prior conviction the minimum prison sentence will be 10 years. In addition, you may be required to pay a fine of up to $30,000.

New York Penal Code § 220.44: Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds.

A person is guilty of criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds when he knowingly and unlawfully sells:

  1. a controlled substance in violation of any one of subdivisions one through six-a of § 220.34 of this article, when such sale takes place upon school grounds or on a school bus; or

  2. a controlled substance in violation of any one of subdivisions one through eight of § 220.39 of this article, when such sale takes place upon school grounds or on a school bus; or

  3. a controlled substance in violation of any one of subdivisions one through six of § 220.34 of this article, when such sale takes place upon the grounds of a child day care or educational facility under circumstances evincing knowledge by the defendant that such sale is taking place upon such grounds; or

  4. a controlled substance in violation of any one of subdivisions one through eight of § 220.39 of this article, when such sale takes place upon the grounds of a child day care or educational facility under circumstances evincing knowledge by the defendant that such sale is taking place upon such grounds.

  5. For purposes of subdivisions three and four of this section, "the grounds of a child day care or educational facility" means (a) in or on or within any building, structure, athletic playing field, a playground or land contained within the real property boundary line of a public or private child day care center as such term is defined in paragraph (c) of subdivision one of section three hundred ninety of the social services law, or nursery, pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, or (b) any area accessible to the public located within one thousand feet of the real property boundary line comprising any such facility or any parked automobile or other parked vehicle located within one thousand feet of the real property boundary line comprising any such facility. For the purposes of this section an "area accessible to the public" shall mean sidewalks, streets, parking lots, parks, playgrounds, stores and restaurants.

  6. For the purposes of this section, a rebuttable presumption shall be established that a person has knowledge that they are within the grounds of a child day care or educational facility when notice is conspicuously posted of the presence or proximity of such facility.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Penalties for crimes related to selling drugs can be severe, including years in jail away from family and friends. However, there are also many ways to challenge drug crime charges. For these reasons, if you are arrested for a drug crime it is important to immediately contact an attorney who has experience defending those accused of drug possession crimes. 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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