New York Penal Code § 221.55: Criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree

While not considered as serious as selling large amounts of controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, selling large amounts of marihuana is a serious offense. Under New York Penal Code § 221.55, criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree, it is against the law to sell more than 16 ounces of marihuana or a mixture containing marihuana. It is a felony. It is important to understand that as used in this statute, selling does not only mean to exchange for money. Under New York Penal Code § 220.001(1) to sell also means to exchange, give or dispose or to another, or to offer or agree to do so. Thus, you can be convicted under the criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree even if the "sale" was not completed, or even if you did not receive anything in exchange for handing marihuana to another person.

Example

Based on a tip that someone was selling marihuana on a particular street corner, the police set up surveillance of that area. They observed a man sell small bags of marihuana on several occasions. Based on this information the police received and executed a search warrant on the man's home where they found 4 pounds of marihuana. The man could be prosecuted for criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree based on the amount of marihuana found in his home coupled with the evidence that he regularly sold drugs on the street.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal possession of marihuana in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 221.30
  2. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 220.21
  3. Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 220.43
Defenses

If you can show that the amount of marihuana involved in the incident was less than 16 ounces, then the prosecutor would not be able to successfully prosecute you for criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree.

Another possible defense is entrapment. Many arrests related to selling marihuana involve the use of undercover police officers or confidential informants (CI) initiating a drug buy. If the undercover officer or CI was too aggressive in initiating the buy, you may have an entrapment defense.

Sentence

Because criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree is a class C felony, if you are convicted your possible sentence will be up to 15 years in prison. The minimum sentence that the judge will give you is either 3 1/2 or 7 years depending on whether or not you have a prior felony conviction. You will also have to pay a fine of up to $15,000.

New York Penal Code § 221.55: Criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree

A person is guilty of criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree when he knowingly and unlawfully sells one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing marihuana and the preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of more than four ounces, or knowingly and unlawfully sells one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing marihuana to a person less than eighteen years of age.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While you may not believe that it should be illegal to sell marihuana in New York, it is. If you are convicted of selling over 16 ounces of marihuana a judge could send you to prison for over a decade. For this reason it is critical that you are represented by an attorney who has experience representing those accused of marihuana 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 marijuana possession, marijuana distribution, as well as 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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