New York Drug Crimes Defense Frequently Asked Questions
Whether the drug is marijuana, an illegal prescription, methamphetamine, cocaine, or another controlled substance, if you are found to unlawfully and knowingly have a drug, you will be charged with one or more drug crimes. The most common drug charges are criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of marijuana. If law enforcement believes that you intend to sell the drugs, then the charge will be criminal sale of a controlled substance or criminal sale of marijuana. Other drug offenses are related to manufacturing, committing drug crimes around schools, and involving children in the transaction. If you have been charged with possession, selling, manufacturing, or any other drug crime, it is important that you are defended by a skilled New York drug crimes defense lawyer who will vigorously challenge the prosecutor’s case every step of the way.What are the sentences for drug crimes?
Sentencing for crimes related to drugs vary greatly from no jail time to life in prison. Sentences may also include probation and fines. If you are convicted of a drug crime, your sentence will be based on the classification of the crime. Drug crimes can be class A or B misdemeanors, or they can be class A-I, A-II, B, C, D or E felonies. If you are convicted of a class B misdemeanor such as criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree, you could be sent to jail for up to 3 months, while if you are convicted of a class A-I or a class A-II felony, you could be sentenced to prison for life. In addition, you will be assessed a fine ranging from $500 to $100,000.
Alterative sentencing is also available in certain cases. To be eligible to have your case processed through Drug Treatment Court, you must have a substance abuse problem, you must not have a history of violence, your crime may not be a class A felony, and it must be determined that you will benefit from treatment. If you successfully complete the alternative sentencing program, the court has the discretion to dismiss the charges.What are the possible defenses for a drug crime charge?
Whether there charge is for possession, sale, manufacture, or any other drug charge, it is incumbent upon the prosecutor to prove the case against you. The prosecutor must prove each element of the crime in order for you to be convicted. A skilled New York drug crimes defense lawyer will review the evidence and challenge the weak elements of the case.
One powerful way to defend a drug crime charge is to challenge the search that resulted in law enforcement finding the drugs. Whether the circumstances involve your some, your apartment, your car, or your person, law enforcement cannot legally perform a search without probable cause. If an illegal search was performed and the drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug manufacturing equipment was found, that evidence will not be admissible and the prosecution will not be able to use it to prove its case.
Another way to challenge a drug crime charge is to challenge the amount of the drug that was found. Most drug possession crimes are based on the amount of the drug involved. Challenging the amount of drug that was found could lead to the charges against you being dropped. For example, in inaccuracy in the amount of drugs could be difference in whether the appropriate charge is a misdemeanor or felony, which in turn could make a significant difference in sentencing.
As an experienced drug crimes defense attorney in New York will explain, a necessary element for a criminal possession or sale charge is that you must have the drug unlawfully and you must have the drug knowingly. While many controlled substances are illegal to have, manufacture or use in the United States, there are some controlled substances that are legal with a valid, lawfully obtained prescription. Thus, if you have a prescription for a controlled substance such as Vicodin, for example, then you have a defense to a drug charge. Similarly, you must knowingly possess a drug in order to be charged with possession. If you are in a place such as vehicle or house owned by someone else and drugs are found, you could argue that the drugs are not yours and that you were unaware of their presence.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Drug charges, even misdemeanor charges, are serious. If convicted you could end up in prison and you will have a criminal record. Because there may be defenses that will result in the charges against you being reduced or dismissed, it is important to have an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer serving New York on your team. Contact the experienced staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.