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New York Drug Crimes Sentencing Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of drug offenses in New York?

In New York there are a variety of types of offenses related to controlled substances, marijuana, and prescription drugs. Most of these crimes fall in to 3 general categories: possession, sale, and manufacture. While there are a few drug crimes that are misdemeanors, most are felonies. This means that the sentencing guidelines for most drug convictions dictate the possibility of prison. On the other hand, judges have a great deal of leeway in determining sentences within the guideless. In order to ensure that your sentence is favorable based on the totality of circumstances surrounding your conviction, it is critical that you are represented by an experienced and knowledgeable New York drug crimes sentencing lawyer who will advocate on your behalf to make sure receive a fair sentence.

What are the possible sentences for drug crimes?

Drug crimes range from class B misdemeanors to class A-1 felonies. Your sentence will be based on the classification of the drug crime for which you were convicted.

  • Class B misdemeanor. There are only 2 drug crimes that are class B misdemeanors, and they are both related to marijuana: criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree and criminal sale of marijuana in the fifth degree. The maximum possible sentence is 3 months in jail and a $500 fine.
  • Class A misdemeanor. There are 7 criminal offenses that are class A misdemeanors: criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the fourth degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree, and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument. If you are convicted of a class A misdemeanor, the judge could send you to jail for up to a year, and you could be assessed a $1000 fine.
  • Class E felony. Drug crimes that are class E felonies are: criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree, criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances, criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree, criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material, use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense, and criminal injection of a narcotic drug. If you are convicted of a class E felony, your sentence will include a fine of up to $5000, up to 4 years in state prison.
  • Class D felony. The following 6 drug offenses are class D felonies: criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree. The possible sentence will be up to 7 years in state prison and a fine of up to $5000.
  • Class C felony. The 6 class C felony drug crimes are criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree, criminal sale of marijuana in the first degree, criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the second degree. The potential sentence is up to 15 years in prison, and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Class B felony. For drug crimes that are class B felonies, the possible sentence includes up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. The following 4 drug crimes are class B felonies: criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree.
  • Class A-II felony. The maximum possible sentence for a class A-II felony is life in prison. You will also be assessed a fine of up to $50,000. The following 2 drug charge are class A-II felonies: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree.
  • Class A-I felony. Just like class A-II felonies, the maximum prison sentence for a class A-I conviction is life in prison, while the fine is up to $100,000. The offenses that are class A-I felonies include operating as a major trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree.
What factors do judges consider when deciding on a sentence?

As an experienced New York drug crimes sentencing lawyer will explain, judges will consider both aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors are aspects of the crime or issues in your background that increases the severity of a crime, while mitigating factors decrease the severity of a crime. Aggravating factors include the presence of a gun or other weapon, the use of violence, an injured victim, and prior convictions. Mitigating factors include lack of prior convictions, expressing remorse, and cooperation with law enforcement.

If I am convicted of a drug crime, will I be offered drug treatment instead of prison?

Through its Drug Treatment Court program, New York offers alternative sentencing to drug offenders that would allow them to go to drug treatment instead of prison. However, not every drug offender is eligible for alternative sentencing. Experienced drug crimes sentencing attorneys in New York understand the rules related to eligibility for Drug Treatment Court. For example, only drug offenders who commit non-violent crimes, who have substance abuse problems, who are likely to benefit from treatment, and who commit crimes that are not class A offenses are eligible for Drug Treatment Court.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Drug possession and drug selling charges are serious and could result in you spending years in prison. As experienced drug crimes sentencing attorneys serving New York, our goal is provide a strong defense that pokes holes in the prosecution case so that the case will be resolved in a favorable manner. 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.

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