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NY Penal Law § 220.72: Criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine

It is against the law in New York to unlawfully manufacture methamphetamine. In an effort to curtail such activity, under New York Penal Code § 220.72 it is also against the law to possess the precursors or ingredients necessary to make methamphetamine. Examples of precursors of methamphetamine include acetone, lithium, toluene, hydrochloric acid, pseudoephedrine, red phosphorus, sodium hydroxide, and sulfuric acid. Most of these materials are found in common household products and can be easily purchased at a local grocery or big box store.


Based on a tip the police executed a search warrant on a home that allegedly was used as a meth lab. Upon searching the home the police officers did not find meth, but did find:

  1. Nail polish remover containing acetone
  2. Batteries with lithium
  3. Cold medication containing pseudoephedrine
  4. Match boxes with red phosphorus on them
  5. Drain cleaner containing sodium hydroxide
  6. Toilet bowl cleaner containing sulfuric acid
  7. Countertop cleaner containing anhydrous ammonia
  8. Lighter fluid

The police arrested the woman who was renting the home. However, the prosecutor declined to prosecute her because while each of the items seized could be use to make meth, they also could be used for other purposes. Also, the police did not gather any evidence that the items were indeed going to be use to make meth.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 220.70
  2. New York Penal Law § 220.71
  3. New York Penal Law § 220.73
  4. Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 220.74
  5. Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 220.75

If you are charged with the drug crime of criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, you may be able to successfully argue that there is an innocuous reason for having such ingredients. Another way to respond to the charge is to argue that the search that uncovered the ingredients was unlawful. There are rules that the police must follow in order to search someone's home, car, office, or other location. If the police do not follow such rules a court may find that the search was unlawful. If that happens the prosecutor may have no choice but to dismiss the case against you.


Because criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine is a Class E felony, if you are convicted the maximum possible prison sentence that you will receive is 4 years. Your sentence could also include a fine as well as a probation term of 5 years. In determining your sentence the judge will consider the crime committed, the details surrounding the crime, your personal background and your prior criminal record.

New York Penal Code § 220.60: Criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances

A person is guilty of criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances when, with intent to manufacture a controlled substance unlawfully, he possesses at the same time:

  1. carbamide (urea) and propanedioc and malonic acid or it derivatives; or
  2. ergot or an ergot derivative and diethylamine or dimethylformamide or diethylamide; or
  3. phenylacetone (1-phenyl-2 propanone) and hydroxylamine or ammonia or formamide or benzaldehyde or nitroethane or methylamine.
  4. pentazocine and methyliodide; or
  5. phenylacetonitrile and dichlorodiethyl methylamine or dichlorodiethyl benzylamine; or
  6. diephenylacetonitrile and dimethylaminoisopropyl chloride; or
  7. piperidine and cyclohexanone and bromobenzene and lithium or magnesium; or
  8. 2, 5-dimethoxy benzaldehyde and nitroethane and a reducing agent.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been arrested and charged with a methamphetamine crime in New York you should immediately contact an experienced attorney. Depending on the facts of your case there may be several defenses available to fight the charges. In addition, if you are dealing with a substance abuse problem you may be able to take advantage of the Drug Treatment Court program. 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 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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