New York City Drug Lawyer
Facing a drug charge in New York is scary for many reasons. Many drug offenses in New York are felonies, which means someone convicted of these crimes could face years in prison.
The state’s drug laws are constantly changing, and it can be quite confusing why someone may face a criminal charge for possessing one type of drug and a civil fine for possession of another. If you are facing a drug charge, contact a New York drug lawyer now. A knowledgeable criminal lawyer can build a solid case for you.
What are the Civil Fines for Marijuana Possession in New York City?
New York has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana; however, this does not mean possession is legal. Instead, it means those in possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana will not face criminal penalties unless they have prior offenses on their record. Rather, they could face civil penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana.
This civil offense is similar to getting a minor traffic ticket in that the action was unlawful, but not criminal. A first offense of unlawful possession is punishable by a $100 fine. That fine increases to $200 for a second offense. A New York drug lawyer can mitigate the potential penalties an individual faces.
A third offense of unlawful possession actually is a criminal charge, and is punishable by a $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail. The decriminalization of marijuana does not affect other state laws prohibiting burning it in public, selling it, or cultivating it. These are separate criminal offenses that carry stiff penalties.
Criminal Possession of Marijuana
Possessing more than 25 grams of marijuana in New York is a criminal offense. The amount of marijuana in question determines whether someone will face a misdemeanor or felony charge.
- Possession of 26 grams-two ounces: Class B misdemeanor; punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine
- Possession of more than two ounces-eight ounces: Class A misdemeanor; punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine
- Possession of more than eight ounces-one pound: Class E felony; punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Possession of more than one pound-10 pounds: Class D felony; punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Possession of more than 10 pounds: Class C felony; punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine
It is also a Class B misdemeanor to burn marijuana in the public view.
Possession of Other Narcotics
Of course, marijuana is not the only controlled substance in New York City. The law still prohibits the possession of other narcotics or prescription medications without a doctor’s note. According to New York Penal Law §220.03, possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
These charges may become more serious as the amount in possession rises. Additionally, the charges someone may face depend on the type of drug in possession. A New York City attorney could explain why a person is facing specific drug possession charges, depending on the facts of their case.
Distribution Drug Charges
Depending on the amount a person has in possession, law enforcement may charge someone with the intent to distribute or sell. Under New York Penal Law §220.31, distribution charges are a Class D felony. However, much like in possessions cases, the type and amount of drug in question increases the potential penalties.
The most serious drug distribution charges involve large amounts of narcotics such as heroin or cocaine. Here, the most elevated charges are Class A-1 felonies that carry stiff mandatory minimum sentences.
What are Other Related Drug Offenses in New York City?
In some cases, the police may add on related criminal charges to a possession charge. For example, the police may charge someone with possession with the intent to sell, based on how much marijuana they allegedly possess.
In other cases, someone in possession of a non-criminal amount of marijuana may be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, depending on what the police think they saw. Of course, the law also restricts the possession, sale, and manufacturing of other controlled substances, such as cocaine and heroin.
Violation of these controlled substances laws are also serious offenses, many of which are felonies. No matter what the situation, anyone facing a drug charge in should call a New York drug lawyer immediately.
New York’s marijuana and drug laws are complex. The exact amount someone allegedly possessed determines whether they face a civil fine or a serious criminal charge. Because many of these offenses are felonies, the stakes are high any time someone faces a drug-related charge. If you have been charged, call a New York drug lawyer now for experienced criminal defense help.