7th Degree Drug Charges in New York City


Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (CPCS) in the Seventh Degree is a violation of New York Penal Law § 220.03 and is the lowest level offense chargeable for the unlawful possession of any controlled or banned substance under New York law (except marijuana, the possession of which is a separate crime under Article 221 of the Penal Law). Classified as an A misdemeanor, this crime can be charged whenever police recover any amount (including residue) of any one of specifically named controlled substances under Section 3306 of New York’s Public Health Law. While there is no weight requirement for Seventh Degree CPCS, individuals found with certain threshold amounts of controlled or banned substances may trigger an upgrade of the offense to a D felony or higher.

Relevant Provisions of Article 220 of the New York Penal Law for the Offense of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree

“A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance…”

NY Penal Law § 220.03

“‘Controlled Substance’ means any substance listed in schedule I, II, III, IV or V of section thirty-three hundred six of the public health law other than marihuana, but including concentrated cannabis…”

NY Penal Law § 220.00

The number of controlled substances listed under the Public Health Law is extensive, covering nearly all drugs with a medically recognized potential for addiction or abuse. Some of the substances more commonly subjected to criminal prosecution for Seventh Degree Criminal Possession include (1) the recreational drugs of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and ecstasy; (2) painkiller medications such as Oxycodone, Vicodin or Percocet and (3) hallucinogens like psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and LSD. Regardless of what drug is actually charged by prosecutors for this offense, however, the ramifications of conviction remain the same: up to a year in jail and all the attending collateral consequences of a New York drug conviction.

Avoiding both the immediate and collateral consequences of a New York drug conviction is possible but it requires the development of a comprehensive strategy to reduce or dismiss the charges early on in the proceedings. For example, if there is reason to believe police acted improperly during a search or if there was no physical possession of the drugs, notice to the court should be given as early as arraignment that there exists grounds to contest the lawfulness of the search and probable cause for arrest at a pre-trial hearing. On the other hand, if the goal is to negotiate a non-criminal disposition or an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD), a different strategy must be taken. The only way to ensure a drug offense is resolved with as little collateral damage as possible to one’s livelihood, career and, for noncitizens, immigration status is to consult with top Manhattan criminal defense attorneys to prepare an appropriate defense strategy as soon as possible after arrest.

In short, if you have been arrested or ticketed for a Seventh Degree CPCS – whether for possessing a clear type of contraband or a prescription medication – strongly consider the question of who will be your representative when dealing with the state. From doctors, lawyers, teachers and students, the criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have worked with countless individuals to favorably and expeditiously resolve their state drug possession case while minimizing the collateral consequences that typically accompany a drug arrest or conviction. Acutely aware of the many obstacles to employment and education set upon those with a public record of a New York drug conviction, our experienced New York criminal defense attorneys routinely craft a defense strategy that preserves both present and future interests in cases involving Seventh Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance in New York.

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