Drugs and Marijuana Offenses in New York City
Despite sentencing reform and the movement in various states to decriminalize or legalize recreational marijuana, being accused of possessing or selling marijuana or a controlled substance remains both illegal and seriously punished in New York. Whether the charges are for Criminal Possession of Marijuana in Bronx County, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in Kings County or Criminal Possession of Cocaine in New York County, an arrest for a narcotic or marijuana-related offense needs to be dealt with swiftly and proactively by retaining a top drug crime defense attorney immediately after arrest. These cases can only be checked through the skill and resources of your criminal defense attorney.
The various drugs and marijuana offenses in New York City cover a wide variety of conduct, from criminal sale and possession of substances to trafficking across state lines. Prosecutors use this to their advantage when they charge numerous criminal violations arising out of a single arrest involving drugs. For instance, the sale of cocaine to an undercover police officer can result not only in the felony charge of Third Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance under New York Penal Law §220.39, but also the charge of Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance under New York Penal Law §220.16 and potentially Conspiracy under New York Penal Law § 105.10. if the prosecutor claims you had help from others in the commission of the crime.
Being charged with a crime or multiple crimes, however, does not mean a conviction for one or all of them is unavoidable. Our marijuana defense attorneys routinely contest multi-count indictments or information filed by the state when charging drug offenses. We have, on many occasions, prevented some of the overreachings by prosecutors that have become all too common in drug cases in New York.
New York Marijuana / Marihuana Crimes & Offenses
- New York Penal Law § 221.05 — Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
- New York Penal Law §§ 221.10, et seq. — Criminal Possession of Marijuana
- New York Penal Law §§ 221.35, et seq. — Criminal Sale of Marijuana
New York Controlled Substance Crimes & Offenses
- New York Penal Law §§ 220.03, et seq. — Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances
- New York Penal Law §§ 220.31, et seq. — Criminal Sale of Controlled Substances
New York Criminal Sale of Prescription Medications or Controlled Substances By Practitioners
- New York Penal Law § 220.65 — Criminal Sale of Prescriptions for Controlled Substances or Controlled Substances by Practitioners or Pharmacists
When faced with the prospect of aggressive cross-examination of their witnesses in front of a skeptical judge or jury and then gambling on a verdict of guilty for a nonviolent offense, prosecutors may be willing to offer a plea deal. Having handled a countless number of these cases of all degrees of severity in both state and federal courts, our attorneys have a depth of experience to pull from in handling your drug case, whether it be in a motion to suppress a search and seizure, a plea negotiation, or a trial.
What Are the Punishments Associated with Drug and Marijuana Offenses?
The penalties for these crimes are just as varied and comprehensive as the crimes themselves. For instance, the punishment for driving a car with a pound of marijuana in the trunk can be as inconsequential as a $100 fine or as significant as two years or more in a state corrections facility. In addition to criminal penalties, the collateral consequences in New York City of a guilty plea or conviction for a controlled substances marijuana offense includes the immediate six month suspension of your license to drive, according to VTL §510.2 (b)(v).
In general, the type and quantity of the substance in question determines the penalties an accused individual may face. For example, if someone is caught in possession of eight ounces of marijuana, they will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction would mean a maximum period of incarceration of 12 months and a $1,000 fine.
The penalties increase based on the quantity of the substance involved. For instance, being caught with more than 10 pounds of marijuana is categorized as a Class C felony offense, carrying fines as high as $15,000, and a maximum jail sentence of 15 years. When a charge involves possession of a controlled substance apart from marijuana, or the intent to sell said substance, the sentencing guidelines are typically much harsher. As an example, a person can be charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree for possession of half an ounce of heroin, the Class B felony penalties for which could include up to nine years’ confinement.
What Will the Court Consider When Assessing Penalties for Controlled Substance Crimes?
When determining the sentence for a drug or marijuana offense, a court may look at several distinct factors in assessing the imposed penalty. One of the defining factors in any drug charge and the potential sentence attached is the amount of the substance a person was found with at the time of the arrest. In addition to the amount of the substance involved, the substance itself is a significant determinant of the sentence someone may face if convicted.
There are also certain circumstances in which a charge may result in higher penalties, such as when the offender has been convicted of a drug-related crime before. When someone is convicted of a drug or marijuana offense, subsequent offenses may incur an enhanced sentence. The penalties for intent to sell marijuana or a controlled substance will typically incur harsher penalties than if someone is convicted on a basic possession charge.
Contact an Attorney in New York City for Help Dealing with a Drug or Marijuana Offense
It is critical to have a seasoned legal defense for any type of drug charge. Given the wide-ranging penalties assessed for the same charges in different cases, there is no guaranteed sentencing outcome for any case. As such, it is vital to have a competent defense attorney working diligently on your behalf who could construct a comprehensive strategy for your case. An attorney can investigate both the circumstances of the arrest and the charge against you, identifying any possible weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and mitigating evidence that could boost your defense. If you have been arrested for a drug or marijuana offense in New York City, reach out to our office today to discuss your case.