Criminal Sale of Marijuana in New York City
The elements of all charges relating to the criminal sale of marijuana in New York City are the same with the exception that the degree of the offense is correlated to the weight sold. In order to be convicted for selling any quantity of marijuana, the prosecutor must prove that you exchanged a quantity of marijuana for an amount of money. If you need help defending yourself against charges such as these, the attorneys at our firm are ready to fight for you.
Determining the Level of Offense Based on the Weight of Marijuana Recovered
There are five degrees of Criminal Sale of Marijuana, and each level of offense pertains to a certain aggregate weight of marijuana; as the weight of marijuana sold gets higher, the degree of the charges increase. The lowest level offense, Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fifth Degree, is a class B misdemeanor, and can be charged when an individual sells a single marijuana cigarette. The maximum penalty is 90 days jail, according to New York Penal Law §221.10.
Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree is a class A misdemeanor, and covers the sale of any amount of marijuana in excess of one marijuana cigarette. The maximum penalty is one year in jail under N.Y. PL § 221.15.
Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Third Degree is a class E felony and can be charged when the amount of marijuana sold exceeds 25 grams. The maximum penalty is one and a half years, which is described in N.Y. PL § 221.20.
Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Second Degree is a class D felony and can be charged when the amount sold exceeds four ounces. The maximum penalty is two and a half years under N.Y. PL § 221.25.
Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the First Degree is a class C felony and can be charged when the amount sold exceeds 16 ounces. The maximum penalty is five and a half years, according to N.Y. PL § 221.30.
If you have been charged with selling marijuana, it is vitally important to retain an attorney who has experience defending these cases. Having a lawyer who understands how the weight of the marijuana recovered dictates what can be charged, as well as the intricacies of search and seizure issues may be the difference between significant jail time and the dismissal of charges.
How Does an Investigation Work with Cases Involving the Sale of Marijuana?
Generally, the NYPD will either observe a sale of what they suspect to be marijuana, or they will use an undercover detective or confidential informant to purchase marijuana from someone they suspect to be a seller, and then arrest the seller and recover any marijuana they can.
The NYPD will then test the seized substance to determine if it is marijuana, determine the aggregate weight of what was recovered, and the prosecutor will charge a defendant based on that weight. It is important to note that a prosecutor can only bring charges based on the weight of substances recovered. The prosecutor cannot claim that only a certain percentage of the marijuana sold was recovered, and charge a more serious degree of the crime based on an estimate as to the weight of the marijuana not recovered.
What Are the Long-Term Repercussions of a Conviction for Criminal Sale of Marijuana in New York City?
In addition to prison time, the accused may have to pay a significant financial penalty. Depending on the classification of the charge, this fine could be anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
The long-term repercussions of a conviction related to the sale of marijuana in New York City can haunt someone for many years to come. A misdemeanor or felony conviction means a permanent criminal record. Only if certain requirements are met is it possible to get a past crime sealed from the public. In the immediate sense, a criminal record can impact many aspects of someone’s day to day life.
Career options and prospects can be severely impacted by a criminal record, as can one’s ability to rent an apartment or own property. In matters of child custody, the court may look at a person’s criminal record and use this as a factor when determining the extent of the access they should have to their child. A criminal conviction can also affect a wide range of other rights and freedoms, such as the right to vote, own a firearm, or travel.
How Can You Fight a Charge Alleging the Criminal Sale of Marijuana?
There are several effective defenses that an attorney may use against a criminal charge for selling marijuana. If the accused is registered to sell medical marijuana, this could be a valid defense. If the accused had marijuana but did not intend to sell it, this could also potentially lead to a reduction of the charge. Furthermore, if there was something illegal in the way that law enforcement discovered the marijuana, and the search constituted an unreasonable violation of the individual’s fourth amendment rights, this could also be a plausible defense.
Speak with a New York City Attorney About Charges for the Criminal Sale of Marijuana
The marijuana possession and sale attorneys our firm have years of experience successfully litigating these cases and building defenses against illegally seized contraband. If you have been charged with the criminal sale of marijuana in New York City, we could fight to preserve your rights and ensure that no unlawfully obtained evidence can be used to convict you. Call our office today for a free case evaluation.