Rockland County Drug Lawyer
New York’s drug laws are a complex group of statutes that consider many factors when determining guilt and the appropriate punishments. While the mere possession of a controlled substance is illegal, penalties may range from relatively minor to severe under New York Penal Law depending on the type and amount of the drug found, and even the defendant’s alleged state of mind when they possessed it.
An experienced Rockland County drug lawyer could be dedicated to defending your rights and liberties in criminal court. Consult an accomplished criminal defense attorney that could work to analyze your case and formulate a defense that may increase your chances of a positive outcome.
Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Crimes
Most people accused of drug crimes in Rockland County are charged using New York Penal Law §220.03 and its sister statutes. This law makes the possession by any person of any amount of an illegal controlled substance a Class A misdemeanor. Because of this classification, any person convicted of possessing a controlled substance can be sent to jail for up to one year and be forced to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
Any allegation that a person is selling drugs—including marijuana—is a far more serious charge. The criminal sale of a controlled substance, the simplest form of which is defined by New York Penal Law §220.31, is always a felony offense. The most serious drug distribution charge, involving the sale of large amounts of narcotics, is a Class A-1 felony that can result in a life sentence under certain circumstances.
Possession of Marijuana Offenses
The New York state legislature has recently loosened its laws concerning the possession of small amounts of marijuana. While the police in Rockland County may still arrest a person for marijuana possession, the allegation is no longer considered a criminal act. Under New York Penal Law §221.05, the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is considered a civil violation, for a which a person convicted under this law can be fined a maximum of $100 for a first offense.
Drug Offenses Involving Prescription Medications
Unlike street drugs like cocaine or heroin, possessing prescription medication is only unlawful under certain circumstances. A person that possesses, transfers, or sells prescription medication without authorization could face steep consequences similar to those caught in possession of illegal narcotics.
The severity of these offenses depends on the circumstances. While possessing prescription drugs that belong to someone else is generally treated as a misdemeanor, unlawfully selling or sharing prescription drugs is a felony. An attorney in Rockland County could help someone who has been accused of selling prescription drugs.
What Does a Drug Crime Prosecutor Need to Prove?
As in all criminal cases, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means they need to prove that the defendant not only possessed the drugs in question and was aware of their nature, but also that the drugs are the substance they are alleged to be.
Proving that a substance is an illegal drug is a scientific process that requires laboratory work and expert testimony. As a result, a trial may involve the testimony of a laboratory worker who speaks about the scientific methods used to identify the alleged drugs. These experts are open to cross-examination concerning the methods used and their expertise on the subject.
Furthermore, all people are protected from illegal searches, which includes being free from random searches in public and the right to privacy in their homes. A Rockland County drug lawyer could examine the police work in a case with a critical eye and identify any improprieties in their conduct.
What if Drugs Were Found After an Illegal Search?
If the police unlawfully searched the home, car, or body of a person, any evidence they find may not be admissible in court. The police do not have limitless power to investigate crime, even when they are confident a person is in possession of a controlled substance.
In cases involving traffic stops, the police must have probable cause that a crime is occurring to search a car or arrest the driver. Without this, only permission or a warrant will make a search lawful. If a drug defense attorney in Rockland County determines the search of a vehicle was illegal, they can file a motion in court to declare any evidence found in the search inadmissible. This evidence could include anything from controlled substances to drug paraphernalia. It could also invalidate any confession obtained following the arrest.
Consulting a Rockland County Drug Attorney
Facing a drug charge in a New York court can be an intimidating experience. For many people, this could be their first experience with the justice system, while others may be hoping to avoid being labeled as a repeat offender or to keep a felony off their record.
No matter your particular goals concerning your case, a qualified Rockland County drug lawyer could work with you to identify the facts in your case, design a defense, and stand up for your rights in court. Call today to schedule a consultation and let us get to work on your case.