Defending Against Drug Charges in NY

What Are the Penalties for Possessing a Controlled Substance in New York?

Drug crimes are serious offenses in the state of New York.  Each year, thousands of New Yorkers are arrested for drug possession.  Often, these charges will stem from the possession of a small amount of a controlled substance.  Being arrested for even a small amount of drugs could potentially lead to fines, prison time, and a permanent criminal record.  Those charged with a drug offense need to take action by retaining the assistance of a NY criminal defense lawyer to defend against the charges lodged against them.  

An Overview of Drug Charges in NY

New York is known to have some of the toughest drug laws in the country.  Drug offenses range in type and severity.  Types of drug cases include possession of a controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance, and drug trafficking.  Whether you are charged with possession, sale, or trafficking will depend on the quantity of drugs with which you are arrested and other factors surrounding the arrest.  For example, if officers discover a large quantity of drugs along with items that could be used to sell the drugs, like a scale, this may lead to a charge of possession with intent to distribute.  

Penalties for Drug Offenses

Drug offense penalties vary depending on the specific charge and the drugs involved.  Factors that will influence the drug penalty include:

  • Which illegal substance was involved?
  • Was there evidence of intent to sell?
  • How much of the drug was found?
  • Do you have a criminal record?
  • Were firearms seized along with the drugs?

In New York, while marijuana is still illegal for recreational use, possessing a small amount of marijuana is now deemed a non-criminal charge.  You will receive just a citation if you are a first time offender with a small amount of marijuana.  Cocaine, on the other hand, could result in several months or even over a year in prison and fines for possession of just a small amount.  

In addition to potential jail time and fines, a drug conviction will become a part of your permanent criminal record and could prevent you from getting a job, applying for educational loans, and much more.  For this reason, it is critical that you mount a strong defense against any drug charge.  Potential defenses could include challenging the stop and seizure or contesting the element of possession.  Your criminal defense lawyer will review the facts of your case to uncover your best defense.