Gavel in a Courtroom

Defending Against Drug Possession Charges

What Is The Penalty For Possession Of Marijuana In New York?

Possession of a controlled dangerous substance is a serious crime in the state of New York.  Each state has its own regulations concerning illegal drugs or controlled dangerous substances.  Per New York law, there are five different categories of controlled dangerous substances, known as “Schedules.”  Schedule 1 contains the most dangerous drugs, which lack any medical value and have a high propensity towards addiction.  The schedules decrease in dangerousness, and in turn the severity of the penalty, from there. If you have been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, it is critical that you understand the charges against you, the potential penalties, and your best defense.

What Is A Controlled Dangerous Substance?

To convict you of possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the state of New York, the prosecutor must prove that the substance was a controlled substance, you possessed the substance, the possession was knowing and unlawful.  Controlled dangerous substances include any illegal drug you can think of, and likely many of which you are unfamiliar. Examples of controlled substances include cocaine, heroin, opioids, marijuana, and the like.

What Is Possession?

For those charged with the crime of possession, one of the first questions that arise is whether you actually possessed the drugs.  Possession can be physical, meaning that you were arrested with the drugs on your person, and can also be constructive. Constructive possession is defined as control over the place or person where the drugs were found, such as control over your car which held the drugs.

What Are The Penalties For Possession Of A Controlled Substance?

The penalty you face for possession of a controlled dangerous substance will depend on the type of controlled substance, the quantity, and your prior convictions.  For example, for possession of between two and eight ounces of marijuana, you could be charged with a misdemeanor offense and face up to one year in jail. If you are found in possession of 500 mg or more of cocaine, you may be charged with a felony offense and face up to 2.5 years in prison.

How Can I Defend Against Drug Charges?

Your best defense against a drug possession charge will depend on the circumstances surrounding your arrest.  Potential defenses could include challenging the knowledge element, a lack of possession, a valid prescription, or an illegal stop.  Contact a criminal defense lawyer for more assistance with defending against the charges you face.