An NYC Drug Crime Lawyer Explains the Law
Are you facing drug charges in NYC?
Even if you are guilty, an NYC drug crime lawyer may be able to get your charges dropped.
Because drug cases are complex and usually involve constitutional issues. For instance, the police may have unlawfully stopped you in violation of the 4th Amendment. The police may have also wrongfully searched and falsely arrested you.
If the judge concludes the police violated your constitutional rights when they found the drugs, then the drugs aren’t admissible in court, and your charges will likely get dropped.
Even if the police did not violate your rights, you could still get a great outcome. In some situations, your lawyer could possibly establish that the evidence against you is insufficient. Other times, your attorney may be able to convince the prosecution to reduce your charges. Or, you might be eligible for drug court, which can keep you out of prison and help you get treatment.
The bottom line is that, if you are facing drug charges, you have reason for hope. Contact an experienced NYC drug charge lawyer today to get started on a strategic defense for your case.
Categories of Drug Charges
Drug charges in New York fall into three general categories:
- Possession charges. Under New York law, it is a criminal offense to knowingly possess a controlled substance. Possession can include both actual possession (the drugs were found on your person), as well as constructive possession (the drugs were within your immediate control). A “simple possession” charge is the least serious drug charge you can face.
- Sale of a controlled substance. It is against the law in New York to sell or intend to sell a controlled substance. Charges involving the sale or distribution of drugs are more serious than possession charges and carry very serious consequences if you are convicted.
- Drug trafficking. Drug trafficking charges are the most serious drug charges. Trafficking charges involve the manufacture of drugs or the sale of large quantities of drugs.
If you are facing drug charges, contact an NYC drug crime lawyer to develop a strategic defense for your case.
Call (212) 627-3184 to speak to NYC criminal attorney Cody Warner to get help with your criminal charges. Let Cody help you navigate the criminal justice system to get the best results for your case.
What Determines the Outcome of a Drug Case?
The outcome of your drug case will depend on many factors, such as:
- The type of drugs involved;
- The quantity of the drugs involved;
- Whether you were engaged in the sale or distribution of drugs;
- Whether you have previous drug offenses on your record;
- Whether you have been previously treated for drug use;
- Whether you were arrested with a firearm in your possession;
- Whether your constitutional rights were violated from an unlawful search; and
- Whether you arguably were not in actual possession of the drugs–e.g. The drugs were found inside a shared car or home.
An NYC drug crime lawyer can assess the particulars of your case to determine the best path forward so that you can get the best possible outcome.
Potential Penalties You Face
The penalties you face will depend on your specific charges and the unique circumstances of your case. Generally, you could face the following penalties if convicted:
- Misdemeanor drug possession: Up to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines
- Felony drug possession or sale (ranging from class E to Class A-I felonies): From 1 year up to 20 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines, or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years
- Trafficking: Up to 20 years in prison with an 8-year minimum sentence for non-major traffickers, and a minimum 15 year sentence up to life imprisonment for major traffickers. If you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years, you will receive a higher sentencing range if you are convicted.
The consequences of a drug conviction can affect the rest of your life. A NYC drug crime lawyer can fight your charges and make sure that you get the best achievable outcome.
Drug Crime Lawyer Explains New York State’s Cannabis Law (Marijuana Law)
New York has recently legalized the possession and use of marijuana in small amounts. Under P.Law 222.05, people 21 years of age or older may:
- Possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana in public
- Possess up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis
- Give or transfer up to 3 ounces of marijuana or 24 grams of concentrated marijuana (note that this does not include selling marijuana or concentrated marijuana in any amount)
- Possess up to 3 mature cannabis plants and 3 immature cannabis plants, or 12 plants per household
- You may store up to 5 pounds of marijuana at home if it is kept secure from access by people under the age of 21
- Smoke or use marijuana anywhere that smoking tobacco would be allowed unless it is prohibited by another law, rule, or local policy
Possession of more than 3 ounces of marijuana or more than 24 grams of concentrated cannabis is now a violation, punishable by a fine of no more than $125.00. However, it is still a crime to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. In New York City, you cannot smoke marijuana in parks, at playgrounds, in pedestrian plazas, on boardwalks, or on beaches.
Is it legal to possess marijuana in NY?
While the possession of a small amount of marijuana has been legalized, possession of larger amounts is still a crime. New York still has three degrees of criminal possession of marijuana that can be charged (unless a person is properly licensed to produce or distribute marijuana):
- Criminal Possession of Cannabis in the Third Degree (P.L 222.30): possession of more than 16 ounces of marijuana or more than 5 ounces of cannabis concentrate. This is a class A misdemeanor offense that carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000 if you are convicted.
- Criminal Possession of Cannabis in the Second Degree (P.L 222.35): possession of more than 5 pounds of marijuana or more than 2 pounds of cannabis concentrate. A class E felony, if convicted you face up to 4 years in prison–or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years–and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Criminal Possession of Cannabis in the First Degree (P.L 222.40): possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana or more than four pounds of cannabis concentrate. First degree possession is a class D felony. If convicted you face a prison sentence of up to 7 years–or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years–and a fine of up to $5,000.
Despite sweeping marijuana reform, some forms of marijuana possession are still criminal. You can legally store up to five pounds of marijuana at your home. However, you could face a misdemeanor charge if you take more than 16 ounces outside of your home. You could face a felony charge if you were transporting more than 5 pounds.
These charges carry serious penalties and will go on your permanent record.
What is the penalty for selling marijuana in New York State?
Except for those businesses that have a license to sell marijuana, the sale of marijuana largely remains illegal. However, the legislature decriminalized the sale of small amounts of marijuana. The sale of 3 ounces or less of marijuana or 24 grams of cannabis concentrate is a violation subject to a fine of $250 under P.L 222.45. After that, the consequences become more serious.
Criminal Sale of Cannabis in the Third Degree (P.L 222.50) applies in cases where:
- You sold more than 3 ounces of marijuana or more than 24 grams of cannabis concentrate; or
- You sold marijuana to someone who was under 21 years old.
Criminal Sale of Cannabis in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Criminal Sale of Cannabis in the Second Degree (P.L 222.50) applies in cases where:
- You sold more than 16 ounces of marijuana or more than 5 ounces of cannabis concentrate; or
- You sold more than 3 ounces or more than 24 grams of cannabis concentrate to someone less than 18 years old.
Criminal Sale of Cannabis in the Second Degree is a class E felony. You face up to one and one half years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
The Criminal Sale of Cannabis in the First Degree (P.L 222.60) is a class D felony that carries a prison sentence of up to two and one half years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Criminal Sale of Cannabis in the First Degree occurs if you sold more than 5 pounds of marijuana or more than 2 pounds of cannabis concentrate.
Aggravated Criminal Sale of Cannabis (P.L 222.65) is charged when you sell marijuana or cannabis concentrate weighing 100 pounds or more. Aggravated Criminal Sale of Cannabis is a class C felony. It carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of $15,000.
A conviction for criminal sale of marijuana can have serious consequences. An experienced NYC drug crime lawyer can discuss your charges with you and develop a strategy to get you the best possible result.
What are New York’s Drug Diversion Programs?
New York recognizes that many defendants suffer from substance abuse, and treatment is often preferable to incarceration. As a result, you may be able to enter a drug diversion program and avoid jail time. An experienced NYC drug crime lawyer can discuss whether you may qualify for drug diversion.
Drug diversion programs allow drug abusers to get the treatment they need and avoid jail time. You can request diversion any time between arraignment and your trial or the entry of a guilty plea. However, diversion is not automatic and must first be approved by the court.
If drug diversion is granted, you must complete an intensive drug program that can last over one year. The court will decide whether you are at an inpatient or outpatient program. You will have to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. Failure to meet any of the conditions imposed by the court or the program could result in a prison sentence.
Agreeing to participate in a drug diversion program typically requires you to plead guilty before you enter treatment. Only after successfully completing treatment will your plea usually be withdrawn so that your case can be dismissed.
Obviously, if you have wrongfully been charged with a drug offense and you don’t have a drug problem, you would not want to participate in a lengthy drug program that is not useful to you. An experienced NYC drug crime lawyer can help you evaluate your options and find the best way forward.
NYC Drug Crime Lawyer Cody Warner Can Develop the Right Strategy for Your Case
If you are charged with a drug crime, you may have good options to favorably resolve your case. NYC Drug Crime Lawyer Cody Warner can assess your situation and determine the right path forward for your case. Call or email Cody today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and what he can do for you.