The use, possession, sale, and transport of controlled substances are closely regulated in New York City. Similar to laws on drinking and driving, computer crimes, and sex crimes, a robust set of statutes limits how and when any controlled substance can be used or possessed. The same statutes impose harsh punishments on the possession of illegal drugs.
If you are facing drug charges in New York City, the assistance and advice of a New York City lawyer is incredibly helpful. A local lawyer can explain the charges against you and provide insight into the legal process ahead. As you go through this process, New York City defense counsel from Koch Law will be with your every step of the way.
Understanding Drug Charges in New York City
The laws on drugs and controlled substances in New York City are among the State of New York’s most complicated and lengthy statutes. It can be nearly impossible for someone other than a New York City drug lawyer to fully explain the charges and possible outcomes of a drug offense.
However, you need a clear explanation of New York City drug charges because these laws are also some of New York’s toughest criminal laws. New York is recognized as having some of the United States’ toughest drug laws and imposing extremely strict punishments.
There are several different types of drug charges in New York City. These drug charges vary in severity but are all handled by the experienced team at Koch Law. A New York City drug lawyer at Koch Law handles cases involving:
- Manufacture, and
New York City’s Law on Drug Possession
New York categorizes all controlled substances into five different “Schedules.” These Schedules and the process for designation of a controlled substance are based on the likelihood of addiction to a particular drug and the drug’s negative impact on society. The drugs considered most dangerous under these criteria are known as Schedule 1 drugs, while the least serious are Schedule 5 drugs.
Possession of a controlled substance, the most common drug charges in New York City. There are four elements of possession that are necessary for a New York City prosecutor to prove in a criminal case. These four elements are:
- The defendant was found in possession of the substance;
- The substance possessed was a controlled substance under New York’s laws;
- The possession of that substance was unlawful and not as a result of seeking immediate medical attention; and
- The defendant knew the substance to be a controlled substance.
Possession of a controlled substance is charged in five different degrees based on:
- The Schedule of the drug found in your possession;
- The amount of the drug found in your possession; and
- Whether there are any aggravating circumstances in your case, such as the presence of minors in the same vicinity to a controlled substance.
- Possession in the First Degree is a class A-I felony. The most serious charges for possession of a controlled substance. Applicable to the possession of eight ounces or more of specified Schedule 1 drugs, and carrying a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.
- Possession in the Second Degree is a class A-II felony. Applicable to the possession of more than four but less than eight ounces of a Schedule 1 drug and larger amounts of specified Schedule II drugs, and carrying a potential sentence of 25 years in prison.
- Possession in the Third Degree is a class B felony. Applicable to the possession of any Schedule 1 drugs and certain Schedule II drugs, could also be applied to a subsequent offense for possession of a Schedule III drug. The potential punishment for a class B felony is 25 years in prison.
- Possession in the Fourth Degree is a class C felony. Applicable to the possession of smaller amounts of Schedule 1 drugs and possession of less serious controlled substances. The maximum punishment is 15 years in prison.
- Possession in the Fifth Degree is a class D felony. The maximum punishment for a class D felony in New York City is seven years.
- Possession in the Seventh Degree is a class A misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for a class A misdemeanor is one year in jail.
Defense to Drug Charges in New York City
Given that all but the least serious charges for possession are felony offenses in New York City, you could face a very lengthy prison sentence for a single mistake. Reducing or eliminating these lengthy prison sentences is essential, and the best way to do this is hiring successful legal counsel. Your defense to drug charges in New York City is crucial to the outcome of your case.
At Koch Law, we provide an effective defense to any and all drug charges in New York City. No matter the severity of drug offense you are facing, our highly respected team of drug lawyers in New York should be your first call.