How Serious Are Cocaine Related Crimes?
Cocaine is a Schedule II drug under both the New York State Controlled Substances Act and the Federal Controlled Substances Act. There are five schedules, or categories, of controlled substances, with Schedule I drugs considered to present the greatest risk and Schedule V drugs considered the least dangerous.
Penalties for drug offenses are based on the schedule of the substance, your past criminal record, and whether you are charged with simple possession or a more serious offense like intent to sell, trafficking or distribution. You have the right to defend yourself when faced with drug charges, and a New York City criminal lawyer at Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can provide legal representation as you respond to cocaine charges.
New York Cocaine Crimes
- Criminal possession in the 7th degree. Under New York State Penal Law Section 220.03, you will be charged with this offense if you have less than 500 mg of cocaine under your control. This is a Class A misdemeanor with a potential penalty of a year in jail.
- Criminal possession in the 5th degree. Penal Law Section 220.06 makes it a Class D felony to have 500 mg or more of cocaine. Penalties for a first offense include one to 2.5 years in prison, and penalties for a second offense include up to four years
- Criminal possession in the 4th degree. Penal Law Section 09 makes it a Class C felony to have at least 1/8 of an ounce of cocaine. Penalties may include between one and 5.5 years in prison, or up to eight years in prison for a second offense.
- Criminal possession in the third, second or first degree. You could face these charges for having at least 1/2 ounce of cocaine; at least four ounces of cocaine; or at least eight ounces of cocaine respectively. Penalties range between one and nine years in prison for third degree criminal possession, to up to 10 years in prison for second degree possession or 20 years for first degree Repeat offenders face longer prison terms.
- Possession with intent to sell, which can be a Class A-I, Class A-11, or Class B felony depending upon the amount of cocaine. Penalties range anywhere from one to nine years in prison for selling less than a half ounce of cocaine to eight to 20 years for selling two or more ounces.
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Intent to sell cocaine can be inferred if you have volumes of the drug considered too large for personal use. You may defend yourself against charges of both possession and sale, and a New York defense attorney will help determine how best to respond to accusations of drug crimes. You should also get assistance with clearing your seized assets.
Federal Cocaine Crimes
Cocaine possession and the sale of cocaine are illegal under 21 U.S. Code Section 844 and 21 U.S.C. Section 841. Under federal laws:
- A first possession offense with any amount of cocaine can result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
- A second possession offense with any amount of cocaine can result in a minimum 15 jail term, up to two years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
- A third possession offense with any amount of cocaine can result in a minimum of 90 days incarceration and up to three years in prison as well as a fine of $5,000.
- Possession for selling less than 500 grams of cocaine can result in a $1,000,000 fine and up to 20 years in jail. If you are convicted of having five kilograms or more with intent to sell, you will spend a minimum of 10 years in prison and could be jailed for the rest of your life.
The federal government takes drug crimes very seriously. Human Rights Watch warns that federal prosecutors often threaten very harsh drug charges for individuals with minimal involvement in the drug trade to coerce guilty pleas. It is imperative you protect your rights. A New York City drug defense lawyer can help.
How a New York City Cocaine Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you have been charged with any drug offense involving cocaine, you need to make a determination on whether to plead guilty or not guilty. A NYC cocaine attorney can assist in negotiating a plea deal that may allow for a reduced sentence or reduced charges.
Your attorney can also help prevent evidence obtained in an illegal search from being presented to secure a conviction, and can assist in presenting a case in trial designed to introduce doubt as to whether you committed a drug offense. If a prosecutor cannot prove you guilty of a cocaine offense, you should avoid conviction.
To get help responding to your drug charges, contact Bukh Law Firm, PLLC. today.