A New York Criminal Defense Attorney Explains Laws on Drug Possession
Certain substances are classified as controlled substances under both New York law and under federal law. Controlled substances range from marijuana to heroin to prescription drugs. The controlled substances which are illegal or which are heavily regulated are divided into different categories, called “schedules.” Unlawful possession of any scheduled controlled substance can result in serious criminal charges. It is possible you could be charged with either a federal or a state crime. The crime with which you are charged could carry a lengthy mandatory minimum prison term if convicted. These mandatory minimum sentences have been the driving force behind mass incarceration in America because judges do not have discretion to consider the circumstances or mitigating factors in cases where you are convicted of an offense that carries a mandatory minimum sentence.
The draconian drug laws in the United States mean your life could be ruined just because you possess a substance that the government has decided to regulate. You need to fight aggressively to defend your freedom; defend your reputation and avoid a criminal record; and seek to avoid financial loss which could be caused by being charged and convicted. You need a defense attorney who understands state and federal laws for drug crimes inside-and-out and who can assist you in aggressively fighting against accusations that you broke the law.
Understanding Drug Possession Crimes
A defendant can be charged with a drug crime for possession of a controlled substance, but also for other related
When you are charged with possession, the type or schedule of the drug as well as the amount of the drug
Marijuana Drug Possession Laws in NY
Marijuana laws have been evolving, and NY has taken some steps in the right
Under NY’s marijuana laws, if you are caught with 25 grams or less of marijuana, the offense is not a criminal one and the penalties will be limited to a $100 fine for a first offense, a $200 fine for a second offense, and a $250 fine for a third offense. However, if you have more than 25 grams, marijuana possession becomes either a misdemeanor or a felony.
The federal government has not yet decriminalized marijuana. However, an amendment to a federal spending bill did prohibit the Department of Justice from going after people for drug crimes when the individuals are in compliance with their own state’s laws on marijuana. With the DOJ limited in its enforcement efforts, it is very unlikely you would face federal charges
Simple Possession vs. Possession with Intent to Distribute
Simple possession can sometimes result in a criminal record and potential incarceration, but penalties are often relatively minor. With help from an attorney, you may be able to enter a pre-trial diversion program which could allow you to keep a clean record upon successfully complying with program terms. Penalties for simple possession most often include things like fines, community service, and mandatory drug counseling rather than time spent incarcerated. For repeat offenders, however, options for avoiding a record are more limited and penalties can become more serious.
It is also important to realize that possession can become possession with intent to distribute even if you don’t actually have the intention to sell any of the controlled substances which are under your control. This is because it is the amount of the drug which can lead to a charge of intent to distribute, rather than actual proof you sold any narcotics.
21 U.S. Code section 841 outlines prohibited acts related to controlled substances. This is a federal law, and it groups possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance in with other offenses including possession with intent to manufacture. Under this code section, possession of more than five grams of pure meth, more than one gram of LSD, more than 28 grams of crack, or more than 500 grams of heroin could result in a charge of possession with intent to distribute. This crime carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years imprisonment for a first offense.
Because simple possession can become a way more serious crime when it becomes possession with intent to distribute, there may be times when you wish to challenge a
Getting Help from a NY Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
When you have been accused of even simple possession, you need to get help from a qualified attorney to try to avoid conviction so you can get the best possible outcome in a potentially life-changing situation. Call Bukh Law Firm, PLLC today to learn more about the assistance we offer to defendants facing any type of state or federal drug charges.