New York Drug Laws – Possession of a Controlled Substance
Except in a few small instances, the crime of possession of a controlled dangerous substance is a felony offense in New York, with convicted felons facing serious penalties such as hefty fines, lengthy prison sentences, asset forfeiture, and more. Fortunately, as with other criminal drug offenses, the prosecution is required to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted, and you have the right to defend yourself with the assistance of an attorney. This article discusses the ins and outs of New York drug possession laws, and how the Goshen criminal defense attorneys at Dupée & Monroe can help you if you have been arrested for possession.
New York State Controlled Substances Act
New York drug laws outlaw the possession of “controlled dangerous substances.” To find out what a controlled dangerous substance is, you have to look at New York Public Health Law section 3306, where you will find literally hundreds of substances listed as controlled dangerous substances. Basically, all of the drugs you can think of, and then some, can be found on these lists. They include opiates and opiate derivatives (e.g. morphine), hallucinogens (marijuana, mescaline, psilocybin, ecstasy, peyote), depressants (GHB, phencyclidine), and stimulants (speed, crystal meth).
All of these drugs are listed on one of five different “schedules” depending upon their medicinal value and their susceptibility for abuse. In addition to “street drugs” like marijuana, cocaine and heroin, these schedules also include many different prescription drugs which are legally available by prescription. Of course, it is illegal to possess one of these drugs if you don’t have a valid prescription, but the fact that many of these substances can be legal or illegal sometimes makes it difficult to enforce a particular drug charge and may provide an avenue for defense.
In outlawing the possession of controlled dangerous substances, New York drug law makes the severity of the crime primarily dependent on the type and amount of drug involved. Criminal charges for possession range from Class A-I felony offenses down to Class A misdemeanors. If convicted of a Class A-I felony, you can be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, with a minimum of 15 years, and fines up to $100,000. This serious felony can be imposed for being in possession of eight or more ounces of narcotics. Even a Class A misdemeanor conviction can land you in jail for up to a year with a $1,000 fine.
How We Can Help
Depending upon the precise nature of the possession charge against you, there may be a number of defenses available. One chief concern is always whether the police had probable cause to search your home, car or person, or wherever the drugs were alleged to be found. As experienced drug crimes and civil rights lawyers, the attorneys at Dupée & Monroe fully understand how the search and seizure requirements of the Fourth Amendment may apply in your case. Depending upon the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case and the available defenses, we may be able to get the charges reduced or dropped, or provide a strong and effective defense in court.
If you have been arrested and charged with drug possession under New York state law, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen. We represent clients charged with drug crimes and other serious offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.