Being caught with an illegal or illegally obtained controlled dangerous substance in New York can land you with severe punishments, depending on the substance, how law enforcement found you and how you handled yourself once discovered by the police. Penalties also change if they suspect that you are a seller or distributor.

The New York Senate passed a number of bills in 2018 that made it easier for courts to prosecute heroin dealers with increased penalties, especially for selling to minors. They also made tougher restrictions on black-market prescription drugs.

Drug penalties

New York law has developed tough penalties for possessing drugs, and the laws have become somewhat convoluted over the years. Keep in mind that first offenses differ from second and subsequent offenses, with longer prison times and fines for the latter:

  • Class A-1 felony: Possession of eight or more ounces of anything considered a narcotic drug can result in eight to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $100,000.
  • Class A-2 felony: Possession of four or more ounces of heroin, two or more ounces of meth, 25 milligrams of LSD or 625 milligrams of a CDS hallucinogen can result in a fine of up to $50,000 and/or three to eight years in prison.
  • Class B through D felony: Each lower-class felony indicates the possession of fewer drugs with lesser penalties to match.
  • Class A misdemeanor: Possession of any CDS excluding marijuana that are less than the amounts recognized as a class D felony can receive a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Drug possession defense

There are a few defensive positions you can take in court to lesson or drop your charges of drug possession, though there are no guarantees that your charges will be completely dropped:

  • Prescription medicine
  • Lawful temporary possession
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Insufficient quantity
  • Under 16 years old

Protect your future

If law enforcement has found you with illegal drugs, getting representation from a knowledgeable attorney may be vital to your future. If you have been wrongly accused, it is even more important to collect evidence that supports your case so you are not wrongly convicted.