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220.03 Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree

January 30, 2019

New York law 220.03 or another similar law. New York divides controlled substances charges into degrees based on the severity of the charge. First-degree possession of a controlled substance is the most serious of the state’s controlled substance offenses. Seventh-degree charges for substance possession are the least serious of the New York controlled substance possession charges. A person who faces charges for controlled substance possession in the seventh degree in New York faces a class A misdemeanor. The offender may receive a sentence from the court of up to one year in jail. One year in jail is the maximum possible offense. There are things that you may be able to do in order to minimize your exposure to jail time including demonstrating rehabilitation, participation in recovery court or showing the court that you lack a criminal history.

What is a controlled substance for seventh-degree controlled substance charges in New York?

A controlled substance may be a drug like cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. A controlled substance can also be a narcotic that is lawfully prescribed in some cases. Any type of drug that has restricted possession in some cases can be a controlled substance.

Elements for seventh-degree substance charges in New York State

There are several elements that make up the charge of criminal substance possession in New York State:

  • The person must knowingly possess the substance
  • The substance must be a controlled substance
  • It may not be only a residual amount as part of a syringe or needle exchange program
  • The case may not have come to law enforcement’s attention because of a health care emergency

First, law enforcement must show that the person charged knows that they’re in possession of a substance that falls under the controlled substance law. For example, if you think that a substance is a cooking ingredient and it turns out to be a controlled substance, you’re not in violation of the law. Law enforcement might try to prove that you’re in possession of the substance when you’re really just one person near the substance. For example, if a substance is found in the common area of a shared home with many roommates, it may be impossible for law enforcement to determine who is to blame for the substance. Proving intent and proving the defendant’s intentions can be two challenges for law enforcement for seventh-degree drug charges.

Options when you’re facing seventh-degree drug charges

Although all drug possession charges are serious, New York’s criminal justice system has some options to treat offenders rather than simply punish them. You may be able to take advantage of a diversion program that can help you move away from drug use. You may receive a valuable plea reduction or outright dismissal of your claim in exchange for voluntary participation in the program. You might qualify to participate in a drug treatment program. A drug treatment program is a serious commitment that involves repeated court appearances and intense monitoring. However, state attorneys often offer generous charge reductions in exchange for participation in the program. If you are a non-violent offender, you may qualify to take advantage of the program. In addition, there may be other programs for youthful offenders or first-time offenders that can help you reduce your charges and show the courts that you’re a community contributor who deserves a special dispensation. Your attorney for seventh-degree drug and controlled substance possession charges in New York can help you determine your qualifications and make the appropriate inquiries to participate in a program or request a special dispensation.

Fighting controlled substance charges in New York

It’s important to aggressively fight against any drug charge because you don’t know what the future might bring. A drug charge may have serious consequences for your future ambitions. Fortunately, a skilled attorney for drug possession charges can help you fight against seventh-degree drug charges in New York. Reviewing the elements of the claim, building a strong defense and exploring all options can help you protect your future when you face controlled substance charges.

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