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There are specific laws in Long Island and other areas of New York related to drug possession. Laws tend to divide offenses related to marijuana and controlled substances into two respective groups, but in general, the components of the offenses are very much the same. In either case, if a person is to be convicted of drug possession whether it involves marijuana or a controlled substance, the prosecutor must prove that the substance is a controlled substance, the defendant possessed that substance, the person knew they possessed the substance and the possession was unlawful. The possession of the drug, or the bong, can be physical or even constructive, which means the defendant had control over another person or place where drugs were found. It’s possible to prove constructive possession even if the individual was not physically present when the drugs were located.
What are the Drug Possession Laws in Long Island, New York?
There are a number of penal laws and statutes in the state of New York relating to drug possession. They are as follows:
• New York Penal Law Section 220 relates to controlled substances and their definitions
• New York Penal Law Sections 220.03 – 220.21 relates to possession of a controlled substance
• New York Penal Law Section 220.25 relates to presumption of possession
• New York Penal Law Section 220.60 relates to possession of precursors of controlled substances
• New York Penal Law Section 220.70 – 220.72 relates to possession of methamphetamine materials for preparation and manufacture
• New York Penal Law Sections 221.05 – 221.30 relates to possession of marijuana
What is Considered a Drug Under New York Law?
A drug, also known as a controlled substance, can be any number of substances. Illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine are examples of drugs. Other examples of drugs under New York law include substances that are legally prescribed, such as OxyContin, Vicodin or Ritalin. Drug possession is a very serious crime when it involves an illegal drug. However, at the same time, possession of a controlled substance that can be legally prescribed is also a criminal offense if you don’t have a legal prescription for it.
How is Possession Defined in a Drug Possession Charge in New York?
In Long Island, New York and other areas of the state, you can be charged with drug possession if you are present when the drugs are uncovered. It is presumed that everyone present knows that there are illegal drugs or controlled substances in the vicinity, which means they are in violation of the law. For instance, if you were in a car with other people and drugs were found to be stashed in the vehicle, everyone would be arrested for possession of drugs.
What are the Penalties and Sentences for Drug Possession in New York?
If a person is convicted of possession of drugs and the substance amounts to eight ounces or more and contains narcotics or 5,760 milligrams of methadone, they would be charged with a class A-1 felony. This is a very serious charge that carries a penalty of eight to 20 years in prison or a fine amounting $100,000.
With lesser convictions that are considered class B to class E felonies, the minimum prison sentence is one year and the maximum prison term ranges from 1.5 to nine years. The defendant can possibly receive a fine of anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 for class B and C felony convictions.
If the drug possession charge involves unlawful possession of marijuana, the punishment is less severe. It carries a jail term of a maximum of 15 days or a fine that is less than $250.
Possible Defenses for a Drug Possession Charge in New York
If you are arrested on drug possession charges in Long Island, New York, your criminal defense attorney can use a few possible defenses during your case. These include the following:
• Lack of Knowledge: Your lawyer can argue that you did not know there were drugs in the vicinity
• Temporary and Lawful Possession: This is a defense that involves proving that the drugs in your possession were legal but temporary
• Prescription Medicine: Your attorney can use this defense to prove that the drugs that were found were prescriptions legally prescribed to you
• Insufficient Quantity: The drugs were less than the illegal amount, which means the drug possession charge against you should be nullified
• Infancy: This is a defense that the attorney can use if the defendant is under the age of 16
If you are arrested in Long Island, New York for drug possession, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact the Spodek Law Group at your earliest convenience to discuss your case with a lawyer.