Many people do not understand the consequences of their actions. This holds true when it comes to involvement in drug possession or distribution. A conviction can bring severe penalties from incarceration to costly fines and a mark on your criminal record. Below, we will take a quick look at drug distribution and possession charges in New York.
Understanding New York drug schedules
The types of charges you can face will come down to the quantity and type of drug used. The prosecution will either charge you with a felony or misdemeanor based on certain factors. New York includes five categories of illicit controlled drugs, known as schedules.
- Schedule I: primarily dangerous and addictive controlled substances such as LSD, heroin, and meth.
- Schedule II: includes morphine, opium, and fentanyl.
- Schedule III: includes codeine, anabolic steroids, and ketamine.
- Schedule IV: typically prescribed medications such as Clonazepam (Klonopin), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Alprazolam (Xanax).
- Schedule V: includes drugs like Ezogabine and cough medicines with a lower risk of addiction.
Drug distribution charges
Selling drugs in New York attracts higher penalties than drug possession. Depending on the type of drug, you can face up to 10 years in prison. For instance, selling an ounce of cocaine is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and is classified as a Class A-II felony. However, possession of cocaine with the intent to sell is a Class B misdemeanor that can lead to 9 years of imprisonment.
Drug possession charges
Drug possession charges are not as severe as drug distribution charges. However, you risk considerable fines and jail time, depending on the addiction level of the drug. For instance, anyone caught with 25 grams of marijuana or less will receive a citation and pay fines. Those with more than 25 grams will face a Class A misdemeanor leading to a year of imprisonment.
Legal defenses against drug distribution and possession charges
Although each drug crime case is different, some legal defenses apply to most situations. For example, the evidence against you can be thrown out if it was acquired without a search warrant or probable cause. You can also challenge the case if the drugs were not in your possession at the time of your arrest. Finally, a qualifying medical condition allows you to use certain substances, such as marijuana. You may also have a prescription drug per your doctor’s orders.