What Are the Possible Penalties for Drug Possession in New York?

Bag of dope

Possession of a controlled substance in New York can carry with it serious penalties if convicted. When determining the possible penalties for drug possession in New York a number of factors are taken into account. If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in New York you should consult with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and provide you with specific advice. In the meantime, however, it may be beneficial to go over some general guidelines relating to penalties for drug possession in New York.

First, the State of New York basically divides "drugs" into two categories – marijuana and all other controlled substances. Consequently, the penalties for a conviction of possession of marijuana are generally much less severe than are those for possession of any other controlled substance. In fact, possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana is not even a criminal offense in New York, carrying with it only a fine for a conviction. Possession of 25 grams to 8 ounces is a misdemeanor, the punishment for which does not exceed a year in jail. Possession of more than 8 ounces becomes a felony in New York. The potential penalties for felony possession of marijuana carry with them maximum sentences of four to 15 years, depending on the amount involved.

For any other type of drug you can be charge with "criminal possession of a controlled substance" in New York. The type and amount of the drug will determine the degree, ranging from first degree to seventh degree with first degree being the most serious charge. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is a Class A misdemeanor while the same charge in the first degree is a Class A-1 felony.

The corresponding penalties for possession of a controlled substance range from up to a year in jail to 20 years in prison. To be charged with a first degree offense you must allegedly have been in possession of eight or more ounces of a narcotic or 5,760 milligrams of methadone. Other types of controlled substances, along with narcotics and methadone in lessor amounts, are charged as second degree through seventh degree offenses, depending on the quantity involved.

If you have been charged with possession of drugs in New York, it is important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin working on your defense.