New York state law prohibits the possession of all controlled substances without a prescription. However, the law does assess different penalties depending on whether you were discovered to be in possession of marijuana or another substance. You may be subject to jail or prison time and a fine if convicted of this crime. The severity of your sentence depends on the drug you were found with and the quantity.
Drug possession penalties
If you are convicted of possessing more than eight grams of a narcotic substance, you can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. You will also pay a fine of up to $100,000. If you’re convicted of marijuana possession, the penalties are a jail sentence of up to 15 days and a fine of no more than $250.
Elements of a drug possession charge
To obtain a conviction in a criminal case, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have violated state law. To prove that you are guilty of drug possession, it must be shown that you knowingly possessed a prohibited substance. There are several arguments that you might be able to use as part of your criminal defense strategy that might create sufficient doubt to get the case dropped or the charge reduced.
Defenses against the charge
Defenses against this charge include a lack of intent to violate the law or knowledge about what was on your person. The law also allows defendants under 16 to use their age as a defense. Finally, it may be possible to argue that you legally possessed a controlled substance or didn’t possess enough of it to violate state law.
If you are charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Casting doubt on the substance of the government’s case might result in evidence being suppressed, which may result in your case being dismissed. It may also create leverage to negotiate a favorable plea deal.