While New York drug laws have definitely changed in recent years, they are not as lenient or liberal as people might expect. Many people still get arrested for drug offenses every year in New York, and the people prosecuted for drug crimes may face penalties ranging from fines and probation to a lengthy period of incarceration.
Prosecutors may bring multiple different types of charges against those suspected of inappropriate conduct with prohibited or controlled substances. Possession and distribution or sales offenses are among the most common drug crimes prosecuted in New York. What are the possible penalties if someone pleads guilty or gets convicted at trial?
There are many different potential charges and penalties
Prosecutors and judges consider many unique details when deciding what charges to pursue against someone for a drug offense and what penalties to impose. Factors that influence the severity of penalties include someone’s prior criminal record, the types of drugs involved, the amount of drugs involved and whether the offense involves simple possessions or the distribution of those drugs to others.
Those accused of a low-level possession offense may face Class A misdemeanor charges. The penalties possible after a conviction or guilty plea for a 7th-degree possession offense could include up to a year in prison and $1,000 in fines.
More serious offenses, including possession of multiple grams of different drugs or precursors for the manufacturing of drugs like methamphetamine, can lead to felony charges. The most severe possession charge involves possession of eight ounces of a preparation containing a narcotic or 5,760 ounces of methadone is a Class A-I felony that could result in between eight and 20 years in prison and a shocking $100,000 in fines.
Selling or distributing controlled or prohibited drugs in New York usually results in felony charges. Even a 5th-degree offense for selling a controlled substance could lead to Class D felony charges that carry up to 2.5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. A 1st-degree offense involving the transfer of at least two ounces of a preparation that contains a narcotic drug or 2,880 milligrams of methadone is a Class A-I felony with the same possible penalties outlined above.
Anyone accused of a New York drug offense needs to prepare a thorough strategy for responding to those accusations. Understanding possible penalties, and seeking legal guidance to avoid them if possible, may help people better manage the fallout of pending drug-related charges in New York.