JOHN PAUL DEVERNA IS A FORMER NARCOTICS PROSECUTOR
New York State takes drug cases seriously, and so should you.
If you or a loved one is facing charges, contact DeVerna Law as soon as possible.
THE CONSEQUENCES ARE SEVERE
A conviction for even a misdemeanor drug offense means more than just having a criminal record. The additional penalties may include:
Incarceration (jail) for up to one year
Probation for up to three years
Substantial fine of up to $1000
Seizure and Forfeiture of real and personal property
Seizure and Forfeiture of real and personal property thought to be acquired by committing such offense
The penalties for a felony conviction are much greater.
The information below is general information meant for educational purposes. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any person who views it. If you think you need personalized legal assistance, always speak with a qualified attorney.
JUMP TO FIND OUT...
REMEMBER: The information below is general information meant for educational purposes. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any person who views it. If you think you need personalized legal assistance, always speak with a qualified attorney.
1. WHAT ARE DRUG CRIMES?
A drug crime can be described as a state or federal crime that involves the illegal possession or sale of a substance that is regulated by the government. These include marihuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, MDMA, and prescription drugs.
2. WHAT SECTIONS OF THE LAW DEAL WITH DRUG CASES?
The majority of drug arrests prosecuted in New York are prosecuted under one of two sections of the Penal Law, Articles 220 and 221. The charges a person faces are decided on things like:
What was the substance the person is alleged to have had;
How much of that substance they had;
What they did or attempted to do with it; and
Where they were doing it.
3. CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
PL 220.03, 220.06, 220.09, 2210.16, 220.18, 220.21
These sections under Article 220 of the New York State Penal Law concern Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. They range from a Class A Misdemeanor offense to an A-I Felony offense.
Most of the charges are distinguished by the amount of controlled substance possessed, while others are distinguished by what the prosecutor believes the possessor intended to do with them. For example, someone may be charged with intending to sell the controlled substance. Whether a person is charged with an "intent to sell" crime, the circumstances leading to arrest, amount, packaging, and other factors play into the consideration.
4. CRIMINAL SALE OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
PL. 220.31, 220.34, 220.39, 220.41, 220.43, 220.44, 220.48
These sections under Article 220 of the New York State Penal Law concern Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance. They range from a Class D Felony offense to a Class A-I felony offense.
The majority of the charges are distinguished by amount of controlled substance alleged to have been sold. The law does not require an exchange of money for product in a sale case; simply giving someone a controlled substance can be considered a sale.
5. POSSESSION OF MARIHUANA
PL 221.05, 221.10, 221.15, 221.20, 221.25, 221.30, 221
These sections under Article 221 of the New York State Penal Law concern Possession of Marihuana. The offenses range from a Violation to Class C Felony Offense.
6. CRIMINAL SALE OF MARIHUANA
PL 221.35, 221.40, 221.45, 221.50, 221.55
These sections under Article 221 of the New York State Penal Law concern Sale of Marihuana. The offenses range from Class B Misdemeanor offenses to Class C Felony.
7. HOW DOES THE STATE VIEW A PARTICULAR DRUG?
How the law views a particular substance and how it is prosecuted depends upon many things including what is the alleged substance at issue.
The majority of classification for a particular drug can be found in the Public Health Law. What constitutes a controlled substance, narcotic drug, stimulate, depressant, or other type of drug is dictated by section 3306 of the Public Health Law. What constitutes Marihuana, other than concentrated marihuana, is defined in section 3302 of the Public Health Law
8. WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON DRUG PROSECUTIONS?
Any drug crime is going to be treated seriously by the prosecutor, but the crimes most often prosecuted in NY State Court involve controlled substances (e.g., heroin, cocaine, ecstasy) and marihuana Crimes (e.g., marihuana, marijuana, pot, weed, cannabis). The majority of drug arrests, however, are for marihuana.
9. ARE ALL DRUG ARRESTS THE SAME?
Each drug case is different and will have varying degrees of complexity. An arrest can be the result of an unplanned street arrest where the arresting officer simply recovers an illegal substance he observes to a "take-down" where an arrest is made and search warrants are executed after months of surveillance that includes the use of confidential informants, undercover police officers, and telephone wire-taps.
Conspiracy has been termed the "darling of the prosecutor's nursery." When charged, it does not require the prosecutor to prove that a crime was committed. Instead, the prosecutor simply has to prove that (1) an agreement was made between (at least) two people to commit an unlawful act and (2) an overt act was done in furtherance of that agreement.
The prosecutor does not need to prove that the different individuals in the conspiracy knew each other, nor does he have to prove they ever met. Simply, if he proves the above and can also prove the individuals knew or should have known that their actions would contribute to some illegality (even if the act itself was legal) then the person is guilty of Conspiracy.