What Qualifies as Drug Possession in New York City? Maximum Penalties

What Qualifies as Drug Possession in New York City? Maximum Penalties

Dealing with a drug possession charge in New York City can be really overwhelming. Like, the legal system here has so many intricate laws around what counts as “possession” and the penalties can feel harsh. But there are good lawyers out there who can help explain it all. I wanted to give a quick rundown on what qualifies as drug possession in NYC, the maximum penalties, and your legal options.

What Counts as Drug Possession in New York City?

In New York, possession means having physical control over or the right to exercise control over a controlled substance. So if illegal drugs are found on you, in your home, car, locker, or bag, you can potentially be charged with criminal possession.Some key things that qualify as drug possession in NYC:

  • Having illegal drugs on your actual person
  • Storing drugs in your home, car, locker, backpack or other spaces
  • Being aware that someone has hidden illegal drugs in your personal spaces

Merely being in proximity to illegal drugs does NOT necessarily count as possession though. Like if your friend has drugs but you don’t know about it, you wouldn’t automatically get a possession charge.It’s also about having control over the drugs. So for example, if illegal drugs are found in common spaces of an apartment you share with roommates, you may not necessarily have possession – since you don’t have sole control over that space.But in practice it can get complicated when drugs are found in shared spaces. Prosecutors often pressure one person to take the blame as the “possessor”. An experienced drug crimes lawyer can argue why you don’t truly have control or possession.

Maximum Penalties for Drug Possession Charges

The maximum penalties for drug possession in New York City depend on:

  • The type and weight of the drug
  • Whether you have any prior convictions
  • Aggravating factors like possessing near a school

This table gives an overview of the maximum jail sentences for possessing common illegal drugs in New York:

Drug Type Max. Sentence
Marijuana 1 year
Cocaine 15 years
Methamphetamine 15 years
Heroin 15 years

So if it’s a first offense with a small amount of marijuana, you’d likely get no jail time or less than a year. But charges involving more serious drugs or repeat offenses can potentially lead to years in prison.Fines can also be imposed on top of incarceration time. For example, the max fine for possessing a controlled substance in New York is $100,000 for large quantities.

Getting Legal Help for Drug Possession Charges

If you’re dealing with a drug possession arrest in NYC, don’t go through it alone. Connect with a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in drug crimes. They can argue why you didn’t truly “possess” anything or try to get charges reduced or dismissed.Here are some options to find legal help:

Don’t wait to connect with a lawyer – act fast! An experienced drug crimes attorney can advise your legal options and start building a strong defense.I hope this gives a helpful starting point for understanding drug possession laws in NYC. Let me know if any other questions come up!