24 Jun 20

NY Penal Law § 22003 Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree

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Last Updated on: 13th August 2023, 05:59 pm

NY Penal Law § 220.03: Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree

One of the least serious drug crimes isCriminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is. This crime is a misdemeanor. Under New York Penal Code § 220.03, you will have committed this crime if you knowingly and unlawfully possess a controlled substance. The prosecutor will charge you with this offense in the vent that the quantity of drugs you possess is not enough to be able to convict you of a felony drug possession charge. If, for example, you injected yourself or someone else with heroin leaving only a trace amount of the heroin behind in the hypodermic needle, the prosecutor could charge you with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.


An Example

Several individuals are gathered in a woman’s apartment smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine. One of the woman’s friends begins to have a seizure and then passes out. The woman gets nervous and calls 911. Paramedics and the police arrive at the apartment and give the friend the necessary medical assistance. While in the apartment, the police notice traces of cocaine on a table where the friends were congregated. Although the woman possessed cocaine in her home, she could not be charged or prosecuted for possession, because the only reason the police had an opportunity to discover the cocaine was because the woman called for emergency medical services to assist her friend.


Offenses that are Related

Criminal Injection of a Narcotic Drug: New York Penal Law § 220.48

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 220.34

Criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument: New York Penal Law § 220.45


Possible Defenses

The provisions of the statute give rise to 2 important defenses to this crime:


Should the controlled substance in question be a residual amount in a hypodermic needle that you lawfully possess pursuant to the provisions of New York Public Health Law § 3381, you cannot be prosecuted for criminal possession.


In the event that the police discover that you are in unlawful possession of a controlled substance simply because they gained access to your premises after you called for medical assistance for someone who overdosed or had some other type of medical emergency, you cannot be prosecuted under this statute.


The Sentence

Due to the fact that criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is a class A misdemeanor, if you get convicted, you could get a sentence of up to 1 year in jail. Your sentence could also include a 3 year probation term. For the purpose of determining your sentence, the judge will take several factors into consideration.  These factors include the crime committed, the details of the crime, your criminal history and your personal background. If you are a first time offender, then your sentence will be a lot less severe than if you have a criminal history.