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NYC Drug Possession Penalties

January 6, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

The state of New York considers drug possession a serious crime. Penalties for possessing illegal drugs in the state can bring serious consequences. A good drug possession lawyer will be needed to minimize the danger to you if you are charged with drug possession. The earlier you involve your lawyer in the process the more fighting he or she will be able to do on your behalf.

Factors That Affect The Seriousness of Drug Charges

A number of factors exist that affect the severity of drug cases in New York state. Among these variables are:

  • The number of drugs possessed.
  • Any associated crimes.
  • The presence of a firearm.
  • The number of possession charges.

Police Operations

There are times when police will work a search warrant by using the telephone. These phone records can be retrieved at a later date if needed. It is also possible the person who is the target of the investigation is under surveillance. This is common after a person is convicted of drug possession for the first time.

A person who is convicted multiple times for drug possession will often become the target of a conspiracy investigation. This development will likely mean law enforcement believes the person or people they keep arresting is part of a larger criminal enterprise. In these cases, police officers are not looking for a single individual making one sale of an illegal drug. The target is multiple people who make many illicit drug sales. These are the cases often seen on television where a lot of drugs and money are retrieved from the locations being searched. Often there are homes, cars, jewelry, and large sums of money recovered during these investigations.

Drug Possession Penalties

There is a wide range of penalties possible for individuals facing drug possession charges in New York. A low-end misdemeanor possession charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. On the heavy end of the scale, a C felony conviction for drug possession can cost the offender multiple years of their life in state prison.

The Fallout From Convictions

A person arrested for drug possession in New York can avoid jail time if they agree to one or more alternative consequences. Probation, rehabilitation, and home monitors are all options, especially for individuals who have no prior arrests on their records. There are also opportunities for first offenders to have these arrests expunged from their records. This is important due to the prejudice sometimes experienced by individuals with criminal records.

Your attorney does not need to tell you that your ability to get a job, pursue an education, and live a generally happy and successful life will be compromised following a drug possession conviction. The perception will be that a person possessing, using, or selling drugs is a person that cannot be trusted.

Alternative and Diversionary Sentences

Diversionary programs are available to offenders of non-serious drug possession charges who opt for a program in lieu of incarceration. Volunteering for a diversionary program will not only help the individual avoid jail time, but will teach skills to prevent further offenses if the individual is serious about learning them.

You should reach out to your attorney early in the process to inquire about alternative programs if they interest you. This is especially true if you are battling a drug problem and need help sooner rather than later.

Possession Laws in New York

There is no such thing as a possession for personal use in the state of New York. All possession is a crime. Any person found to be in possession of an illegal drug in New York will be arrested. It does not matter if the possession consists of only one baggie or just a hit.

There is no difference in this rule with regard to prescription drugs. A person who is found to possess, consume, or sale a medication for which they do not possess a description will be arrested. This could be either a felony or a misdemeanor arrest.

There are no exceptions made due to the relationship shared with the owner of the prescription. Many people mistakenly believe they are not committing a crime if they reach into the medicine cabinet of their home and take a medicine that does not belong to them. Unfortunately, many people are forced to learn through an arrest how incorrect this presumption is.

How a Lawyer Can Help

The pressure of pending drug charges can be a cause of extreme stress. It is a good idea to contact a New York drug possession attorney so that the situation will not overwhelm you. A competent and compassionate attorney can make the road a little easier for you as they fight for your rights in a New York drug possession court.

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