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NY Penal Law § 220.41: Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree

June 24, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

NY Penal Law § 220.41: Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree

Under New York Penal Code § 220.41, you will have committed the crime of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree if you unlawfully possess drugs as follows:


  • Narcotics weighing at least .5 ounce,
  • Methamphetamine weighing at least .5 ounce,
  • A stimulant weighing at least 5 grams,
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide weighing at 5 milligrams,
  • A hallucinogen weighing at least 25 milligrams,
  • A hallucinogenic weighing at least 5 grams, or
  • Methadone weighing at least 360 milligrams



Someone tips the police off that a large amount of cocaine was being stored in a warehouse, and that the cocaine was to be distributed to several persons who were then supposed to sell it. The police set up a stake out of the warehouse. During the stake out, they observe a man enter the warehouse and leave again carrying a small package. They followed the man and later observed him hand the package to a woman in exchange for what appeared to be cash. Upon arresting both people in the observed exchange, the police found out that the package contained cocaine. If that package contained at least .5 ounces of cocaine, the man could face prosecution for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree.


Offenses that are Related

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 220.21

Operating as a major trafficker: New York Penal Law § 220.77

Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance: New York Penal Code § 220.65


Possible Defenses

Should you be arrested for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, a potential defense tactic would be to challenge the charge based on the amount of drugs found in the incident. For instance, if the police found methamphetamine on your person, but it weighed less than .5 ounce, then a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree would be invalid.


Another strong defense would be to attack the method the police employed to discover the drugs. For them  to conduct any search of a citizen, the police must have probable cause. If the search was deemed to have been unlawful, any evidence which the search produced, including illicit drugs, would be inadmissible in court and your case would have to be dismissed.


The Sentence

Because this is a class A-II felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree is among the most serious offenses in the New York Penal Code. What this means to you is that if you get convicted, you could spend your life behind bars and get slapped with a fine of up to $50,000. The minimum sentence is 3-8 years in prison for this offense. The actual sentence you receive will depend upon a number of factors, such as your prior criminal history.



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