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NY Penal Law § 22009 Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree

June 24, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

NY Penal Law § 220.09: Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree

Under New York Penal Code § 220.09, you will have committed the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree if you knowingly and unlawfully possess narcotics, a stimulant, methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, a hallucinogen, a hallucinogenic, ketamine, methadone, phencyclidine, or gamma hydroxybutyric acid. The statute necessitates that you possess a specified quantity of the drug in order to face prosecution under the criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree statute. If you possess an amount that is lower than the required amounts listed, you could still be prosecuted under criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth or seventh degree.


An Example

The police notice a car that is painted bright red, adorned with shiny, expensive rims and unusual detailing. The driver is not driving recklessly, speeding or committing any other traffic violation. Nonetheless, the vehicle appears suspicious to the police officer. The officer decides to pull the driver over and conducts a search of the vehicle. In the course of hte search, the officer finds several vials of cocaine in a bag under the driver’s seat. The man who was driving the car gets arrested and is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. In this case, there is a good chance that any charges against the man can be dismissed. This is because even though he was in possession of enough cocaine to face a criminal possession charge, the search of his car may be deemed to have been unlawful as the police officer may be able to demonstrate probable cause to stop the vehicle and search it.


Offenses that are Related

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

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

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


Possible Defenses

Should you be arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a posible defense is to bring the method the police used to find the drugs into question. New York law obligates police officers to be able to demonstrate probable cause before they can conduct a search. TIn other words, they must have a valid reason to suspect that you have committed a crime or they must have a search warrant. If the police conducted an unlawful search, anything which the search produced, including illegal narcotics, would be inadmissible in court.  Under these circumstances, your case would likely be dismissed.


The Sentence

Since criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree is categorized as a class C felony, if convicted, your possible prison sentence will be up to 15 years. The minimum sentence that the judge can hand you is either 3 1/2 or 7 years.  The minimum in your case depends on whether or not you have a prior felony conviction. You will also be required to pay a fine of as much as $15,000.



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