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NY Penal Law § 22016 Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree

June 24, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

NY Penal Law § 220.16: Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree

Under New York Penal Code § 220.16, you will have committed the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree if you knowingly and unlawfully possess drugs narcotics or specified quantities of other specific types of controlled substances with the intent to sell. You will also be looking at a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree if you possess specified amounts of the same controlled substances. For the latter charge, no intent to sell is required. To face prosecution for this offense, it is not necessary that the police discover the drugs on your person. Finding them in your car, your home or some other place that you controlled would be sufficient to press charges and build a case against you. Nonetheless, it is necessary that they can demonstrate that you knew about the drugs.


For Example

The police notice a vehicle moving above the speed limit and they pull the driver over. The man who is driving the car has a suspended license and outstanding traffic violations. Upon searching the man’s car, the police find several packets of meth. The police subsequently arrest the man for possession of a controlled substance. If the quantity meth found in the search meets the requirements of the statute, the man could be facing prosecution for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.


Offenses that are Related

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 220.39

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

If you have been arrested and are facing a charge for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, you can challenge the charge on the basis of the quantity of narcotics found in the incident. If the amount of the narcotic is lower than the amount required by the statute, the prosecutor will have no option but to drop the charge against you.


Another plausible defense would attack the strategy the police used to discover the drugs. In order to conduct a search, the police need to have probable cause. If the search can be deemed unlawful, anything which the search produces, including narcotics, would be inadmissible in court and your case would likely be dismissed.


The Sentence

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is categorized as a class B felony. What this means to you is that if you are convicted, you will be sentenced to up to 25 years behind bars. If you have no prior felony convictions on your record, then the minimum prison sentence is 5 years.  On the other hand, if you have a prior conviction the minimum prison sentence is 10 years. On top of that, you may be required to pay a fine of up to $30,000.



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