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NY Penal Law § 22018 Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree

June 24, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

NY Penal Law § 220.18: Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree

Under New York Penal Code § 220.18, you will have committed the offense of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree if you are knowingly and unlawfully in possession of drugs as follows:


  • Narcotics weighing at least 4 ounces,
  • Methamphetamine weighing at least 2 ounces,
  • A stimulant weighing at least 10 grams,
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide weighing at least twenty-five milligrams,
  • A hallucinogen weighing at least 625 milligrams,
  • A hallucinogenic weighing at least 25 grams, or
  • Methadone weighing at least 2,880 milligrams


Contrary to the common understanding of drug crimes, it is not necessary that the police find the drugs on your person to come under prosecution for this offense. It would be sufficient that they find them in  a search of your car, your home or some other location that you have control over. That said, it is necessary that you were aware about the drugs.


For Example

Several people tipped the police off that a certain man had cocaine in his home. Upon execution of a search warrant, the police found cocaine in a shoebox in the basement of the man’s home. The man denied any knowledge of the cocaine being there. While prosecuting the man for criminal possession of a controlled substance, the prosecutor is obligated to prove that the man had knowledge that the cocaine was in his home.


Offenses that are Related

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

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


Possible Defenses

If you get arrested on the charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree, you could challenge that charge on the basis of the amount of drugs found.  As you can see above, the statute has very specific requirements with respect of the amount of the each drug necessary to have committed the crime.


A common defence is to attack the method the police employed to find the drugs. In order to carry out a search, the police must have probable cause. If the search is proven to have been unlawful, anything that the search produced, including drugs, would be inadmissible in court and your case would more than like have to be dismissed.


If no drugs were found on your person, another potential defense strategy would be to demonstrate that the drugs belonged to another person and that you were completely oblivious of their existence.


The Sentence

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree is a class A-II felony. It is one of the most heinous crimes in the New York Penal Code.  What this means is that if you are convicted, you could be looking at a sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The minimum sentence for this offense is 3-8 years in prison. Your final sentence term will depend upon various factors, including your prior criminal history.



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