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NY Penal Law § 22043 Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree

June 24, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

NY Penal Law § 220.43: Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree

Thirteen of the 29 controlled substances crimes and 10 marijuana crimes in the New York Penal Code relate to the sale of controlled substances or the sale of marijuana. Three of the 5 class A felonies related to drug crimes involve selling drugs.  You would have committed a class A-I felony under New York Penal Code § 220.43, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree, if you sell a large amount of narcotics. More specifically, to be prosecuted under this section, the amount of drugs involved must be:


2 ounces or more of a narcotic

2,880 milligrams or more of methadone


Some Examples

police officers enter a man’s home pursuant to a search warrant,. They find the man inside with several other people in a room.  Police also discover several glassine envelopes of heroin and a significant amount of cash. On the basis of what was discovered, it was clear that the man was in the process of selling the other people in the house a large amount of heroin. If the total amount of the heroin discovered was at least 2 ounces, then the man could be looking at a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree.


Offenses that are Related

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

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


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. If the drug they found is a narcotic and the amount is less than 2 ounces, or if they found methadone and the weight of it is lower than 2,880 milligrams, then a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first 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.



Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree is among the most serious crimes in the New York Penal Codes. The offense is a class A-1 felony. What this means to you is that if you get convicted you could spend the rest of your life behind bars. The minimum sentence for this crime is 15-40 years. You could even be ordered to pay a fine of up to $100,000 on top of the jail time. 



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