The Legal Definition of Criminal Sale to a Child
This category of criminal offenses is governed by New York Penal Law 220.48, and it is officially called criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child. The law states that a person is guilty of this offense when they are over the age of 21 years old and knowingly and unlawfully sells a controlled substance to someone under the age of 17. Keep in mind that the “knowingly” part of the law refers to knowingly selling a substance that is controlled, not to knowing the age of the child. You can be convicted of it even if you were not aware the person was under 17. The city defines selling as any act of selling, exchanging, giving, offering to sell, or promising to sell a controlled substance to someone. The selling is unlawful if you are not someone with a legal right to sell the substance, such as a pharmacist responding to a prescription. There are a variety of things that can count as a controlled substance, including narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, and more.
The Legal Consequences of a Criminal Sale to a Child Conviction
Those who are convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child are guilty of a class B felony. As a class B felony, you can expect severe consequences. Those who have never been convicted of a felony before usually get at least five years in prison, and those who have been convicted of past felonies typically get at least 10. There is a maximum sentencing limit of 25 years. It is also possible for an initial charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance to result in further related charges, such as child endangerment, depending on the situation. Exact sentencing is decided by the courts on a case by case basis. Things like the type of drugs sold, the amount of drugs on the defendant when arrested, or the age of the child involved can affect how heavy of a sentence a person gets. In addition to prison, you may also face other legal consequences, including fines of up to $30,000, probationary periods, and restitution payments towards victims.
Defending Yourself From Criminal Sale to a Child Charges
To convict you of a criminal sale to a child charge, the prosecution must prove that you sold a controlled substance to a person knowingly and unlawfully, that you were over 21 at the time of selling the substance, and that the person who received the substance was less than 17 years old. Defending yourself from these charges will typically rely on you and your lawyer proving that one or more of the requirements for conviction were not met. Some common defenses include:
- The substance you sold does not actually qualify as a controlled substance.
- You were not the person involved in the sale.
- You did not sell, give, or offer to give the substance to the minor.
- You were not aware that the substance you were selling was a controlled substance.
- You actually sold the substance to another party who was not under the age of 17.
- The sale took place at a time where you were not over 21 or the buyer was not under 17.
Your lawyer may also look into the circumstances surrounding your arrest, since unconstitutional searches or interrogation techniques may let you get the case thrown out. Every criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child case is unique, so you will need to discuss your case with a lawyer to get a better idea of how to best handle your defense.
Since criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child is such a serious event, it is important to have a lawyer you can trust on your side. At Spodek Law Group, our talented team has plenty of experience handling these sorts of cases. Call us at 888-729-7065 to schedule your free consultation today.