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Seventh Degree Controlled Substance Possession

Drug Crimes Lawyers: Seventh Degree Controlled Substance Possession
The wording of the charge is “criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.” The meaning of the charge is being caught with any controlled substance except marijuana, which is covered under statutes of its own. Seventh degree is the lightest charge available or a misdemeanor. What are the facts about seventh degree controlled substance possession?

What Is Criminal Possession Of A Controlled Substance In The Seventh Degree?

The New York State Senate defines the charge as “knowingly and unlawfully possessing a controlled substance.” It goes on to say that the law will not be violated if a person is in possession of a hypodermic syringe or needle with traces of the substance in it. This is in compliance with Section 3381 of the Public Health Law which covers New York’s syringe pharmacy and doctor based programs.

A person will also not be in violation of this law if his or her possession is discovered in reply to a call for help for the person or a friend. This means the person or friend is in need of potentially life-saving measures. This is in compliance with paragraphs “a” and “b” of subdivision three of section 220.78 of the Penal Law.


Seventh degree is the lightest charge available for criminal possession of a controlled substance. It’s a Type A misdemeanor, that is, until the substance is found in more weight. It then becomes a Type D felony.

A controlled substance is one defined as being on any level addictive and encompassing every drug known to medicine as being addictive. This includes recreational drugs like crack as well as prescription drugs such as pain killers. A list of such substances may be found in schedules one through five of Section 3306 of the Public Health Law.

Criminal possession is defined as knowingly possessing in any manner including trace amounts an unlawful controlled substance.


A person is transporting a friend or family member to a medical facility. The friend or family member does a line of cocaine on the way to the facility. The cops pull the person over for a traffic infraction and find traces of the cocaine. The person can’t be prosecuted, because the person is delivering the friend or family member to a medical facility.

A person is caught by the police in violation of something and find a bottle of Percocet, for example. The medication is used for relieving the pain the person feels. The person can’t be charged for possession of a controlled substance, because the person has a doctor’s prescription for the controlled substance.

Alternatively, a person can be arrested for possession of a controlled substance if the substance is found in the home or automobile of the person. It doesn’t matter to the government that the substance belonged to someone visiting the home or riding in the auto. The person was caught in the proximity of a controlled substance. That’s enough for the government.


The penalty for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is imprisonment for up to one year, loss of the person’s driving license, and a fine of up to $1,000.

Alternatively, a person caught in such criminal possession might ask his or her lawyer if the drug courts are a viable solution to the problem. In this alternative to jail time, the person pleads guilty to the charges and agrees to a program in the drug courts in exchange for a sentence reduction.

In the drug courts, the person would undergo medical treatment and therapy as well as signing a contract agreeing to do this. The purpose is to educate people about drugs and addiction as well as to help those who are addicted but not violent to heal their drug addiction.


Obviously, we’re going to use the life threatening event defense in the case of a friend or family member of the person possessing a controlled substance, and the person is taking this friend or family member to a medical facility. We’ll also use the prescribed by a doctor defense.

We’ll also look into whether the investigating authorities made a mistake in charging the person with criminal possession. We would look into whether the controlled substance was actually in the person’s possession, or if the person was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There are other aspects of the law that can be used in such a defense. We’ll leave no stone unturned in studying the case’s details, the evidence, and how the aspects of the law can be applied to the case. Then we’ll work to alert the judge that the case should be dropped or that a lesser charge is the way to go. Contact Spodek Law Group at to tell us how we can help you.

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