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New York Drug Attorney

Defense Against Possession, Sales, Distribution & Manufacturing Charges

Drug-related offenses are some of the most common crimes in New York City and throughout the state. These crimes involve the illegal possession, cultivation, sales, distribution, transportation, and manufacturing of certain controlled substances, which are regulated by the government. Some controlled substances, such as cocaine, are completely illegal to possess or manufacture. Others, such as prescription drugs, are legal in certain circumstances. If you are facing charges for drug crimes in New York City or Queens, you need a strong advocate on your side to defend your freedom and protect your rights.

At Musa-Obregon Law PC, our NYC drug lawyers take an aggressive stance in defending clients facing all types of drug crime offenses in state, federal, and juvenile court, including:

Contact the New York City drug crime lawyer from Musa-Obregon Law PC at (888) 502-8461 today to request a free and confidential consultation.

We represent clients throughout New York, including both Westchester and Rockland County, as well as The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.

Penalties for Drug Crimes in New York

The specific penalties a defendant may face for a drug crime will vary depending on four primary factors:

  • The type of drug
  • The amount of drug
  • The nature of the offense
  • The defendant's criminal record, if any

Enhanced penalties and even mandatory jail or prison time may apply if large quantities of a controlled substance are discovered. When law enforcement finds a significant amount of one or more controlled substances during a search, this may also lead to distribution or trafficking charges instead of simple possession. In addition to incarceration, a drug crime conviction can also lead to fines reaching into the thousands of dollars as well as a criminal record that may harm your reputation and future prospects.

New York Five Drug Schedules of Controlled Substances

Drugs are classified under state and federal law according to their tendency to lead to abuse, their medicinal value (if any), and their perceived danger to those who take them. According to the New York State Controlled Substances Act, there are five schedules of controlled substances. The most dangerous are classified as Schedule I substances, with Schedule V drugs being the least serious. The most severe penalties will apply to Schedule I drugs, such as heroin, peyote, and ecstasy.

Drug Crimes Charged as Felonies in New York

Possession with the intent to distribute, distribution, manufacturing and trafficking are serious drug crimes that are often charged as felonies, and under New York drug laws, a defendant may face a mandatory prison sentence and heavy fines. First time, non-violent offenders may qualify for alternative sentencing in the form of treatment or rehabilitation in lieu of jail time.

Felony drug crimes fall under the following classifications:

  • Class A-I felony: Includes operating as a major trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree.
  • Class A-II felony: Includes criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree
  • Class B felony: Includes criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree
  • Class C felony: Includes criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance and criminal possession or sale of marijuana in the first degree
  • Class D felony: Includes criminal possession or sale of marijuana in the second degree, criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, and criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree
  • Class E felony: Includes criminal possession or sale of marijuana in the third degree, criminal injection of a narcotic drug, and criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances

What Can Turn a Drug Crime into a Federal Drug Crime in NY?

  • If drugs were distributed to anyone under 21 years of age
  • If firearms were found to be connected to your drug charges
  • If a prior felony exists on your criminal record
  • If you recruited anyone under 18 years of age to help you in dealing drugs
  • If the drugs were dealt near school premises
  • If anyone was injured or killed as a result of the drugs dealt

Drug Crimes That Can Increase to a Federal Offense

  • Possession: To be elevated to a federal crime, the government must show that you had enough of the drugs to warrant use or sale, that you did not have a valid prescription, and that you had knowledge of or intentionally possessed the controlled substances.
  • Distribution and/or Trafficking: Providing, selling or delivering controlled substances falls under the category of distribution. The actual distribution or sale of these substances is considered trafficking.
  • Cultivation or Manufacturing: Growing, producing or in possession of illegal controlled substances is referred to as cultivation. Manufacturing involves the use of chemical processes to create controlled substances. Typically these charges are related to crystal meth, LSD and cocaine.

Frequently Asked Drug Crime Questions: NYC Drug Laws

At Musa-Obregon Law PC, our New York City drug crime lawyers are committed to results-driven, client-centered legal representation. Being charged with a crime, especially drug crimes, can change everything about one’s life and make future prospects seem unattainable.

Familiarizing yourself with the law and your legal rights can offer you better perspective. You have the right to fight and defend yourself. You may have a better idea of what you may be up against during the criminal trial process from our frequently asked questions below.

What do I do if I was arrested for possession with intent to sell?

24 hours after you are arrested, you will have an arraignment. During that time, you are formally charged with a crime. You will be advised of your rights and given a chance to enter a plea. We strongly advise enlisting a New York City drug crime attorney at this point. We would never recommend entering a plea of guilty in such cases. You should have the chance to understand the repercussions and fight beforehand.

Will I have to go to jail? How long is the sentence?

Possessing even the smallest amount can lead to severe punishments. However, most of the time, New York drug possession charges are hardly ever given the maximum sentence. For a first-time offender in possession of a small quantity, the courts can usually grant some leniency. As always, having skilled New York City drug crime attorney can reduce the severity of the charges—and even get them dropped altogether.

  • Class A-1 felony possession (8 or more ounces of narcotic drugs): 8 to 20 years in prison, $100, 000 fine
  • Class B through E: 1-year minimum or maximum 1.5 to 9 years in prison, $15, 000 to $30, 000 fine

What happens if I refuse a chemical test?

In New York state, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test to determine the level of drugs in your system if an officer has reasonable cause to do so. If not, you may have your driving privileges revoked, and you will have to attend a formal hearing with the DMV so that you can retain this right. You only have 15 days to schedule this hearing after an arrest. This process is entirely different from a criminal trial, however, so if you do lose your right to drive during the hearing, you must wait for the outcome of your trial. If convicted, you cannot apply for the conditional license at least one year.

What are the penalties for marijuana?

Marijuana usage is illegal in New York state. However, most of the accused rarely receive the maximum punishment. For a first-time offender, smoking marijuana in one’s home or another private, secluded area, a first-time offender may only need to pay a $100. The penalties may enhance for subsequent offenses. Smoking marijuana in a public area, on the other hand, is considered a misdemeanor and one may have to serve a jail sentence of up to 6 months.

If this is your first offense, you may be able to have your case heard in a Marijuana Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (MACD). This can help you avoid being charged, so long as you avoid another arrest within the next year.

How can you defend my charges?

Musa-Obregon Law PC is home to experienced New York City drug crime attorneys with a widely respected reputation for vigorous representation. The key part of combatting a drug crime charge, or any criminal offense for that matter. Your particular defense will depend immensely on the specifics of your case. For example, did the officer have enough reasonable cause to arrest you?

What if you had no idea that the drugs were in your possession or the officer used an underhanded tactic to discover the drugs? As former prosecutors, we know what happens during every step of the criminal trial process. We can find a way to identify weaknesses in the evidence and use that as an argument in your favor.

Call Musa-Obregon Law PC for a Free Case Evaluation

If you have been arrested and are facing drug charges, all is not lost. Search and seizure violations or other errors or infringements upon your constitutional rights may pave the way for a successful defense against possession, distribution, or even trafficking charges.

It takes a legal team that has the resources to investigate your case and the dedication to build the most compelling defense on your behalf, in spite of what seems to be an "open and shut" case to the prosecution. With 100 years of collective legal experience, the attorneys at Musa-Obregon Law PC are ready to fight for you. Get your free initial case evaluation with our highly experienced Queens drug crime attorneys today.

Facing charges for a drug crime? Find out more about your legal rights - contact a Queens drug crimes lawyer today at (888) 502-8461.

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