What do I Need to Know About New York’s Drug Laws?



    The state of New York holds certain laws regarding drugs that can result in severe consequences if they are violated. These consequences can vary depending on the circumstances of the crime that was committed. Regardless, they have the potential to impact a person for the rest of their life. Individuals who are facing drug crime charges in the state of New York should retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight for their future.

    What is Federal Drug Scheduling?

    In order to determine the consequences of drug crimes in New York, the state categorizes drugs in accordance with Federal Drug Scheduling. This is based on the drug’s degree of danger posed by their abuse. The schedule is as follows: 

    • Schedule I: These drugs have a high potential for abuse with either no accepted medical use or lack of safe use under medical supervision. Examples can include certain opiates and heroin. 
    • Schedule II: These drugs have a high potential for abuse but have some accepted medical uses, with restrictions. This can include certain opiates as well as drugs produced with coca leaves or extractions not containing cocaine.
    • Schedules III through V: These drugs have a lesser potential for abuse than Schedule I and II drugs, although usage can have a degree of physical or psychological dependence. Schedule III can include amphetamines while Schedule V drugs can include a limited quantity of narcotic drugs such as codeine combined with non-narcotic substances.

    How Can I be Convicted of a Drug Crime?

    In order to be convicted for possession of a controlled substance, prosecutors are required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

    • The substance was a controlled substance
    • The defendant was in possession of the substance
    • Their possession was knowing
    • The possession was unlawful

    It is important to note that possession may occur in two ways: physical or constructive. Constructive possession occurs when the defendant had control over the person or place where the drugs were found. This can be proved even if they are not physically present when the drugs are found.

    What are the Penalties of Marijuana Possession in New York?

    Recently, marijuana was decriminalized in the state of New York. Individuals who are found in possession of under one ounce of marijuana can face a $50 fine as their penalty. This is regardless of their criminal history for possession.Individuals who are found in possession of anywhere between one and two ounces can be subject to a $200 fine, regardless of their criminal history for possession.

    Contact our Firm

    Criminal matters can change the course of your life forever. This is why you need an experienced attorney who will aggressively combat your charges to help mitigate their long-term effects. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for a criminal defense matter on Long Island or throughout New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We would be happy to assist you.

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