Know the Law: On Drugs in NY

  Selling any amount of a narcotic drug - like cocaine or heroin - or possessing any amount with the intent to sell it, is a Class B felony under New York law.  It carries a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction of at least 1-3 years, up to 8 1/3 25 years. 

  The sale or possession with the intent to sell other controlled substances, like Ecstasy or LSD, is a Class D felony.  A person convicted of these crimes can be placed on probation, sent to county jail, or to state prison for up to 2 1/3 7 years for each offense.

  Sale or possession of marijuana is also a crime.  Possessing or selling even a small amount is a misdemeanor, and selling over 25 grams (which is a little less than an ounce) is a felony. 

  Possessing four ounces or more of a narcotic drug like cocaine or heroin or selling at least two ounces of it is punished as severely as Murder in this state.  It is a Class A1 felony, with a mandatory state prison sentence of at least 15 years to Life, up to 25 years to Life.

  The law also prohibits reducing an A1 felony Drug Felony Indictment more than one category.  Therefore, the lowest plea reduction permitted under the law is to an A2 Drug Felony, which carries mandatory prison of at least 3 years to Life, up to 8 1/3 to Life.

  The consequences of dealing in these drugs is very serious.  Your age does not matter much.  If you are 16 or over, you will be prosecuted as an adult in County Court.  Until your 19th birthday, it is possible but not required for the Judge to give you Youthful Offender Status so that you do not have a felony conviction.  

  If the crime is committed after your 19th birthday, however, you will live the rest of your life with a felony conviction.  New York does not have a procedure to expunge convictions later if you keep a clean record.

  Under New York law, it is a criminal sale to share or give away even small amounts of marijuana or other drugs.  It is not necessary that the "buyer" pay money for the drugs.  [Penal Law 220.00 - "sell."]

  If drugs are found in a car or truck, everyone in the vehicle can be arrested for possessing it.  [Penal Law 220.25 - "presumption."]

  Even if you are not using drugs yourself, if you hang out at a place with others for the purpose of using or possessing drugs, it is the crime of Loitering 1st Degree  [Penal Law 240.36].

  Anyone who lets others gather at their house for the purpose of using drugs or engaging in other illegal conduct can be arrested for Criminal Nuisance.  If you obtain a benefit from this unlawful conduct, such as receiving drugs or money, then the crime is a felony  [Penal Law 240.45 and 240.46].

Allowing someone under the age of 18 to be at a place where there is drug activity is the crime of Unlawfully Dealing with a Child 1st Degree [Penal Law 260.20].

  Knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to a child under 17 years old amounts to the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child [Penal Law 260.10].  Both this charge and Unlawfully Dealing can apply to someone who is 16 or 17 years old, as well as a parent, guardian or older adult.

   Learn the dangers of "club drugs" from the
National Institute on Drug Abuse