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220.16 Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree

The State of New York has enacted several laws to help control the consumption of drugs by its citizens. These laws are meant to punish those who are found culpable of illegal possession and sale of controlled drugs. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is one the charges you could face. It is a violation of Article 220.16 of the New York Penal Code which states that a person may be charged if he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance.

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree

Criminal possession of a controlled substance to the third degree is a class B felony. You are guilty of this crime if you knowingly and unlawfully possess a narcotic drug or a stimulant with an intention to sell it. The narcotic and stimulant should have a weight of one milligram or more.

You can also be charged if you possess a lysergic acid diethylamide weighing one milligram or more or a hallucinogen bearing the same weight. You can also be charged if you have one or more compounds or preparations containing narcotic drugs. The preparations must weight 0.5 ounces and above.

Example

A popular grocery store manager in Manhattan recently received a phone call from one of his old friends. The two quickly set a date where they would meet and catch up on each other. When they met, his friend told him about a new business opportunity he was pursuing. Upon inquiring, the manager found out that his friend was keeping drugs and selling them to street gangs in Manhattan. He quickly tipped the police who tracked the friend and conducted a search in his house. The police found rolls of cannabis and heroin wrapped nicely in a paper. In this case, the friend could be charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree if the weight of the drugs exceeds one milligram.

Penalties

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is a class B felony. This means it attracts serious penalties, including a maximum of nine years in prison and a fine not exceeding $30,000. If you are lucky enough, you may serve only one year in prison or pay a fine not exceeding $1,000. If you have a criminal history, the sentence may be worse. You may be given a prison sentence of up to 25 years or a fine of up to $100, 0000.

Defending Yourself

Since the charges associated with criminal possession of a controlled substance to the third degree are serious, it is very important you explore all the defenses available. You can check to see whether the police followed the due diligence when obtaining evidence for the case. Make sure that they can actually prove that you indeed had possession of the drugs highlighted in the charge sheet and that you knew you had them. If you never knew about the drugs, the judges might consider your plea and rule in your favor.

You can also create a defense based on how the police behaved when they searched your property. The police are supposed to follow the constitution when executing arrests and gathering evidence. If they stormed your house and conducted a search without a warrant or valid reason, then the judges might consider their behavior a violation of the constitution, and your case might be thrown out altogether.

Get a Good Attorney

You need to get a good criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. A good lawyer should be able to gather enough evidence, present his arguments articulately and convince the jury to rule in your favor.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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