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220.39 Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree

New York has several laws that prohibit selling drugs unlawfully. One of these laws is New York penal law 220.39. It prohibits the criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. This a serious felony that falls in the middle of New York’s five classifications of sale of drug offenses.

Classifications of drug offenses

New York law attaches varying penalties based on a number of factors present in the offense. The goal is to make the severity of the punishment fit the crime. The worst offenses are first-degree offenses. The least-severe offenses for the sale of drugs are fifth-degree offenses. That makes third-degree sale of a controlled substance offenses middle of the pack when it comes to the severity of the offense.

However, all sale of drug offenses are serious felonies. A conviction in the third degree is a class B felony. A third-degree sale is classified as a non-violent felony, but the offense can still bring up to 25 years in prison. There are also mandatory minimum sentences for a class B non-violent offender, so a person facing a third-degree controlled substance sale charge should know that they’re looking at significant incarceration if they’re convicted as charged.

Specifics of the charges

There are multiple ways that a drug sale might amount to sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. The sale of any narcotic drug falls into this category. If you have a prior conviction and you sell a hallucinogen or stimulant, it’s a third-degree offense. Even without a prior offense, a sale of a stimulant can be a third-degree offense if you sell one gram or more of it. A hallucinogen sale of twenty-five milligrams or more is a a third-degree offense without a prior conviction. There are other compounds and substances that also fall into this category. Finally, selling a narcotic preparation to anyone under 21 also falls into the third-degree category.

Other possible penalties

When you’re facing a third-degree drug sale charge, significant jail time is likely your biggest concern. In addition, you likely have to pay a significant fine. Criminal forfeiture laws may also be a problem for you. Forfeiture can come into play when the state tries to take property that they say you use in order to help you commit crimes. Forfeiture demands require the state to take certain steps in order to bring a proper demand. You have the right to a hearingon the matter. In addition to these penalties, the court may also place you on probation or parole.

Defending yourself against sale of drug charges

There are multiple ways that you might go about defending yourself against drug sale charges. You might tell the jury that you didn’t knowingly sell the drugs. You might claim that it was all a misunderstanding. You might also disagree with the state about the identification or the quantity of what you sold. In addition, you might disagree that you ever intended to sell anything. You might also consider defending yourself against the charges on constitutional grounds.

You may consider participation in one of New York’s problem solving courts. Drug court is a court that aims to help offenders stop abusing substances and become productive contributors to society. Participating in a drug court may take some work if you’re facing a serious, third-offense charge, but you may be able to work with your attorney in order to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for your participation in the program. If you’re facing charges, it’s important to evaluate the case from every direction in order to determine the best possible defenses.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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