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220.43 Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree

New York law has a wide array of controlled substance laws. These laws prohibit possessing and selling certain substances. The offenses are divided into categories based on the maximum possible penalty for the offense. The most severe of the offenses for selling a controlled substance is criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree.

First-degree charges

Sale of drugs in the first degree in New York can happen in two ways: First, a person can sell one or more narcotic drugs or mixtures of narcotic drugs weighing two ounces or more. Second, a person can sell 2,880 milligrams or more of methadone. If a person sells a different controlled substance or a narcotic substance in lesser amounts, or has a glass bong/glass pipe, or an illegal THC E liquid the offense is a lesser degree charge. A first-degree conviction is a class A-I felony. A conviction for an A-I felony brings a sentence of many years in prison. The exact sentence depends on a number of factors, but a typical sentence can be as much as 25 years.

Preparing for your defense

When you’re facing charge as severe as a first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance charge, it’s important to take the matter seriously. A trial date can approach quickly, and there are important things that you need to do in order to prepare your defense. You have the right to a trial by jury, and it’s important to exercise that right when you’re facing such serious charges.

Possible defenses

There are multiple defenses that may be available to you when you’re facing a controlled substance charge. The exact defenses you may choose to raise depend on the details in your case. Here are some of the defenses you may want to use:

Fourth Amendment Violations

In both the U.S. Constitution and the New York State Constitution, you have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. It doesn’t matter what car you drive or what you like to wear. If the police stop you and search you, your home, property or vehicle without the proper authority, the court might throw out the evidence against you.

Entrapment

Just like the police can’t go around violating people’s constitutional rights, they also can’t set people up. While they can participate in stings to catch people who are already about to break a law, they can’t beg or entice someone to break the law. If they get overzealous or they want to catch someone that they have a personal grudge against, the entrapment defense may be available.

Mistake

Perhaps you didn’t meant to sell anything to anyone. Law enforcement may not understand what was about to take place or your intentions. To sell a controlled substance, you have to do so knowing what you’re doing. Anything less might amount to possession of a controlled substance but not unlawful sale. A mistake can also occur when the police misidentify a substance.

Mistaken identity

In some cases, the police can accuse the wrong person. Perhaps someone you know wants to set you up to take the blame for their own actions. A mistaken identity can lead to false charges against you for the sale of a controlled substance.

Choosing a course of action

In many cases, your best plan of attack is to prepare your case for trial. You should work with your attorney as soon as possible in order to defend yourself against every element of the charges. You can tell your story to the jury and ask for a not guilty verdict. In other cases, you may want to pursue a non-trial resolution and ask for a plea bargain. It’s best to review your case with an attorney as soon as possible and begin exploring your options.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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