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220.5 Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree

Drug crimes and offenses take many forms. Due to the serious dangers the illegal use and sale of drugs present to the public, offenses that do not involve actual possession of controlled substances rank as state-level crimes. In the state of New York, any person who possesses or sells certain paraphernalia can be charged with a crime. Specifically, he/she may be charged under New York Penal Code S 220.50. This stature addresses “criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree.”

The statute notes three different categories in which a person could be charged under these provisions. Any violation of the statute in any manner may not only lead to arrest and conviction but also to all the troubles associated with a permanent drug-related conviction on a record.

Diluents, Dilutants or Adulterants

The possession or sale of agents commonly known to be used to thin, dilute, change, or contaminate illegal drugs can lead to an arrest. Various diluting and adultering substances fit this description. Mannitol is a sweetener found in products intended for those who suffer from diabetes. Mannitol is also used when cutting cocaine. The sugar called dextrose may be employed in the cutting of heroin. Possessing either of these and other substances, in certain situations, may lead to a charge of second-degree drug paraphernalia.

The key issue with the possession of otherwise legal substances would be the intent. Does it appear based on the situation that a person is or may use the agent to dilute or alter a controlled substance? If so, then the individual may be arrested and charged under this statute.

Possession of Items for Drug Packaging

In their raw form, many narcotics and stimulates require packaging. Powder or liquid forms of illegal drugs may need to be placed inside of gelatine capsules or glass vials. Certain drugs are commonly sold when placed in baggies. Possessing these packaging items may be more than enough to charge someone with a crime.

As with the previous category, intent plays a major role in whether or not someone can be credibly charged. The possession of small plastic bags combined with the intent to package and distribute illegal drugs would be sufficient for a credible arrest. Circumstances play a role in establishing credibility. A person carrying several empty capsules and tiny clear plastic glassine envelopes in a neighborhood known for significant drug activity probably would face arrest upon discovery of the paraphernalia.

Possession of Weighing and Measuring Instruments

Drugs are placed on scales and measuring devices for several different purposes. Drugs sold by the gram do need to appropriately weighed. Particular formulas for cutting rely on measuring both the illegal drug and the diluting agent. If the police were to discover scales and measuring devices inside a home and felt there was reasonable intent to use the weighing and measuring instruments for a drug-related activity, those in possession of the instruments face arrest.

The Misdemeanor Charge

In comparison to other drug crimes, criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree does not come with severe penalties. Specifically, this offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Jail time is possible. The courts have the option of sentencing a convicted person to up to one year in jail or to three years of probation. A fine of up to $1,000 or twice the individual’s gain can be levied as well.

The Issue of Illegality

Again, intent plays a role in whether or not someone can be charged with the crime. A person purchasing a sugar substitute at a grocery store cannot automatically be charged with a crime without any supporting evidence of intent.

No matter what the circumstances of an arrest may be, anyone facing charges should hire a criminal defense attorney who knows what steps to take.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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