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220.55 Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree

New York Penal Code § 220.55: Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the First Degree
In New York, it is illegal to possess or sell illegal drugs, and the possession of drug paraphernalia is also against the law. New York has two laws in place that are related to the use of drug paraphernalia, which include criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first and second degree. According to New York Penal Code 220.55, to be convicted of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, an individual must have a past conviction of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. For an individual to be charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt an individual possessed or sold:

  • Diluents
  • Pipes
  • Miniture spoons
  • Roach clips
  • Cigarette papers
  • adulterants
  • Scales and balances that are used to weigh or measure a controlled substance
  • Vials, capsules, or any other material that is used to package narcotics

Furthermore, an individual must possess or sell these items while knowing the products will be used to manufacture or sell a controlled substance. For example, if a police officer recovered 50 empty ziplock bags from a home during a legal search, and the same bags were filled with cocaine in another room, the empty bags could be considered drug paraphernalia. If the individual was previously arrested for the criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree, he or she will be arrested and charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree.

Related Offenses
If an individual is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, he or she could also be charged with the following related offenses:

  • New York Penal Code § 220.60: Criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances
  • New York Penal Law § 220.70: Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree
  • New York Penal Law § 220.71: Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree
  • Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree

Defenses for Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the First Degree
Because many items used as drug paraphernalia, which are banned as stated in New York Penal Code § 220.55, have harmless uses, a police official must prove an indiviudal had the intent to use these items to distribute or manufacture a controlled substance. If a police official fails to provide valid proof that an individual intended to use the items to distribute drugs, he or she could have a credible defense.

Sentencing for Those Convicted of Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the First Degree
Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree is a Class D felony, which makes it a drug crime, so those convicted of this offense could face two to seven years in prison.

The Importance of an Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney
If an individual has been arrested for criminally using drug paraphernalia, and it is a second offense, it could result in a minimum two year prison sentence if he or she is found guilty. Furthermore, when an individual is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, he or she could face other drug offense charges.

If an individual has been charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, it is imperative that he or she seek guidance from a skilled attorney immediately. A criminal defense attorney who has experience defending individuals accused of drug related offenses can help their clients establish a strong defense.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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