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New York Cocaine Possession Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Possible Criminal Charges If Found With Cocaine?
In the state of New York, cocaine is a controlled substance, which means that the charges and penalties are usually a bit more severe than with other types of drugs. You could receive one of the six different possession charges associated with cocaine. An attorney will be able to assist you with any charge that is received so that your rights are upheld and to determine if the cocaine was found in a legal search. An attorney can also work with you when gathering evidence to present whether the cocaine was indeed yours or someone else’s who was in the same area at the time.

How Are The Various Cocaine Charges Different From Each Other?
The least serious of the six different charges is 7th-degree possession. This is also the only charge among the six listed in the state that is a misdemeanor and is often the easiest one to get dropped or reduced when you go to court. It’s also a charge that usually results in the least time in jail or no time served in jail at all if the prosecution offers probation or other forms of punishment. This is a charge that you would receive if you have less than 500 milligrams of cocaine in your possession.

The other charges are all felonies, starting with fifth-degree possession and ending with first-degree possession. Each degree differs based on how much cocaine you have on you at the time of the arrest. First-degree possession involves having eight ounces of cocaine or more and is often associated with a trafficking charge as well since it is a larger amount. Crimes that are considered felonies are almost always sentenced by time spent in jail for at least a year. However, depending on your criminal history, an attorney could discuss a plea deal with the prosecution. Another option would be to work with the prosecution to deliver names of the people who sold you the cocaine in exchange for a lesser charge.

Is Prison The Only Option?
There are a few factors that play into whether you spend time in prison or not and how much time you spend in prison. One of those factors is your background. The court will also look at how much cocaine was in your possession. If the amount was small, then you would likely face a misdemeanor charge, which is easier to work with to obtain probation as a sentence compared to having several ounces of cocaine in your possession, which usually leads to at least the minimal amount of time in jail. A Class D felony in the fifth degree usually carries up to 72 months in prison while a charge in the first or second degree can result in a life sentence. As each class in the felony line increases, the amount of possible prison time increases as well. This is why it’s important to seek the assistance of an attorney as soon as you are charged so that you can begin working to present evidence pertaining to the exact amount and the possible scenarios associated with being charged.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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