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New York Drug Crimes Sentencing Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different drug offenses?

There are three main categories of drug offenses in New York: manufacture, sale, and possession. Some crimes are misdemeanors, but most are felonies and carry a possibility of a prison sentences. However, judges do have some freedom in determining sentences. Therefore, it’s important to be represented by an experienced attorney who can advocate for you and help you receive a fair sentence.

What kind of sentences do drug crimes carry?

Drug crimes can be Class B misdemeanors of Class A felonies. The sentence depends on the classification of the crime as well as your criminal record and the other details of the case.

Class B Misdemeanor: Criminal possession and sale of marijuana in the fifth degree are the only drug crimes in this classification. For these crimes, you may receive a $500 fine and a jail sentence of up to three months.

Class A Misdemeanor: A Class A misdemeanor charge has a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The crimes in this class are as follows:

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree
  • Criminal possession or sale of marijuana in the fourth degree
  • Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree
  • Criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument
  • Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the second degree

Class E Felony: Class E felonies carry a potential sentence of four years in prison and a fine of $5,000. The drug crimes within this class include the following:

  • Criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances
  • Criminal possession or sale of marijuana in the third degree
  • Criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree
  • Criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine
  • Unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material
  • Criminal injection of a narcotic drug
  • Use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense

Class D Felony: These crimes carry a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The drug crimes in this class are the following:

  • Criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree
  • Criminal possession or sale of marijuana in the second degree
  • Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree
  • Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree

Class C Felony: These crimes have a possible sentence of 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The drug crimes within this class include:

  • Criminal possession or sale of marijuana in the first degree
  • Criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree
  • Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance
  • Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the second degree

Class B Felony: These felony charges include potential sentences of up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. The following crimes are Class B felonies:

  • Criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in the third degree
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds
  • Unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the first degree

Class A-II Felony: The maximum sentence for this class is life in prison and a fine of $50,000. The drug charges within this class include criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in the second degree.

Class A-I Felony: The maximum sentence for Class A-I felonies is life in prison, and the maximum fine is $100,000. The drug charges in this class are the criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in the first degree and operating as a major trafficker.

What other factors do judges consider during sentencing?

Judges will consider aggravating factors, which are aspects of the crime or your own background that make the crime more severe. These include the use of violence, the presence of a weapon, and other factors. Judges will also consider mitigating factors, which make your crime less severe. These include cooperation with the police, expressing remorse for the crime, and the absence of a criminal history.

Can I be offered drug treatment instead of a prison sentence?

New York has a Drug Treatment Court program that allows drug offenders to go to treatment instead of serving time in prison. Not every offender is eligible for the program, but being represented by an experienced attorney will increase your chances of being offered treatment. If you’ve been arrested for drug charges, contact Spodek Law Group to speak with a lawyer who will help you get fair representation in court.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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