Drug and Narcotics Crimes

New York's drug and narcotic laws are still among the harshest in the world. If you find yourself accused of violating any of New York's numerous drug laws, you must contact a New York City narcotics crime lawyer immediately.

The United States has the world's biggest prison population because of its draconian drugs laws. While there is a movement to reform the harsh penalties associated with the country's narcotic laws, police and prosecutors throughout the country are as aggressive as ever in enforcing them. New York is no different. New York's drug laws are not only harsh, but they are difficult to understand. If a person finds himself accused of a drug crime in the courts of New York, the decision of whom the person chooses to represent him is probably the most important one he will make. The wrong lawyer can lead to a lengthy prison sentence, deportation, or loss of potential income. The right lawyer can help you fight the charges and can adequately advice you on how to proceed. If you, or a loved one, is accused of possessing or selling any illegal drug, contact John Buza, an experienced criminal defense attorney with remarkable success in defending drug or narcotic cases in New York, today.

The New York Penal Code divides its drug laws into three categories. Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, and marijuana (spelled "marihuana" by the legislature). This section deals with the sale and possession of controlled substances. For a discussion regarding New York's marijuana laws, click here.

Under New York law, the substances that are "controlled" are listed in New York Public Health Law Article 33. So if a substance is on that list, it is a "controlled substance." All of the drugs that are commonly known as being illegal, like heroin, cocaine, LSD, etc, are on this list. Public Health Law 33 also delineates that some "controlled substances" are considered "narcotics." To put it very basically, under New York law, a "narcotic" is defined as either cocaine or heroin or a chemical derivative of either. Whether a controlled substance is classified as a narcotic is significant because the particular sanctions can be greater for possessing or selling a narcotic in certain contexts. For example, if a person sells LSD to someone else, he is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, whereas if he sells heroin to someone else, he is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in Third Degree. The maximum period of incarceration for a first-arrest LSD sale is 30 months in prison. However, the maximum period of incarceration for a first-arrest heroin sale is nine years in prison. When it comes to simple possession, the legal significance is the same. Both narcotics and controlled substances are class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail.

The applicable sanctions between sale and possession offenses are the same if the degree is the same. For example, in New York, both Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree are class A-1 felonies with the minimum period of incarceration for both as 8 years in state prison and the maximum being 20 years if the person has never been convicted of a felony before. The same is true for all degrees. So Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree are treated the same, etc.

Criminal Sale and Possession of a Controlled Substance in any degree is a serious crime and depending on the degree, the sentence may include a substantial prison sentence. Contact John Buza, an experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney for a free consultation if you, or a loved one, is accused of any sale or possession charges.

Click below for a detailed explanation regarding the commonly charged drug crimes in New York. Because the sanctions between sale and possession are the same, the specific degrees of sale and possession are listed together.