Drug Crimes | Get Assistance With a New York Drug Lawyer
Drug charges are the most common crime brought in state and federal courts in New York. There is a huge variety of drug charges that prosecutors may seek with penalties ranging from a small monetary fine to possibly life in prison. As a result, it is extremely important that you work with an experienced New York drug lawyer for your defense.
Generally, the severity of the penalties you face such as whether you face a misdemeanor or felony charge will depend upon three factors. These include the type of drug you are accused of possessing, the amount of the drug involved, and whether the drug was for your own use or the use of others.
Types of Drug Charges
There are many different types of drug crimes in New York. Some of the most common charges that a New York drug lawyer defends against include:
- Drug Possession. Drug possession in New York typically involves an individual possessing some quantity of drug for his or her own use. Because drug possession involves someone’s personal use, the amount of the drug at stake is usually very small. Prosecutors may assume that an individual possessing larger sums of the drug intends to sell or distribute the drug. Some convicted of drug possession can face misdemeanor charges and may even avoid jail time.
- Drug Distribution. Drug distribution is also commonly referred to as the crime of drug dealing. Prosecutors may assume that someone with a large quantity of a drug intends to distribute. Additionally, equipment and devices in your possession, such as scales and baggies, may also support that you intend to distribute the drugs in your possession. Drug distribution can be a serious felony charge that involves significant jail time and other penalties.
- Drug Manufacture. The manufacture of drugs can include a wide range of activities such as growing marijuana in your basement or creating a meth lab. Just like drug distribution, prosecutors treat drug manufacturing as a very serious crime, typically involving a felony charge and long prison sentences.
- Drug Trafficking. The crime of drug trafficking generally involves an individual or group of individuals smuggling drugs across state or federal lines. Drug trafficking is almost always a federal offense and can involve severe penalties.
- Conspiracy. While not technically a drug crime, prosecutors oftentimes tack on a conspiracy charge to a drug offense. A conspiracy generally involves a scheme involving two or more people to commit some crime and an overt act by someone in the conspiracy towards the commission of the crime. If prosecutors believe there are multiple individuals involved in a drug crime, they almost always will add a conspiracy charge. Conspiracy charges are very serious as someone convicted of the offense could face the same penalties as the underlying drug charge.
Defenses Against Drug Charges
Prosecutors oftentimes build weak cases against drug crime defendants or use unscrupulous methods. Many drug cases feature two recurring themes of police error that can seriously damage a prosecutor’s case, says a New York drug lawyer.
First, law enforcement officials may violate your rights with an illegal search and seizure. Police generally need probable cause to make a stop or to search your possessions. In addition, police may need a warrant to enter your home. Probable cause can be difficult to prove and prosecutors have the burden to show that the police reasonably believed a crime was being committed. An experienced attorney can introduce evidence and help demonstrate why such belief by the police was, in fact, unreasonable. The police similarly need probable cause to receive a search warrant. Getting a proper warrant can take some time, and many law enforcement personnel wrongly skip this important step, jeopardizing their case.
The second error that many law enforcement personnel engage in is the use of untrustworthy informants to gather information. Many of these informers are far from reliable. The informers may have their own motives to point the finger at you. For example, an informer may be absolved of his or her own crime or may get a reduced sentence as an exchange. As a result, an experienced New York drug lawyer knows how to chip away at the credibility of many of these informers.
Potential Penalties to a Drug Charge
From a misdemeanor possession charge to a felony drug distribution charge, you should be aware that you face very serious penalties if you are convicted of a drug charge. This is true even for first-time offenders. The exact penalty that you face generally depends upon the following three factors:
- Drug Type. The type of drug you are accused of possessing plays a key role in the potential penalties you face. For example, someone accused of possessing marijuana likely faces less severe penalties than someone possessing an equal amount of heroin. Some drugs are deemed more severe and carry greater penalties.
- Amount of Drug. The larger quantity of the drug you possess, the greater the penalties you possibly face. If you are accused of possessing a large enough quantity of the drug, you could face a severe mandatory minimum sentence even for a first-time offense.
- Intent. You face less severe penalties if you intend to use the drug for your own personal use. If you plan to sell or traffic the drug, you likely face felony charges and long prison sentences.
Contact a New York Drug Lawyer
If you have been charged with a drug offense in New York, it is important that you contact an experienced New York drug attorney. The penalties for a drug crime can be very severe. As a result, you will want experienced attorney Frederick L. Sosinsky on your side. With over 27 years’ experience, Mr. Sosinsky has handled hundreds of drug cases in the federal and state courts in New York. To discuss the specifics of your case with Mr. Sosinsky, call (212) 285-2270.
If you need help after regular business hours or on a weekend, call my emergency line at 917-749-4420.