Laws Prohibiting Drug Distribution in Syracuse
New York’s drug laws are fairly straightforward, prohibiting any possession, distribution, or manufacturing of controlled substances. The simplest example of this is the statute that outlaws the distribution or sale of controlled substances. Contained in New York Penal Law §220.31, this statute makes it a class D felony to distribute any illegal drug in the State of New York. This charge typically applies to drug-related acts involving marijuana or prescription drugs.
Things may become much more serious if you allegedly distribute narcotics, including opiates and cocaine derivatives. According to NYPL §220.39, any conviction on this charge is a class B felony that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
More severe penalties can also apply if you are caught selling large amounts of drugs, regardless of your identity. The harshest felonies available under New York law can apply to particularly severe instances of this.
Proving Intent to Distribute
Many people believe that if they are not caught in the process of selling a drug, they can escape prosecution for drug distribution. However, New York’s legislature addressed this potential loophole by passing laws that punish people who possess drugs with the intent to distribute them. While you cannot be prosecuted using the usual drug distribution laws in this situation, the laws that prohibit the mere possession of drugs do apply here.
NYPL §220.06 states that it is illegal to possess any drug with the intent to sell it. This is a class D felony, just like actually selling a non-narcotic drug would be. Also, much like the distribution laws, possessing a narcotic with intent to sell is a more serious offense, as is possessing large amounts of a drug.
It can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove cases of possession with the intent to distribute. Since defendants not accused of actually selling drugs under such circumstances, prosecutors often ask juries to draw inferences from the circumstances of the case. This can include evidence of:
- Multiple smaller packages of drugs
- The presence of large quantities of cash
- Packaging materials
- Measuring and weighing equipment
- Customer lists
A drug distribution lawyer in Syracuse could help you examine the reasons that the State alleges drug distribution if you believe the drugs were only for your personal use.