Possession of Illegal Drugs Under New York Penal Law
New York Penal Law Article 220 outlines the laws that Syracuse courts use to punish the possession of illegal drugs. With the exception of small amounts of marijuana in a private setting, it is illegal for any person to have even a trace amount of an illegal drug in their possession in the State of New York. These allegations vary in severity depending on several factors.
The most important issue affecting the severity of a drug charge in Syracuse is the quantity of the drug found in the defendant’s possession. At the most basic level, the possession of any illegal drug is a class A misdemeanor according to NYPL §220.03.
However, drug possession charges quickly become more serious as the quantity of drugs increases. Having as little as a quarter-ounce of some drugs is sufficient for possession charges to become a class D felony. The most severe drug charge—Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, codified under NYPL §220.21—is a class A-1 felony that may apply to your case even if you did not intend to sell the drugs.
Different Drugs Carry Different Penalties
However, the severity of drug possession charges also changes depending on the type of drugs allegedly possessed. In other words, the severity of a charge is a combination of the type and amount of drugs possessed.
As such, the penalties for a conviction range in severity from misdemeanors to the most severe penalties available under New York Penal Law. Convictions for misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail but rarely rise to this level of punishment. By contrast, most drug charges are felonies for which you could face a minimum of one year in prison all the way up to a life sentence.
The harshest penalties apply to the possession of narcotic drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and methadone. Every case is unique, and a drug possession lawyer in Syracuse could help you better understand New York’s drug possession laws and how they apply to your case.