The state of New York has some of the most stringent drug laws in the country. The state regulates both the sale and manufacture of a wide variety of drugs, and there are many different felonies associated with different levels of sale and manufacture of each type of drug. New York also has a taxonomy that divides drugs into different levels of legality depending on their type and potency. If you are facing any charges related to the sale of drugs in New York, then you need to have a lawyer who thoroughly understands this complex web of legal definitions and penalties. Our NYC criminal lawyers at Spodek Legal Group, has been working with clients for years to help them improve their outcomes for drug charges. We have a 99 percent success rate at helping our clients obtain more favorable terms in court.
Drug trafficking New York is a major focus of law enforcement. There are five different degrees of offenses for selling drugs. The severity of the sentence depends on the degree as well as whether or not the defendant is a repeat offender. At the lightest level, which is the fifth degree, the sentence is from one to two and half years in prison. This becomes much more severe at the first degree. Someone who is a minor player on the drug scene can expect from 8 years to 20 years depending on the exact circumstances. Second offenders are upgraded to a minimum of 12 years. So-called “major offenders” can expect 15 years to life. In addition, there can be fines based on the amount of drugs sold. The minimum fine is $5,000 and the max for major offenders is $100,000.
There are several ways to mount a legal defense against drug charges in New York. One of the keys to the legal definition of drug trafficking is intent. The prosecution must prove that you were holding onto drugs with the express intention of selling them at a later date. That opens up a possible defensive strategy that the drugs were for some other purpose. That won’t excuse the initial presence of the drugs, but it can undercut the assertion that they were to be used for sale, which means lower penalties.
Another common tactic is to argue that the police used entrapment to bait the defendant into making a transaction that they would never have carried out if it were not for the entrapment. Other arguments include that the defendant did not have knowledge of what the drugs were or knowledge of a potential deal. That would mean they could not have been trying to sell them, so the laws for trafficking would not apply. It may also be possible to argue that the drugs were for personal use only. This depends on the size of the discovered drugs and how many different types there were. Of course, it is also possible to go after the evidence that the government has collected and see if it is flawed. There might have been an error in how they obtained the evidence or how they handled your arrest. This mistakes are not common, but they can seriously undermine a case.
It is important to have your legal strategy set up as early as possible so that you can gather any evidence or witnesses you might need and arrange how you will respond to questions at trial. The later you wait, the less time you have to prepare and the more challenging it will be to mount a convincing defense.
You should be prepared to consider the possibility of a plea deal. These can significantly reduce the sentence that you face. Even though it feels uncomfortable to enter a guilty plea, you will wind up with a lighter sentence and often have some of the charges dropped or downgraded to something less severe. Later on, you can see about getting the conviction expunged from your record after you have served your time and been out of prison for a while. For now, the key is to do whatever possible to reduce the sentence, both in terms of years in prison and fines.
Drug charges are some of the toughest parts of the New York criminal justice system. The overlapping and layered definitions and degrees make it hard to keep track of the charges and the penalties, as well as what you need to do to reduce them. Our law firm has extensive experience working with people just like you to secure lower sentences. We provide 24/7 support in case you have questions at any time, and the initial consultation is free so that you can get to know us and we can do the same. We will match you with the lawyer on our staff who is the best fit for your needs and your case.