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Fighting back against drug charges

The state of New York takes drug trafficking very seriously. Not only is the possession of drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine illegal, so is the possession of any substances or materials used to make them. However, the laws are complicated which means that there are multiple classifications for drug possession. There are five different degrees for selling illegal drugs, with the fifth-degree being the least severe.

If New York has charged you with trafficking illegal drugs, it is important to remember that you have rights and options. A criminal defense attorney in Queens can help you fight back against drug charges. Read further for more information on New York's distribution and manufacturing laws.

Specific intent

In cases where a defendant is facing a drug trafficking charge, the burden of proof rests on the prosecutor. This means that the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the specific intent to sell, distribute, or manufacture the drugs. However, the prosecutor does not need to prove that you knew the exact quantity sold, that you physically possessed the drugs at any time, or that you participated in the delivery. As long as there is proof of an offer or an agreement to sell the illegal substances, the prosecution has enough evidence to prove there was intent.

Punishments

In New York, any conviction for selling illegal drugs is classified as a felony. As mentioned above, the levels range from fifth-degree (the lowest) to first-degree which is the most severe. A fifth-degree conviction usually comes with a prison sentence ranging between one and two-and-a-half years for a first time offense.

A first-degree offense comes with a prison sentence lasting between eight and 20 years. Once released, you might face five additional years of supervision. For second offenders, the penalties include 12 to 20 years in prison. In major trafficking cases, the offender might receive a sentence of at least 15 years in prison up to a life term.

Fines differ depending on the severity of the charges. The court has the power to order a minimum of $5,000 in fines or twice the amount the offender gained from the sale. In major trafficking or first-degree offenses, the court can order up to $100,000 in fines.

Defenses

Common defenses to drug charges include lack of intent, possession for personal use only, and entrapment. A lack of knowledge about the sale or manufacture of drugs is also a valid defense.

If the court has charged you with drug trafficking, a strong defense can help protect your rights.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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Robert D. DiDio
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