A drug charge in New York may carry a range of penalties. The classification of drug and amount possessed determine how the authorities proceed with prosecution and sentence.
The classification of dangerous substances (CDS) ranges from less harmful in Schedule V all the way up to the most addictive and dangerous in Schedule I. When someone gets caught holding a substance listed in the CDS, understanding the penalties may help mount an appropriate defense.
The type of narcotic
Under the law, the drugs and chemicals listed in Schedules I and II are narcotics. These substances are highly addictive with little to no medical benefits. Even in small quantities, possession of these drugs may carry felony charges and mean a prison sentence. An A-1 felony charge means a person has at least 8 ounces of a narcotic. The prison sentence may top out at 20 years with a $100,000 fine. Examples of drugs and substances in this schedule include:
- Opiates such as oxycodone
- Hallucinigens such as LSD
- Stimulants such as methamphetamine
- Any chemical used in making narcotics
The amount in possession
If a person has a small amount of any CDS, they may face misdemeanor charges such as a fine. The higher the amount, the stiffer the penalties. Drugs in Schedules III through V do not always come with a high risk of addiction or abuse. However, it possessing them in higher quantities may come with a charge. The average drug penalty includes a fine, jail time and counseling or a rehabilitation program. Again, the larger the quantity and the more serious the drug’s classification, the stiffer the penalty.
Drug charges and their subsequent penalties require special defenses. Getting charged does not mean facing the harshest sentence; however, it may.