Trial Lawyers With Over 50 Years Of Combined Experience

An intent to sell makes drug possession a felony in New York

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Criminal Law

Drug offenses are some of the most common crimes prosecuted in New York. If police officers catch someone in possession of controlled or prohibited drugs, they can arrest that person. Prosecutors can then bring criminal charges against them.

In many cases, those caught with drugs expect to face misdemeanor possession charges. However, some defendants end up facing much more serious charges than simple possession. There are numerous felony offenses that the state can pursue depending on the circumstances. Possession with intent to sell a drug is typically a felony offense and does not necessarily require any proof that someone has previously sold drugs to others. Prosecutors can bring possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree charges if they believe that someone possessed a drug with the intent to sell it to others.

What constitutes possession with intent?

According to New York penal codes, the state can charge someone with  possession of a controlled substance in the third degree if have narcotics for possession in some scenarios, which is a Class B felony. Such charges are possible in two main scenarios.

The first is when the overall weight of the drugs is high enough to raise questions about whether they are for personal use. Different drugs have different weight limits that apply. The second is when there is a confluence of other factors making an intent to sell seem quite likely.

For example, someone with a prior offense involving the trafficking of drugs might face more suspicion from police officers after a subsequent arrest. Social relationships, online activity and even certain paraphernalia can make the state suspect someone of possession with intent to distribute the drugs to others.

Felony drug charges are a serious concern

Given that New York has made significant modifications to drug statutes in recent years, many people expect somewhat lenient treatment when facing non-violent drug offenses. The exact penalties that the courts may pursue depend on someone’s prior criminal record, the schedule of the drugs found in their possession and the overall drugs. A Class B felony can lead to between one and three years in state custody in most cases, although the courts can sentence someone to up to 25 years in prison.

Pleading guilty does not ensure a lenient sentence, and many defendants may need to think carefully before responding to their pending drug charges. Those who fight possession with intent charges may have a better chance of mitigating the consequences of an arrest than those who plead guilty and hope for the best.