Opioid-Related Crimes Attorney in Westchester County, New York
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as 4.2 million Americans report having used heroin at least once in their lives. Nearly one in four of those individuals—an estimated 23 percent, to be precise—ends up being addicted to the drug. Here in New York, heroin caused an estimated 5.4 deaths per 100,000 population in 2015.
Heroin is one of the best-known illegal opioids. There are many other drugs in this category, and many of them are prescription painkillers with legitimate medical uses under some circumstances. These include substances such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. In 2015, opioids, in general, were responsible for approximately 10.8 deaths per 100,000 population in New York.
Between 2010 and 2015, the death rate due to opioids doubled here in New York.
Opioid use and abuse is a serious problem, and the State of New York takes it very seriously. If you have been arrested for an opioid-related charge, the State is going to do all it can to put you away for a long time. Talk to an experienced attorney to put together a plan for defending yourself.
Possible Charges for Opioid Crimes
Under New York law, opioid-related offenses fall under the general umbrella of controlled substance law. Here are the charges most commonly associated with opioids:
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance: The severity of possession charges can vary widely, depending on the nature and amount of the subject in question. A trace amount of an opioid substance in a hypodermic syringe will fetch a charge of criminal possession in the fifth degree—a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year. At the other extreme, possession of eight ounces or more of opiates is criminal possession in the first degree, a class A-I felony potentially leading to life in prison.
Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance: Sale of any narcotic/opiate preparation whatsoever is a criminal sale in the fourth degree, a class C felony with a maximum sentence of 9 years. At the maximum end, the sale of two ounces or more of a narcotic or opioid preparation is a criminal sale in the first degree, a class A-I felony, potentially leading to life in prison.
Criminally Possessing a Hypodermic Instrument: Illegal possession or sale of a syringe or needle is a class A misdemeanor, leading to a maximum sentence of one year.
Criminal Injection of a Narcotic Drug: Injection of a narcotic drug is a class E felony, carrying a maximum sentence of 2 ½ years in prison.
Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia: In the context of opioid substances, this would mean using the chemicals, scales, etc. used for weighing, preparing, and injecting these drugs. A first offense is second-degree criminal use—a class A misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are first-degree criminal use—a class D felony, carrying a maximum sentence of 4 ½ years.
Operating as a Major Trafficker: You are considered a major trafficker if you sell or possess $75,000 worth of narcotic drugs within a six-month period. Operating as a major trafficker is a class A-I felony, potentially punishable by life in prison.
What to Do if You’ve Been Arrested
If you are arrested for an opioid-related crime, the most important thing is that you don’t incriminate yourself any further. Don’t physically resist the arrest, and don’t try to talk the officer out of arresting you. If the officer has already taken out the cuffs, the decision has already been made. It’s much more likely that you’ll say something that will hurt your case than that you’ll convince the officer to change his or her mind. You have the right to remain silent. This is the time to use it.
After the arrest, you can start worrying about how you’re going to defend yourself. Especially if you’ve been charged with selling or trafficking, you can be sure that the State of New York will take your case very seriously. You need to know what you’re up against and how you can defend yourself. The right attorney will give you both of these things and let you know what you can expect.
Since 2014, the Law Office of Michael D. Litman has been representing the criminal defense needs of the citizens of White Plains, Westchester County, and the New York Metro area. With Attorney Michael Litman defending clients since 2007, we have the knowledge and the experience to help with all your criminal defense needs.
If you have questions or need to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us today. Our firm will work with you from the arraignment all the way through the trial.