NY Drug Crimes Lawyer/
While every crime is serious, some are more serious than others. Since the advent of the War on Drugs in the 1970s during the Nixon administration, sentences for drug crimes have become exponentially more severe. In the 1980s, mandatory minimum sentences were added, taking some of the judge’s discretion for sentencing away and mandating a specific sentence for specific drug crimes; and for each drug offense, stricter sentences were put in place. The United States has more prisoners locked away than any other country in the world, and more than a quarter of them are in prison on drug charges.
New York Criminal Charges
New York is the fourth largest state by population in the U.S., with more than 19 million residents. According to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice, in 2016, the state made nearly 480,000 arrests – of those, 90,908 were for drug offenses. In Westchester County, with a population of approximately 950,000, there were 23,056 total arrests, 2,454 for drug offenses. With this many arrests, the problem is not just someone else’s, but one that’s never too far from home.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime involving drugs, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC as soon as possible. Michael Litman, based in White Plains, NY, has experience and knowledge defending drug crimes since 2007, serving residents of Westchester County, White Plains and the New York Metro area.
For questions or to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 917.554.8231. Our firm will work with you from the arraignment all the way through the trial. Michael Litman knows the best techniques and strategies to successfully defend your case.
Drug Laws And Their Respective Charges
Drug laws vary depending on several variables: the type of drug, the amount, and the charges – whether it is simply possession, trafficking, or any of a number of other circumstances. The most common drugs and their related laws in New York include:
Marijuana is considered a Schedule I substance; the amount of which will determine the level of the offense. Possession of less than 25 grams, as long as it is not burning or open to public view, is a violation. If the weight is more than 25 grams, it is a misdemeanor, and if the weight is more than 8 oz., it is a felony. The possible sentence increases, as with any drug offense, as the quantity increases. For first violation offenses, there is no jail time; for a class C felony possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana, the maximum sentence could be 3½-9 years. Sentences for sale of marijuana similarly start at the misdemeanor level, and can increase to the C felony level for selling more than 16 oz. of marijuana.
The offense level for cocaine can go much higher than marijuana – at the lowest level, possessing less than 500 milligrams is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail; in the most serious cases, possession of 8 oz. or more is a class A-1 felony, with a maximum sentence of 15-30 years. Sentences for sale of cocaine start as a class D felony, and increase up to a class A-1 felony.
The penalties for heroin cases are similar to that of cocaine. According to Findlaw, possession of more than 500 milligrams is a is a class D felony, and categorization and sentences go up until more than 8 oz. is a class A-1 felony; Intent to sell more than ½ oz. is a class A-II felony; more than 2 oz. is a class A-1 felony; and intent to sell any amount on school grounds or to someone under 21 is a Class B felony.
I’ve Been Charged, What Can Happen Now?
- For defendants who are eligible, between arraignment and a plea they may request an evaluation for diversion to drug court.
- The evaluation is sent to the court, then to the defendant and counsel.
- The court will then decide whether the diversion program is applicable.
- If accepted into diversion, there will be a written agreement outlining the terms of the defendant’s involvement in drug court.
- The defendant will often be required to enter an initial plea of guilty for the court to use as leverage to make sure the drug court program is completed.
- If the defendant successfully completes drug court, often all charges are dismissed.
- However, if the defendant does not complete drug court, or if the defendant gets rearrested, they will face the alternative sentences that were outlined in the written agreement.
What Now? Contact A Defense Lawyer!
If you or a loved one is arrested and charged with a drug offense, remember that you have rights. Under no circumstances should you be rude or confrontational to the officer; but remember: it’s your right to remain silent. It is generally best to stay quiet – the officers will take down your statements and include them in the record, and they can be used in court to prosecute you. In our experience, you will not be able to talk your way out of being arrested, so don’t say anything to police. Be polite and contact legal representation at the first opportunity.
Since 2014, the Law Office of Michael D. Litman has been serving the criminal defense needs of the citizens of White Plains, Westchester County and the New York Metro area. We have the knowledge and the experience to help. For questions or to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 917.554.8231.