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Michael Litman Jan. 2, 2019

What Is the Average Sentence for Drug Possession?

If you’ve been arrested for drug possession, you will be wondering how much jail or prison time you could be facing. Many factors affect how much time you could be incarcerated. The main factors in sentencing are the severity of the charges against you—most notably, the amount of the drugs allegedly found in your possession and if you have prior felony convictions on your record.

Another main factor is whether you are facing state or felony charges. The average length of a sentence for drug possession on state charges is about 20 months, or a little bit less than two years. The average length of a sentence on federal charges is 81 months or less than 7 years. One reason for this difference is that more severe charges are more likely to be filed on a federal level.

If you’re facing drug charges, get in touch with a Westchester criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Michael D. Litman right away. We offer a free consultation, and we’ll be able to give you much more information on the merits of your case.

Possible Average Sentences for Drug Possession

Let’s briefly go over some of the possible charges you could face under New York law if you’re arrested for drug possession.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance is a charge that comes in varying degrees. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is a class A misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Criminal possession in the fifth degree is a class D felony, with a maximum sentence of 4 ½ years. Possession in the fourth degree is a class C felony, with a maximum sentence of 9 years. Possession in the third degree is a class B felony, with a maximum sentence of 15 years. Possession in the second degree is a class A-II felony, with a maximum sentence of 17 years. Finally, possession in the first degree is a class A-I felony, carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

As you can see, these maximum sentences are generally quite a bit higher than the average sentence of 20 months. This is another reason why it’s so important to talk to an attorney who has experience in drug possession cases. The right attorney will be able to represent your case well, giving you the best possible chance at a “not guilty” verdict—or, at the very least, at receiving the shortest possible sentence. Without good representation, you have a greater risk of being convicted, and facing a harsher sentence.

Contact Us

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 his clients since 2007, we have the knowledge and the experience to help with all your drug possession charges.

If you have questions or need to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us today at (914) 268-6855. Our firm will work with you from the arraignment all the way through the trial.


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