Controlled substances are a serious problem not only in New York, but across the country and across the world. Law enforcement in the New York area take crimes related to drug selling and drug use very seriously. In addition, the court system takes a hard line especially if the offense is the second or third drug offense. Drug addiction can lead to other crimes such as larceny or prostitution. In addition, drivers under the influence of controlled substances are a serious hazard on public roads. The New York Penal Code 220 addresses the criminal sale of a controlled substance.
Penal Code 220.39 Broken Down
New York Penal Code 220.39 addresses the criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. Most laws prohibiting the sale of drugs specify a minimum amount of specific drugs before you can be prosecuted. Penal Code 220.39 states that you violate the law if you knowingly and unlawfully sell the following:
– any narcotic
– a stimulant weighing 1 gram or more
– lysergic acid diethylamide weighing 1 milligram or more
– a hallucinogen weighing 25 milligrams or more
– a hallucinogenic weighing 1 gram or more
– methadone weighing 1/8 of an ounce or more
– if you sell narcotics to someone under the age of 21
– if you sell narcotics and you have previously been convicted of a drug offense
If addition, New York has a very broad definition of the word “sell”. Selling can include an exchange for money or other goods or services. Selling also includes giving drugs to someone else or even offering or agreeing to sell drugs.
Examples of a Criminal Sale of Drugs
If someone offers to sell a controlled substance, gives a controlled substance away, or actually exchanges the drugs for money or something else, this is a violation of Penal Code 220.39 depending on the amount of drugs involved. There could be additional charges such as possession of a controlled substance or a drug paraphernalia charge.
Possible Defenses to a Charge of Criminal Sale
The best defense to Penal Code 220.39 is if the amount involved does not meet the minimum requirements for a third degree criminal sale. Another defense could result depending on how the police found the drugs. Police are required by law to have probable cause before they can search someone. A good criminal defense attorney will look at the details of each case and determine the best defense strategy to give their clients the best possible result.
A charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance is much more serious than a charge of possession, although if you are charged with distribution you will probably also be charged with possession. Criminal sale in the third degree is classified as a Class “B” felony. If convicted, the minimum prison sentence is 5 years if you have no prior convictions, and a minimum of 10 years if there are prior convictions. The maximum sentence is 25 years in prison. In addition, there could be a fine of up to $30,000.
A charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance is very serious. There is a very real possibility that someone convicted of several drug related charges could be sent to prison for the rest of their life. The first thing anyone should do is immediately call a New York criminal attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. A good defense attorney can explain your legal options and will aggressively fight to get the charges reduced as much as possible.