Many people assume that marijuana is legal in the State of New York. This is not the case. Marijuana is still illegal, and courts take marijuana offenses very seriously. If you’re caught selling marijuana you face significant penalties including jail time.
The possible penalties
In New York, there are different degrees for the charge of selling marijuana. If you’re caught trying to sell a lot of marijuana, the charge is much more serious than if you’re caught selling only a little bit. Criminal sale of marijuana offenses are divided into five degrees. First degree is the most serious while fifth degree is the least serious.
Criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree is in the middle of the pack. It involves selling or trying to sell more than twenty-five grams of marijuana but less than four ounces. Criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree is a class E felony under N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.45. You can spend up to four years in prison if you’re convicted of the charge. That’s in addition to having to pay a hefty fine of up to $5,000 and spending several years on probation.
What counts as selling marijuana
New York law has a broad definition of what counts as selling under state marijuana law. Certainly, if you sell or try to sell marijuana that counts under the law. In addition, if you even make plans to sell marijuana you can face a charge of selling under New York law. It also doesn’t matter if you don’t charge for the marijuana. If you even give marijuana away for free, you might face a charge of selling marijuana
Ways to defend the charges
One way to defend yourself from a charge of selling marijuana is to argue that the state can’t prove their case. It’s up to the state to prove the charges against you. You don’t have to prove your innocence. That means that if the state can’t prove that you intended to sell marijuana, you could win your case.
You can also evaluate the charges for any possible defenses on the grounds that the police violated your rights. In the United States, law enforcement has to comply with search and seizure rules. This is based on the principle in American law that citizens have the right to live free from unreasonable interference from the police.
Even if you intended to sell the marijuana, if law enforcement stopped your vehicle when they didn’t have grounds to make a traffic stop or if they searched you without a warrant, you can ask the court to throw out that evidence. This can be an incredibly helpful way to defend yourself from the charges, but it’s only a successful defense in certain circumstances. The laws that relate to constitutional rights to be free from unlawful search and seizure are complicated, and they can change at any time. It’s important to work with an experienced NYC criminal lawyer such as the team at Spodek Law Group to evaluate all of your options.
Compassionate Care Act
You might also try to defend your case on the grounds that you are a licensed marijuana distributor under New York’s Compassionate Care Act. To assert this defense, you must have a licensed caregiver card before the offense occurs. You may distribute marijuana only to people who are your registered patients. If you meet all of the requirements to distribute marijuana lawfully under the Compassionate Care Act, this can be a complete defense to the charge of sale of marijuana in the third degree.