Although most people are already aware that it is illegal to buy, sell, or manufacture illegal substances, not as many people are aware that it is also illegal to possess a hypodermic needle in the state of New York. It is worth noting that in order for this statute to apply to a case, the only thing that the prosecutor needs to prove is that the defendant knowingly sold or possessed a hypodermic needle. The prosecutor does not need to prove that the hypodermic needle was used for any illegal substances or even that it ever contained any to begin with. This also means that separate charges can result from someone having both a hypodermic instrument and drugs that are intended to be used with it. For those who are concerned as to the specific definition of a hypodermic instrument, it can actually refer to either a hypodermic syringe and a hypodermic needle.
Example of Criminally Possessing a Hypodermic Instrument
If someone is patted down in suspicion of purchasing drugs and is found to have both an illegal substance and a hypodermic needle, they could be charged separately for illegally possessing both the illegal substance and the hypodermic needle. Of course, as previously mentioned, a person does not even need to have an illegal substance on them in order to be charged for possessing a hypodermic needle. For this reason, possessing a hypodermic needle in New York carries serious consequences, regardless of what the carrier’s intent is.
Defending Against Charges Related to Criminally Possessing a Hypodermic Instrument
Although it is generally illegal to carry a hypodermic needle in New York, there are a few exceptions as outlined in the statute. If a person has written permission from a healthcare practitioner, as the result of an illness or other extenuating circumstance, then they can use that as a defense against the charge. Similarly, other provisions can also offer a person immunity as outlined by the New York Public Health Law § 3381. A NYC criminal lawyer can help determine if any of these provisions are applicable to a defendant’s specific case.
Sentencing Related to Criminally Possessing a Hypodermic Instrument
Criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument is considered to be a class A misdemeanor, and can thus potentially land someone in jail for up to one year. In addition to jail time, a person can also be placed on probation for up to three years. Although criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument can carry serious repercussions, there is some room for leniency. A judge will take into account all of the circumstances surrounding a defendant’s situation, including their past criminal history and their personal background. Once again, having a lawyer speak on a defendant’s behalf can help provide the judge a better context for the defendant’s actions, and potentially help them to reduce the sentencing.
Criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument may not be as serious of an offense as other drug-related crimes, but it can still result in a person going to jail. Aside from potential jail time, criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument also presents the issue of being an additional charge tacked on to other crimes, which can further complicate a defendant’s sentencing. Of course, having a lawyer who is experienced in the complexities of drug related charges can help protect someone who has been accused of this, as well as many other charges.
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