In New York City, possession of a controlled substance is a common offense. Hundreds of people are arrested for it every day. Spinning off of possession of a controlled substance is the offense of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell it pursuant to New York Penal Law 220.16(1).
Weight and quantity might not matter
New York’s legislature classifies possession of a controlled substance with possession to sell as a Class B felony that is punishable by one to nine years in a state prison. No proof of a minimum weight or quantity of a controlled substance is needed to prove this offense unless a specified minimum amount of a specified drug is involved. So long as the intent to sell quantities of a drug is shown, the amount of it might be irrelevant.
Proving intent to sell
A prosecutor can prove intent to sell controlled substances through either direct or circumstantial evidence like:
- Evidence of sales of the controlled substance by the same person at the same time and location
- Evidence of repeated hand-to-hand exchanges at the same time and location
- The quantity of the controlled substances found in the arrestee’s possession
- Sales to undercover officers or confidential informants
- The amount of cash found on or around a suspected drug dealer
- The manner in which the controlled substances were packaged
- Possession of scales and packaging materials
- Any admissions or confessions made by the arrestee
Federal law looks at possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver differently than New York State laws do. New York law requires the prosecution to prove that sales of the controlled substance were actually made. Federal law doesn’t require that proof. For example, being in possession of more than five grams of pure methamphetamine is a sufficient basis for charging a person of being in possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. Under Federal law, even a first offender with no history of drug use or arrests is subject to a mandatory minimum five year prison term.
What to do if you’re arrested for possession with intent to distribute
If you’re taken into custody with drugs in your possession, you have the right to refuse to make any statements about the drugs, how you got them or how they might have come into your control. Even if the drugs belong to somebody else, don’t tell that to the police. You need to invoke your right to remain silent, and contact our law offices immediately. Without one of our attorneys at your side, any statements that you might make could be misinterpreted and used against you.
There might not even have been probable cause for your arrest
There are two sides to every story. If we’re retained to represent you, we’ll listen to your side of the story, and we’ll make our own determination as to whether there was even probably cause for your arrest. For example, if you were in your car, there might not have even been a reason for a traffic stop and a search of you and your vehicle. Maybe somebody else was in your car with you, and the controlled substance belonged to him or her. What evidence is there that the controlled substances was for distribution as opposed to personal use? If your arrest was based on information supplied by a confidential informant, his or her credibility can also be attacked.
We’re former prosecutors with over 30 years of combined experience, so we know how prosecutors think. We also know what a drug conviction can do to your future. There are alternatives to just pleading guilty. If you’re arrested on a drug charge, invoke and protect your rights. Contact us right away for a free phone or personal consultation at any one of our three offices.