In the state of New York, including in Staten Island, drug trafficking is a very serious criminal offense. Although it is widely mistaken for being drug dealing, there is a specific distinction in the New York law regarding drug trafficking. If someone in the state is found to be manufacturing, distributing, transporting or selling illegal drugs to others, they can be convicted of the crime of drug trafficking.
Severity of Drug Trafficking Offenses
Of course, state laws throughout the United States vary regarding drug offenses, including drug trafficking. Many states, including New York, will punish a defendant who has been convicted of the crime quite severely, especially when there are certain factors surrounding the situation. However, most frequently, drug trafficking is a crime in which the measurement and weight of the illegal substance is greatly taken into consideration. For example, if a person was found with a certain drug on their person but had no intention of selling the drug, they can still be convicted of drug trafficking if the amount of the substance was more than a certain amount.
What Type of Offense is Drug Trafficking in Staten Island, New York?
The drug laws in Staten Island and New York in general are extremely complex. New York has among the toughest drug laws throughout the country and offenses can fall into as many as a half-dozen different categories of felonies.
In general, there are five different categories or degrees of the crime of drug trafficking. For example, if someone is being accused of sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, the least serious degree of this particular offense, the prosecutor must prove that the controlled substance was being unlawfully sold and the defendant lacked the knowledge that it was a controlled substance. The prosecution must also prove that the individual had a specific intent to transfer the drug and had the ability to do so. Keeping that in mind, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove that the defendant had any knowledge of the controlled substance, including its exact amount. Making an offer or agreeing to sell the substance itself is enough to prove that the individual had the intent of committing the drug offense.
What are the Laws Regarding Drug Trafficking in New York?
In Staten Island, New York, drug trafficking charges are always extremely serious. Individuals who are convicted of drug trafficking crimes can easily find themselves receiving very harsh prison sentences and hefty fines. Overall, the severity of the penalties the person finds themselves facing depends on the type of drug, amount of the drug and other numerous factors, in general, the crime of drug trafficking always carries serious penalties.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking Offenses in Staten Island, New York
In the state of New York, any conviction for selling a controlled substance is classed as a felony. There are different levels of convictions. A fifth-degree felony carries a prison term of two and a half years for a first-time offense. On the other side of the coin, a felony offense in the first degree carries a penalty of a maximum of 20 years in prison for individuals who are convicted of the drug trafficking of non-major substances. After a person with a first-degree felony conviction is released from prison, they will have a mandatory five-year supervision. If the individual commits a second offense of drug trafficking in the first degree within the state, they can face a minimum prison sentence of 12 years. In that situation, the maximum sentence can be life in prison.
Other charges can range from a fine of a minimum of $5,000 to twice that amount if the offender sold illegal substances. For individuals who are convicted of a trafficking offense involving the sale of a controlled substance in the first degree, they can face fines of as much as $100,000.
Individuals who are convicted of drug trafficking in the state of New York can also expect probation sentences imposed against them. Usually, however, these come about as part of a plea bargain in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a less serious charge in hopes that their sentence is reduced. In most instances, the probation can last at least a year.
There is also a mandatory minimum prison sentence in New York, which means that someone who is convicted must serve a minimum term in prison but will not be eligible for parole until that amount of time has passed. Additionally, if the defendant is convicted of selling or attempting to sell drugs to a minor or protected individual, penalties are even greater.
Defenses for Drug Trafficking
The defense attorney for a person on trial for drug trafficking can use certain defenses in the case. These include:
• The defendant lacked the knowledge that drugs were found on their person or in their property and those drugs didn’t belong to them
• The defendant did not intend to traffic drugs or break the law in general
• Possession of drugs was for personal use
• The defendant was a victim of entrapment and that law enforcement officers pushed them into committing the crime
• An infancy defense can be used for individuals 16 and younger as they cannot be charged as an adult
If you have been arrested for drug trafficking in New York, you need an experienced Staten Island drug trafficking lawyer. Contact the Spodek Law Group at your earliest convenience to get in touch with an attorney.
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