Drug Charges

Drug Charge Defense Upstate New York

New York Drug Charges Lawyers in NY State Since 1898

Convicted in New York due to drug charges.People from every walk of life are impacted by drugs. Daily news headlines seem to regularly include arrests of professional athletes, government officials, celebrities and people from our local community, all related to drugs.

Drug charges and convictions can have devastating effects on your family, social and professional lives. In some professions, a drug conviction disqualifies you from professional licensing. A drug conviction can interfere with everything from getting a job, a college loan, federal housing or food assistance, grants, scholarships, access to government training programs, or subsidized housing for seniors – even if the conviction was decades prior. In some cases, a conviction is not required; a drug charge is enough to prevent access to various benefits and programs.

New York Drug Charges Defense Attorney or Regular Attorney?

Should you hire the same attorney you use for wills, real estate, and business; or should you hire an attorney that specializes in criminal defense law?

You Only Get One Chance

Only you can determine which attorney to hire. Most people only hire a criminal defense attorney once. Which attorney to hire is perhaps the single most important decision you will make in your case. While changing attorneys is an option, it is not always advised. We suggest you do your homework, and start your legal defense off on the right foot. If you hire a qualified attorney from the start, chances are you won’t be disappointed.

You can and should research attorneys on the internet, but the best way to know if an attorney is the right lawyer for you and your case is to call and talk with them. If you can’t reach a lawyer before you make the decision to hire, you know there is something wrong. At the E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm, we will always take the time to speak with you about your situation before you make the decision of who to hire. We understand that you may be at the point in your life where you have the most at stake and the most to lose. We are always available for a free consultation in any criminal case, so you can decide for yourself without pressure whether we are the right lawyers for you.

Our advice to anyone seeking an attorney is the same, whether or not we are your choice. For any firm you are considering, talk to a lawyer about your situation and ask yourself these questions: Is the attorney taking the time to listen to my situation? Is the attorney able to understand my situation? Is the attorney able to explain how my case can be defended? Is the attorney someone I feel like I can work with?

The countless satisfied clients we have represented have all found that we check all of the boxes for these questions. Don’t shortchange yourself or your family on what may well be the most important decision you ever make. If your attorney doesn’t check all theses boxes, or you haven’t yet found an attorney who does, give us a call to see whether we might be the right fit for you and your case.

New York State drug laws are complex and often involve multiple charges. With the potential for consecutive sentences upon multiple convictions, defendants in drug cases can easily face catastrophic consequences if convicted. Attempting to fight NY State Drug charges with an attorney with little to no real experience in drug cases could easily end badly. Your lawyer will always have another case. You will only have one. Hire the attorney who will treat you and your case with the attention it deserves.

The bottom line is that an experienced New York drug charges defense lawyer can make all the difference when facing a drug charge prosecution. Some cases will be dropped, some may be pleaded to a lesser charge, and some will go to trial. As they always do, results vary case by case; however, it is important to remember that the success in your case is defined by you, your needs, and the affect your case has on your future. The only person in the process who is truly working for your interest will be your attorney and his law firm, so choose wisely.

Our Advice: Never take a drug charge lightly and get a real New York drug charges lawyer involved as quickly as possible.

Put Up Your Best Defense

The criminal defense attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy are highly experienced in defending drug cases. Whether you are facing a single first offense or a case with multiple charges, a drug charges case requires due diligence, aggressive defense and mastery of strategy in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

An experienced New York drug charges lawyer will invest the time needed to mount a strong defense, with a continual commitment to seek reduced or dismissed charges. In every case in which we are involved, we never stop working to build the best possible defense and achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. Our priorities are simple. We value your freedom above all else. Our primary goal is to ensure our clients get out of and remain out of police custody, jail or prison. Beyond that, we work to prevent our clients’ lives from becoming entangled in the criminal justice system. We work to ensure that our clients’ good names and reputations are preserved intact. In this way, we work to ensure that a drug charge won’t ruing your life or your families life.

Facing Misdemeanor or Felony Drug Charges in New York State?

Court room door of a drug charge case in New York.

New York State takes drug charges seriously. Drug charges include misdemeanor and felony charges for drug possession, salem distribution, trafficking of street drugs such as marijuana, fentanyl, concentrated cannabis, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, crack and cocaine, as well as prescription drugs. Driving while ability impaired by drugs (DWAI drugs) is a separate charge, and has specific penalties and drivers license consequences, especially when charged in conjunction with other drug charges.

A misdemeanor drug charge may seem harmless but should never be taken lightly. Even though a misdemeanor drug charge is often reduced or dismissed with the help of a good New York misdemeanor drug charges attorney, a conviction does establish a prior offense that could influence the outcome of any future charges. Worse, like any criminal record, a drug conviction can severely hamper your ability to obtain a good job. A drug conviction can permanently impair your reputation in the community. A strong defense attorney will fight on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.

Law enforcement agencies have begun to focus heavily on cases involving fentanyl, and prosecutors are motivated to seek convictions and lengthy sentences in those cases. People should also be aware that although concentrated cannabis like wax, dabs, oil, and vape concentrate are legal in many states, in New York, even though marijuana has been decriminalized, concentrated cannabis is treated as a hard drug, and even relatively small amounts can result in felony charges. Prosecutorial motivations and law enforcement’s approach changes, and you need an attorney who understands your adversary. We focus a large part of our practice on defending people accused of drug possession and drug sale charges in New York state.

Contact Us Now to request a free case analysis or schedule a confidential in-person meeting with an attorney at one of our four convenient offices in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs.

For urgent situations, please call us now: (518) 284-3183.

Some New York Drug Possession Charges

Possession cases arise out of a number of different scenarios and arrests, including search warrant, search of an automobile as a result of probable cause or by consent, or search of a person or vehicle as part of an arrest on other charges. However police come to seize contraband, our first approach is always to see if we can find a legal basis to successfully challenge the search that led to the seizure of illegal substances. We scrutinize police conduct for any error, we analyze search warrant applications, and we make motions and conduct hearings in order to suppress the evidence that can lead to a conviction.

Below are experts of some of the possession charges that are common in New York criminal courts:

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree

NY Penal Law 220.03
A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance. Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail.

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree

NY Penal Law 220.06

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses:

1. a controlled substance with intent to sell it; or

2. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic preparation and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more; or

3. phencyclidine and said phencyclidine weighs fifty milligrams or more; or

4. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing concentrated cannabis as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision four of section thirty-three hundred two of the public health law and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-fourth ounce or more; or

5. cocaine and said cocaine weighs five hundred milligrams or more.

6. ketamine and said ketamine weighs more than one thousand milligrams; or

7. ketamine and has previously been convicted of possession or the attempt to commit possession of ketamine in any amount; or

8. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing gamma hydroxybutyric acid, as defined in paragraph four of subdivision (e) of schedule I of section thirty-three hundred six of the public health law, and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of twenty-eight grams or more.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree is a class D felony, punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in state prison for a first offense!

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree

NY Penal Law 220.09

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses:

1. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-eighth ounce or more; or

2. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of isomers and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more; or

3. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic preparation and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of two ounces or more; or

4. a stimulant and said stimulant weighs one gram or more; or

5. lysergic acid diethylamide and said lysergic acid diethylamide weighs one milligram or more; or

6. a hallucinogen and said hallucinogen weighs twenty-five milligrams or more; or

7. a hallucinogenic substance and said hallucinogenic substance weighs one gram or more; or

8. a dangerous depressant and such dangerous depressant weighs ten ounces or more; or

9. a depressant and such depressant weighs two pounds or more; or

10. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing concentrated cannabis as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision four of section thirty-three hundred two of the public health law and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one ounce or more; or

11. phencyclidine and said phencyclidine weighs two hundred fifty milligrams or more; or

12. methadone and said methadone weighs three hundred sixty milligrams or more; or

13. phencyclidine and said phencyclidine weighs fifty milligrams or more with intent to sell it and has previously been convicted of an offense defined in this article or the attempt or conspiracy to commit any such offense; or

14. ketamine and said ketamine weighs four thousand milligrams or more; or

15. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing gamma hydroxybutyric acid, as defined in paragraph four of subdivision (e) of schedule I of section thirty-three hundred six of the public health law, and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of two hundred grams or more.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree is a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 1/2 years in state prison for a first offense!

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree

NY Penal Law 220.16

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses:

1. a narcotic drug with intent to sell it; or

2. a stimulant, hallucinogen, hallucinogenic substance, or lysergic acid diethylamide, with intent to sell it and has previously been convicted of an offense defined in article two hundred twenty or the attempt or conspiracy to commit any such offense; or

3. a stimulant with intent to sell it and said stimulant weighs one gram or more; or

4. lysergic acid diethylamide with intent to sell it and said lysergic acid diethylamide weighs one milligram or more; or

5. a hallucinogen with intent to sell it and said hallucinogen weighs twenty-five milligrams or more; or

6. a hallucinogenic substance with intent to sell it and said hallucinogenic substance weighs one gram or more; or

7. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of isomers with intent to sell it and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-eighth ounce or more; or

8. a stimulant and said stimulant weighs five grams or more; or

9. lysergic acid diethylamide and said lysergic acid diethylamide weighs five milligrams or more; or

10. a hallucinogen and said hallucinogen weighs one hundred twenty-five milligrams or more; or

11. a hallucinogenic substance and said hallucinogenic substance weighs five grams or more; or

12. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more; or

13. phencyclidine and said phencyclidine weighs one thousand two hundred fifty milligrams or more.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is a class B felony, punishable by up to 9 years in state prison for a first offense!

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree

NY Penal Law 220.18

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses:

1. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of four ounces or more; or

2. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of isomers and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of two ounces or more; or

3. a stimulant and said stimulant weighs ten grams or more; or

4. lysergic acid diethylamide and said lysergic acid diethylamide weighs twenty-five milligrams or more; or

5. a hallucinogen and said hallucinogen weighs six hundred twenty-five milligrams or more; or

6. a hallucinogenic substance and said hallucinogenic substance weighs twenty-five grams or more; or

7. methadone and said methadone weighs two thousand eight hundred eighty milligrams or more.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree is a class A-II felony, punishable by up to 10 years in state prison for a first offense!

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree

NY Penal Law 220.21

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses:

1. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of eight ounces or more; or

2. methadone and said methadone weighs five thousand seven hundred sixty milligrams or more.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is a class A-I felony, punishable by up to 20 years in state prison for a first offense!

Some New York Drug Sale Charges

Charges of selling drugs are especially serious, and sales can be charged in many different ways. Charges for sales can arise from a law enforcement officer observing an alleged transaction by chance, but frequently result from undercover or covert law enforcement operations, including the use of informants or wire taps. As with possession charges, our first line of defense is always to seek to challenge the legality of the method by which law enforcement acquired evidence against our clients.

In general, the penalties for drug sale charges are significantly enhanced when compared to possession charges for a similar amount of drugs. For example, while possession of a very small amount of cocaine or heroin might only be a misdemeanor, the sale of that same amount would result in a felony charge. Below are excerpts of some of the most common drug sale charges in New York state.

Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree

NY Penal Law 220.31

A person is guilty of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree when he knowingly and unlawfully sells a controlled substance.

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree is a class D felony, punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in state prison for a first offense!

Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree

NY Penal Law 220.34

A person is guilty of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree when he knowingly and unlawfully sells:

1. a narcotic preparation; or

2. a dangerous depressant or a depressant and the dangerous depressant weighs ten ounces or more, or the depressant weighs two pounds or more; or

3. concentrated cannabis as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision four of section thirty-three hundred two of the public health law . . . .

***

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree is a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 1/2 years in prison for a first offense!

Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree

NY Penal Law 220.39

A person is guilty of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree when he knowingly and unlawfully sells:

1. a narcotic drug; or

2. a stimulant, hallucinogen, hallucinogenic substance, or lysergic acid diethylamide and has previously been convicted of an offense defined in article two hundred twenty or the attempt or conspiracy to commit any such offense; or

3. a stimulant and the stimulant weighs one gram or more; or

4. lysergic acid diethylamide and the lysergic acid diethylamide weighs one milligram or more; or

5. a hallucinogen and the hallucinogen weighs twenty-five milligrams or more; or ….

****

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree is a class B felony, punishable by up to 9 years in state prison for a first offense!

Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree

NY Penal Law 220.41

A person is guilty of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree when he knowingly and unlawfully sells:

1. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and the preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more; or

2. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of isomers and the preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more; or

3. a stimulant and the stimulant weighs five grams or more; or

4. lysergic acid diethylamide and the lysergic acid diethylamide weighs five milligrams or more; or

5. a hallucinogen and the hallucinogen weighs one hundred twenty-five milligrams or more; or

6. a hallucinogenic substance and the hallucinogenic substance weighs five grams or more; or

7. methadone and the methadone weighs three hundred sixty milligrams or more.

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree is a class A-II felony, punishable by up to 10 years in state prison for a first offense!

Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree

NY Penal Law 220.43

A person is guilty of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree when he knowingly and unlawfully sells:

1. one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and the preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of two ounces or more; or

2. methadone and the methadone weighs two thousand eight hundred eighty milligrams or more.

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree is a class A-I felony, punishable by up to 20 years in state prison for a first offense!

How a Felony Drug Conviction Can Impact Your Life

  • You may no longer vote while incarcerated. (called “Felony Disenfranchisement”)
  • You may not be a juror.
  • You may not purchase/own firearms.
  • No eligibility for welfare benefits.
  • No eligibility for federally subsidized housing, and other programs.
  • You may be disqualified from federal student loan and aid programs.
  • You may be prohibited from securing or keeping professional licenses.

Learn more about felony charges and penalties in NY State.

Sentencing for Felony Drug Convictions in NY

Even a small amount of a controlled substance can result in a conviction and mandatory drug sentence in NY State. New York is aggressive in prosecuting drug cases. There are alternatives to incarceration when it comes to sentencing, but anyone facing drug charges should understand that many courts will not hesitate to sentence people to lengthy prison sentences. That’s why it is essential to mount the best defense

Because there is an understanding that there is often underlying addiction in many drug cases, New York has made drug treatment options available in an attempt to rehabilitate those who are convicted of a felony who are determined to have a drug addiction.

Drug Court in New York State

NY offers has a diversionary sentencing program, known as “Treatment Court,” or “Drug Court.” Drug court is intended to be an alternative to incarceration, and it was created by the Legislature in order to provide an option to sentencing courts when a person’s criminal activity was the result of an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

These programs require the defendant to voluntarily enter into a court-supervised substance abuse rehabilitation program. Only non-violent addicted offenders are eligible to enter the Drug Court intervention program and strict compliance is required to meet requirements to successfully “graduate” from a Drug Court program. Drug Court is not easy. It requires a person to comply with numerous conditions, and to be supervised both by a judge and the probation department. Many people who enroll in Drug Court find it difficult to make all of the appointments, classes and meet all the other obligations of the program. It is a challenge, and those who successfully complete it are rightly proud of their accomplishment.

One must understand that participation in these programs is not a slam-dunk. Inclusion in a Drug Court program often only results from the hard work of a defense attorney who has done the hard work of demonstrating that his client qualifies for, will benefit from, and deserves the chance to participate in treatment court. Even when a defense attorney negotiates an opportunity for the client, participation must ultimately be approved by a judge. Usually there will also be an evaluation by health professionals.

Rules for participation in Drug Court are defined in a contract which is then agreed upon by the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, the district attorney, the treatment coordinator, and the court. Successful completion can, in some cases, result in the drug charge being erased and can provide the defendant with a clean slate. Failure to adhere to the rules, including periodic drug testing, can result in removal from the program, reinstatement of original charges, additional jail time and/or probation.

Shock Incarceration

Shock Incarceration is a prison program which resembles a military-stile boot camp and can be offered as an accelerated alternative to mandatory minimums for convicted drug felonies. The program is extremely strict, both in terms of who is eligible to participate, as well as in the conditions that are imposed during the program.

There are specific eligibility requirements. Primary requirements include that a person must never have been convicted of a violent felony offense, be within 36 months of their earliest release date, and under the age of 40. Those who graduate from Shock Incarceration are eligible to be released with time served upon completion, often reducing jail or prison time substantially. Although a judge can order that a person be placed in the Shock incarceration program, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) largely controls who is eligible and who is actually offered to participate in the program. Not all eligible inmates are offered an opportunity to enroll in Shock, and many who do are unable to complete the rigorous program.

When eligible, our criminal defense lawyers make the case that the individual is a worthy candidate for Drug Court or Shock Incarceration program and advocate for the defendant every step of the way.

Aggressive, Compassionate Representation

Our New York drug charges attorneys are sensitive to the impact of addiction and how drug charges impact the defendant and their families. We are compassionate and understanding when interacting with our clients. But make no mistake, we are extremely aggressive and confident when advocating for them to prosecutors and courts. Every client comes to us innocent. They are presumed innocent and it is up to the state to try to prove otherwise. We work to prevent them from doing that.

Free Drug Case Consultation

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy also represents clients with the following criminal charges:

A trusted New York drug charges attorney at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy represents defendants in courts throughout the greater Upstate New York District Region.

Contact Us Now to request a free case analysis or schedule a confidential in-person meeting with an attorney at one of our four convenient offices in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs.

For urgent situations, please call us now: (518) 284-3183

Our defense attorneys are always available to clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even on holidays. We are here to help.

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    “The very best service you could ask for. I was treated with so much kindness and understanding of my situation, and I will always treasure that.”

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