Criminal Sale of Marijuana

CHARGES RELATING TO THE SALE OF MARIJUANA IN NEW YORK: NEW YORK PENAL LAW §§ 221.35, et seq.

The elements of all charges relating to marijuana sales in New York are the same with the exception that the degree of the offense is correlated to the weight of the marijuana sold. In order to be convicted for selling any quantity of marijuana, the prosecutor is required to prove that you exchanged a quantity of marijuana for an amount of money. Generally, the NYPD will either observe a sale of what they suspect to be marijuana, or they will use an undercover detective or confidential informant to purchase marijuana from someone they suspect to be a seller, and then arrest the seller and recover any marijuana they can. The NYPD will then test the seized substance to determine if it is marijuana, determine the aggregate weight of what was recovered, and the prosecutor will charge a defendant based on that weight. It is important to note that a prosecutor can only bring charges based on the weight of substances recovered. The prosecutor cannot claim that only a certain percentage of the marijuana sold was recovered, and charge a more serious degree of the crime based on an estimate as to the weight of the marijuana not recovered.

There are five degrees of Criminal Sale of Marijuana, and each level of offense pertains to a certain aggregate weight of marijuana; as the weight of marijuana sold gets higher, the degree of the charges increase. The lowest level offense, Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fifth Degree, is a class B misdemeanor, and can be charged when an individual sells a single marijuana cigarette. The maximum penalty is 90 days jail. NYPL § 221.10.

Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree is a class A misdemeanor, and covers the sale of any amount of marijuana in excess of one marijuana cigarette. The maximum penalty is one year jail. NYPL § 221.15.

Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Third Degree is a class E felony, and can be charged when the amount of marijuana sold exceeds 25 grams (as a reference, 25 grams is .055 lbs). The maximum penalty is one and one half years. NYPL § 221.20.

Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Second Degree is a class D felony, and can be charged when the amount sold exceeds four ounces (one-quarter lb). The maximum penalty is two and one half years. NYPL § 221.25.

Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the First Degree is a class C felony, and can be charged when the amount sold exceeds 16 ounces (one lb). The maximum penalty is five and one half years. NYPL § 221.30.

If you have been charged with selling marijuana, it is vitally important to retain an attorney who has experience defending marijuana cases. Having a lawyer who understands how the weight of the marijuana recovered dictates what can be charged, as well as the intricacies of search and seizure issues may be the difference between significant jail time and the dismissal of charges.

The marijuana possession and sale attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have years of experience successfully litigating marijuana cases, and are experts at suppressing illegally seized contraband. If you have been charged with selling marijuana, we will fight to preserve your rights and ensure that no unlawfully obtained evidence can be used to convict you. Call our office today at (212) 581-1001 for a free case evaluation.