New York Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute Lawyer

New York’s drug laws are some of the most complex in the nation. Just like everywhere else, the mere possession of a controlled substance is illegal. People being charged with the intent to distribute an illegal substance are charged using one of the criminal possession statutes. A conviction under any of these statutes counts as a felony with the potential for serious prison time.

A New York drug possession with intent to distribute lawyer can help you defend your rights and reputation in a narcotics case. An experienced possession attorney can help you seek the outcome you desire. 

Understanding Criminal Drug Possession Laws

New York prosecutors use criminal drug possession laws when charging an individual with possession with the intent to distribute. The simplest example of this is Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth-Degree under New York Penal Law §220.06. It explains that guilt of a Class D felony is the possession of any controlled substance, sometimes despite quantity.

More serious charges result if the drugs being allegedly sold are narcotics. New York Penal Law §220.16 makes this a Class B felony. Narcotics are defined under New York law as including opiates, hallucinogens, cocaine, and PCP. A conviction under either of these provisions is a felony. Class D felonies carry a maximum prison sentence of seven years. Class B felonies increase this maximum penalty to 25 years.

How do Prosecutors Pursue Intent to Distribute Charges?

Criminal charges that rely on mere intent can be difficult to prove. Essentially, the prosecutor is asking the jury to assume what the defendant was thinking prior to the arrest. Often, the prosecutor’s case usually relies on circumstantial evidence. As a New York drug possession with intent to distribute lawyer knows, this can include:

  • Anonymous tips concerning the defendant
  • Large amounts of money found in the possession of the defendant upon arrest
  • Search warrants that reveal packaging materials like scales, plastic bags, or twist-ties

Because of the circumstantial and potentially damaging nature of this evidence, it is critical to an effective defense for the defendant to ensure the police work in the case was properly handled.

Search and Seizure Rights

Everyone has the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures. This includes the right to privacy in one’s own home. Police searches conducted without a warrant are illegal, and the evidence gained in these searches is inadmissible.A defendant cannot be searched in public if they are not witnessed committing a crime. A police officer cannot approach someone as they walk down the street and order them to empty their pockets, no matter how suspicious the officer thinks the person looks.

Many personal searches result from traffic stops or other minor violations allow the police to conduct a body search or frisk a suspect. One potential strategy for the defense in such a case can be to argue that the stop should not have been made in the first place. If upheld, this would disallow any evidence or charges resulting from the search.

Seeking the Advice From a Lawyer

Drug cases are always among the most complex in New York’s criminal courts. The cases become even more complicated if the prosecutor is attempting to convict a defendant with intent to distribute. To do so, the prosecutor will likely rely on indirect evidence since there are usually no witnesses to an actual sale.

A New York drug possession with intent to distribute lawyer could work to discredit this evidence and disprove the prosecutor’s case. From the initial arraignment through pre-trial hearings to the final trial date, every day that passes may be vital to a powerful defense.