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Can I Go To Jail For Selling Things On TikTok?


TikTok has become one of the most controversial social media platforms in the United States, but it remains a popular choice for New York residents. People use this platform for all kinds of things, including business endeavors. But is it illegal to sell items on TikTok in New York? Does the government’s strong stance against TikTok make criminal charges more likely? These are questions you might want to ask an experienced criminal defense lawyer in New York.

Selling Items on TikTok Is Perfectly Legal 

There is nothing illegal or suspicious about selling items on TikTok. The social media platform has extensive e-commerce features and actively encourages its users to create businesses. That being said, New York has its own unique laws regarding online sales. You may need to register with the Tax Department before making your first sale.

Authorities Are Cracking Down on Illegal TikTok Sales 

While there are plenty of people running legitimate e-commerce businesses in New York, others use the platform to sell various illegal items – primarily drugs and guns. In many cases, users openly advertise these items without even making an effort to disguise their activities. In other cases, users attempt to cover their tracks by selling their items under different labels. For example, a TikTok drug dealer might label a pack of cocaine as “coffee.”

Another popular item is an auto sear – also known as a “chip” on the black market. The authorities call them “machine gun conversion kits,” and they are highly illegal. If you sell or purchase one of these items through TikTok, authorities will view this in exactly the same way as machine gun ownership. As a result, you will face a federal charge for each auto sear you possess – and potentially decades in prison.

If you sell drugs online and someone else overdoses, it may be easier for the authorities to track you down via TikTok. In 2023, TikTok star Cooper Noriega died from an overdose. For years, the DEA has been calling on TikTok to address illegal drug sales on its platform, claiming that these sales lead directly to overdoses.

Even Legal Items Sold on TikTok Can Lead to Criminal Charges 

Even if you sell items that seem legal on TikTok, you might still face criminal charges. In May of 2024, it was reported that a New York woman had been selling contaminated weight loss drugs on TikTok. Those who purchased the drugs from this individual developed bacterial infections and lesions, which authorities described as “life-threatening.” She was subsequently charged with smuggling, misbranding drugs in interstate commerce, and other crimes. Perhaps most notably, undercover officers tracked her down on TikTok before arresting her.

Find a Qualified Defense Lawyer in Rockland County 

If you’re serious about fighting TikTok charges in New York, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. With our assistance, you can strive for positive results. Selling items on TikTok might seem suspicious to law enforcement officials, but there is nothing inherently illegal about using social media for business purposes. To discuss criminal defense strategies in more detail, contact criminal defense lawyer Phillip J. Murphy today.




Contact Our Firm

Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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New City, New York 10956

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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