New City Drug Possession Attorney
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have strict laws when it comes to being found in possession of illegal drugs. It does not matter what the drug is – marijuana, methamphetamines, crack, cocaine, heroin, prescription pills, pain killers, and other controlled substances – and there are harsh punishments for those individuals who are charged with a drug offense. If you have been charged with drug possession, you need a criminal defense lawyer by your side as you deal with your charges.
By way of example, drug possession charges in New York are broken down into two groups: possession of marijuana under New York Penal Code Article 221 and possession of controlled substances under New York Penal Code Article 220. Whether you were in possession of marijuana or controlled substances, the element of the crime of drug possession are the same.
In order to be convicted for drug possession in New York and most other states, it must be shown by the prosecution that:
- The criminal defendant knowingly possessed the drug;
- The drug is in fact a drug;
- The criminal defendant was in possession of the drug (possession could be actual possession or constructive possession); and
- The drug possession was unlawful.
Each and every element above must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted. This means that if you lacked knowledge that the drugs were in your possession, if the drug was not in fact an illegal substance, if you were not actually in possession of the drug, or if you have a legally valid reason for being in possession of a drug or controlled substance (i.e., you have a legitimate prescription of a controlled substance), then you may have a defense to the drug possession charges that are pending against you. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer serving the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas immediately if you or a loved one has been charged with drug possession.
Actual And Constructive Possession of Drugs
Possession of drugs can be established in one of two ways: either the criminal defendant had actual possession of the drugs, or constructive possession of the drugs. Actual possession means that the criminal defendant had the drugs on their person. This could mean that the drugs were found in the defendant’s pocket, sock, or purse or backpack that the defendant is carrying. Constructive possession means that the the criminal defendant does not necessarily have the drugs on them at the time they are found, but the drugs are found in a location where it is clear that the drugs belong to the defendant. For instance, a defendant may have constructive possession of drugs that are found in their living room or the trunk of their car.
Drug possession charges are serious, which means that if you are convicted, you will have a criminal record with lasting implications. It is important that you fight the drug possession charges that are pending against you. Reach out to the office of Phillip Murphy for a consultation and to learn how we can fight the charges together.
Drug Possession With The Intent to Distribute
Drug possession charges can be extremely serious, but if you are charged with the intent to distribute you could face far more severe consequences than if you were only facing drug possession charges alone. Indeed, the charge of drug possession with the intent to distribute means you are accused of being a drug dealer, i.e., you have the intention of selling illegal drugs to others.
A conviction for a drug crime such as drug possession with the intent to distribute can land you in jail for many years, and will result in you having a criminal record. That is why it is so important to fight drug charges of any degree with the assistance of an experienced drug offenses lawyer in the area.
What Types of Things Suggest Intent To Distribute?
If you are caught in possession of drugs or controlled substances with additional paraphernalia that would suggest an intent to sell, you could be charged with intent to distribute. Police can draw inferences from several types of clues that might suggest you plan on distributing. These clues include:
- Possession of bulk quantities of drugs;
- Possession of scales, and other measuring instruments for divvying up individual portions of drugs for sale;
- Small baggies, vials or other packaging materials;
- Large sums of cash in small denominations;
- Having more paraphernalia than one would normally use for personal use of drugs, i.e., large quantities of razor blades, packaged disposable syringes, etc.;
- Being caught making other drug sales;
- Getting caught negotiating a drug sale with an undercover police officer; and
- You made incriminating statements to police, an undercover officer or the prosecution.
What Quantity of Drugs Is Enough To Establish Intent to Distribute?
While being found in possession of a small quantity of drugs is generally considered by police to be for personal use, being caught with a large quantity of drugs is more likely to get you charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute. However, there is no specific quantity of drugs that you could possess that would automatically classify you as a drug dealer.
The statute for drug possession with the intent to distribute does not specify any quantities or amounts of drugs that a criminal defendant must possess in order to activate the provisions of the law. Rather, each case is a judgement call made by law enforcement officers that generally depends on the types of drugs involved. For example, getting caught with ten Oxycodone pills could be a sufficient amount of controlled substance to justify a drug possession with intent to distribute charge.
This is a tough charge to face because it does not matter whether you had any intention of selling the drugs that were in your possession. Police can draw suspicion of your intention from circumstances and inferences. It is important that you fight the drug charges that you are up against. Contact attorney Phillip Murphy for a consultation today and to learn how we can assist you throughout each step of your case.