Across the United States, cocaine is recognized as an extremely hazardous drug. It is popular as either powder or crack. Both forms are classed as Schedule II controlled substances: powder and crack have a high probability of abuse and cause intense psychological and physical dependence. New York law considers cocaine a narcotic, for its frequent use as a club drug. Cocaine possession is an extremely serious crime across the country and certainly in New York. The New York Penal Code authorizes long prison sentences, even up to two decades. And given that federal law still applies, you may face federal charges on top of state charges, if you are convicted of cocaine possession in New York.
If you’ve been accused of cocaine possession, read this blog post thoroughly so that you can understand the kinds of penalties you may encounter at a state and federal level. Once you’ve done so, keep in mind that a New City cocaine possession attorney would fight at your side to get you the best possible outcome.
New York State Penalties for Cocaine Possession
The Empire State recognizes six different cocaine possession offenses for different quantities of cocaine. These may be as little as a class A misdemeanor up to as much as an A-I felony. The severity of the penalties increases as the charges increase. The six quantities charged under New York law are:
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree: This charge is for less than 500 milligrams of cocaine, and is the aforementioned class A misdemeanor. If you are accused of this, you may spend up to a year in jail, and if you are a first-time offender, you may qualify for one of New York State’s jail alternatives. New York has Drug Treatment Courts as another sentencing option. Drug Treatment Courts exist for rehabilitative purposes, in recognition of the fact that addiction is the root cause of most drug offenses.
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree: This charge is for when the amount of cocaine is 500 milligrams or more but less than an ⅛ of an ounce. A fifth-degree charge like this is a class D felony and can lead to seven years in prison.
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree: A class C felony, this charge applies when someone has ⅛ to under ½ of an ounce of cocaine or a cocaine mixture. Someone convicted of this charge may spend up to 15 years in prison.
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree: This is a class B felony for when a person has between ½ of an ounce to under four ounces. Increasing from the previous charges, this charge carries the possibility of 25 years in prison.
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree: This class A-II felony charge happens when an individual has more than four ounces but less than eight ounces. This charge can lead to life imprisonment and a fine of $50,000.
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree: This is the most severe cocaine possession charge, used when someone has eight or more ounces of cocaine or a cocaine mixture. This is a class A-I felony that threatens possible life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.
Federal Penalties for Cocaine Possession
Now we’ll address federal penalties for cocaine possession under 21 U.S.C. Section 844. First offenders can expect a year in prison and a fine of at least $1,000, second offenders 15 days to two years in prison and a fine of at least $2,500, and third offenders 90 days to three years in prison and a fine of at least $5,000.