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What Are the Penalties for Drug Trafficking Charges in New York?

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines drug trafficking as “a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws.” In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Agency investigates drug trafficking, and New York considers drug trafficking to be a major felony drug offense.

New York has some of the toughest, most complex drug laws in the United States, with dozens of different classes of crimes that encompass not just drugs like heroin and cocaine, but also the compounds needed to manufacture them. Please keep reading to inform yourself on New York drug trafficking laws, and get in touch with a Rockland County drug crimes attorney if you need help navigating these difficult charges.

What Are New York Drug Trafficking Laws and Penalties?

New York State has very strict drug laws. There are half a dozen different classifications of felonies for drug possession, and five different classifications of felonies for sales of a controlled substance.

Drug trafficking is classified as a major felony under NY Penal Law section 220.77. Someone can be considered a drug trafficker in New York if:

  • They sell at least $75,000 in controlled substances
  • They sell drugs with combined sales of $75,000 or more
  • They have had possession of drugs with a combined value of $75,000 or more within six months

In a case involving the fifth-degree sale of a controlled substance, the lowest punishment involved, the prosecution does not need to prove that the defendant knew how much of the substance they sold. The prosecution also does not need to prove the defendant had physical possession of the substance or ever delivered it.

What the prosecution does need to prove is:

  • The unlawful sale of a controlled substance
  • The defendant’s knowledge that it was a controlled substance
  • The defendant’s specific intent to transfer possession of the substance
  • And the defendant’s ability to do so.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, a large part of the prosecution’s job may be accomplished by showing the defendant intentionally made an offer to sell and could do so, regardless of whether the actual transaction took place.

In New York, all convictions for the sale of a controlled substance are felonies. Those considered “non-major drug traffickers” face a minimum of 8 years to 20 years, plus 5 years of supervision after their release. New York law punishes a person as a “second felony drug offender” if they are now convicted of a drug felony and had in the last 10 years been sentenced for a felony, not counting time in jail. Finally, major drug traffickers will face 15 years in prison with a maximum possible term of life in prison.

A Rockland County Drug Crimes Can Help

If you’ve been charged with drug trafficking, contact the law office of Kevin T. Conway right away. These are serious crimes and we will do all that we can to have the charges dismissed.

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