Drug crimes in New York have the potential to affect your life in many ways. You may end up losing your freedoms and going to jail, or you could end up paying thousands of dollars in fines and fees.
What's most important for people to know is what it takes to obtain a conviction. It's impossible for the prosecution to get a conviction without the right evidence or support for their claims. For example, there can be an accusation that you had heroin in your possession, but if the evidence goes missing, there's nothing that the prosecution can do to hold you accountable.
What does it take to obtain a conviction?
For the prosecution to obtain a conviction, they'll need to prove four things. These include:
- Proof that there was a controlled substance present
- Proof that the possession of the substance was unlawful
- Proof that the person accused knew the substance was in their possession
- Proof that the defendant possessed the substance
To obtain the proof needed, the authorities need to provide evidence from the scene or other evidence collected over time. For instance, someone who is part of a drug ring might be accused and arrested following a sting operation. The authorities would have evidence such as phone contacts, dates and times of exchanges, photos and videos.
What happens if you're convicted of a drug crime?
It depends on the drug. If you are convicted of a class A-1 felony, which is given for the possession of at least 8 ounces of a narcotic or up to 5,760 milligrams of methadone, then you can face up to 20 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
This is the most significant drug penalty in New York for simple possession. Other felonies, classed as B or E felonies, can lead to fines of up to $30,000 and up to nine years in prison.
In some cases, it's possible to avoid prison as a penalty, especially if you are convicted of a lower felony. Drug courts are now in place across the United States. These help individuals facing drug charges because they provide an option for alternative sentencing.
Alternative sentences might include higher fines but a chance to go through drug addiction treatment, which is what many people need to stop the cycle of addiction and get back to their normal lives.
Whatever the case is, your attorney will help you protect yourself. You should get to know the laws and the charges you face, so you can create a strong defense.