Criminal Sale and Unlawful Possession of Prescription Stimulants: NY Penal Law Article 220 Crimes
I’ve been arrested for selling Adderall (Adys, Bennies, Jelly Beans, Study Aids, Focus Pills, etc.) in Manhattan, what criminal charges can I face for this prescription drug crime? The police bought only a little Ritalin (Kibbles and Bits, Pineapple, Vitamin R, Smarties, etc.) from me while at a bar in Brooklyn, can I be charged with a felony prescription medication crime? Is it illegal to possess Dexedrine (Dexies, White Crosses, etc.) if I don’t have, and never had, a prescription from my doctor or any physician at all? All reasonable questions, you likely find yourself asking this question to a criminal defense lawyer because you are either concerned you are the target of a law enforcement investigation or the police have already arrested you. Simply, Stimulants such as Amphetamine, Methylphenidate, Dextroamphetamine, Methamphetamine, Phenmetrazine and Lisdexamfetamine are all considered Schedule II Drugs as defined in the New York State Public Health Law Section 3306. While you are encouraged to read further, know that all the above are New York prescription medication crimes and you should be neither shocked nor surprised when you stand before a New York criminal court judge as he or she considers setting bail.
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If it is not overwhelmingly clear as to the magnitude of potential criminal charges you may face or the severity of your arrest, know that the unlawful possession and sale of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of these substances that have a stimulant effect on the central nervous system, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, is a crime. While simple personal use and unlawful possession by an addict or abuser of a few stimulants may ‘only” be a misdemeanor violation of New York Penal Law 220.03, should you unlawfully sell just one single Adderall pill, for example, the law allows the District Attorney to prosecute you for a class “B” felony, New York Penal Law 220.39. Further, depending on the amount or weight you have of Amphetamines, Methylphenidates, Dextroamphetamines, Methamphetamines, Phenmetrazines and Lisdexamfetamines, possession can be elevated to a felony as well. Certainly, intent to sell Dexies, Smarties, or Focus Pills is a felony even if you have what appears to be a relative nominal amount of these drugs, but even without proving intent to sell, if weight thresholds are met, “personal use” can still lead to felony arrests, indictments and prosecutions based on illegal possession of prescription drugs and medications..NY Penal Law Article 220: Crimes for Unlawful Possession and Sale of Stimulants
As briefly noted, if you are arrested for “simple possession” because you knowingly and unlawfully or illegally had a stimulant without a prescription from a doctor or physician, the likely charge would be Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, New York Penal Law 220.03. In such a case, the NYPD, if the case is in the City, may even give you a Desk Appearance Ticket or DAT. This is true if you are caught buying from someone on the street or you emptied your pockets at a Phish concert at MSG. Punishable by a year in jail, remember that a conviction for a misdemeanor is permanent and something you likely must disclose in the professional and immigration context.
- NY Penal Law 220.03: Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
- New York City Desk Appearance Tickets (DATs)
While any arrest demands both your attention that of a criminal defense attorney, in New York where a more nefarious act is called into question, felonies are by far more significant. Like misdemeanors, felony records are permanent. The differences, however, are staggering from loss of many rights to the obliteration of careers and decimation of legal statuses. Equally, if not more concerning, is the exposure to prison upon conviction for a prescription drug possession or sale felony.NY Penal Law Article 220: Felonies for Criminal Possession of Stimulants
Excluding the “serious weight” crimes, a common felony in the realm of prescription drugs is New York Penal Law 220.16(3), Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. If you are convicted of knowingly and unlawfully possessing one gram or more of a stimulant and you have the intent to sell it, you will face one to nine years incarceration. Prosecutors can charge this same class “B” felony, NY Penal Law 220.16(8), without your intent to sell. If the combined weight of the stimulants you knowingly and unlawfully possessed weights five grams or more, the same statute applies.
- NY Penal Law 220.16: Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
Another offense is New York Penal Law 220.09, Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. A class “C” felony, the presumptive minimum is one year in prison and the maximum is five years “upstate.” One possible crime the District Attorney can charge is NY Penal Law 220.09(3) for knowingly and unlawfully possessing a stimulant, without an intent to sell, and those stimulants have an aggregate of one gram or more. If the substance is a Methamphetamine, weighs one eighth of an ounce or more and you have the intent to sell, you would also be charged with NY Penal Law 220.09(2). This latter charge is not a pure weight offense, but aggregates preparations, compounds and mixtures into the weight calculation.
- NY Penal Law 220.09: Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
New York Penal Law 220.06, Fifth Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, is a class “D” felony. Just like all other felony drug crimes, this offense presumptively involves a one year minimum prison sentence upon conviction. Fortunately, as fortunate as one could be if convicted, the maximum prison sentence is two and one half years. Regardless of the weight or amount, even if merely a few pills, if prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed any controlled substance -such as a stimulant – with the intent to sell, you would be guilty of NY Penal Law 220.06(1)
Seeing the consequences of knowingly and unlawfully possessing prescription drugs and medicines in black and white should set off your internal alarms. If you believe you can rationalize your conduct to a criminal court judge, prosecutor, immigration court, college dean, future employer, or licensing agency because the drug in question was not cocaine or heroin, you are as naïve as you are wrong. New York law enforcement takes the illegal possession of Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine and other stimulants extremely seriously.NY Penal Law Article 220: Felonies for Criminal Sale of Stimulants
The criminal sale of a stimulant drug follows the same punishment and sentencing guidelines as the unlawful possession crimes. This means that where both offenses of sale and possession are class “D,” “C” or “B” felonies, the same parameters for sentencing exist. With that said, if you sell any stimulant that is a prescription drug, regardless of the amount, the police will arrest you for and the District Attorney will charge you with New York Penal Law 220.31(1), Fifth Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance. If this sale occurs on school grounds or if you conducted your transaction on the grounds of a child daycare center or facility (with evidence of knowledge as to this second crime), you will have your crime raised from the class “C” felony of Fifth Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance to Fourth Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance pursuant to New York Penal Law 220.34(7) and New York Penal Law 220.34(8) respectively. Again, to make sure you full grasp what this means, should your crime be bumped up, instead of two and a half years in prison, you would face five.
- NY Penal Law 220.31: Fifth Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance
- NY Penal Law 220.34: Fourth Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance
- NY Penal Law 220.39: Third Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance
Location aside, if the total weight of the stimulants you unlawfully sell is a gram ore more, then the last thing you should be is shocked when prosecutors threaten going to a Grand Jury on the charge of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 220.39(3). Like the major leagues when compared to the minors, a conviction could land you in a penitentiary for nine years.NY Penal Law Article 220: Defenses for Criminal Sale of Stimulants
The abuse of stimulants like Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin is just as insidious as any addiction or recreational use of other controlled substances. While certain drugs – both prescription medicines and those solely trafficked in the streets – may have more addictive and destructive traits, prosecutors are armed with numerous felonies to throw you – the accused – into prison on felony unlawful possession and criminal sales. Are you an addict or an abuser, not a trafficker or distributer? Did the police jump to a conclusion that you were both knowing and unlawful in your possession of the controlled substance in question? Simply, was the possession of these illegal stimulants on your person or is law enforcement relying on a flawed theory of acting in concert or constructive possession.
The potential defenses are as different as each set of facts. From challenging search warrants to search and seizure and Miranda warnings to probable cause, defenses run the gamut of approaches. What doesn’t change is that you must lift yourself up, face the crimes of your arrest and allow knowledge, advocacy and experience to be your guide. Failure to do so will bring you that much closer to incarceration without the possibility of exoneration, a better “deal,” treatment, diversion, shock incarceration or some other resolution that doesn’t leave you a shell of a person with a tainted future. Be neither idle nor unsure. Identity and implement your best defense and contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law before the time to do so is lost.
Call the New York criminal lawyers and former New York City prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.