New York Prescription Drug Crimes: FAQ

Is it illegal to have someone else's prescription drugs?

It depends on the circumstances. In general, it is a crime in New York to possess a prescription drug that was not prescribed to you, as long as that prescription drug is listed as a Controlled Substance under the Public Health Law in New York. However, all criminal charges for possessing prescription drugs in New York require that the person who possesses them knows that they possess them. Practically speaking, if a person is holding a prescription for their spouse or child or other close relation, it would be very unusual for criminal charges to be sustained against that person.

Is it a felony to share prescription drugs?

Yes. In New York, sharing prescription drugs with another person is considered a “sale” of a controlled substance, which is typically a D felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, PL 220.31 or the B felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, PL 220.39.

Are prescription drugs illegal in NY?

In New York, if you are in possession of prescription drugs for which you do not have a valid prescription, it is generally a crime. The most typical charge for this is Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, PL 220.03, an A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Anytime you sell prescription drugs unlawfully, it is automatically a felony regardless of how much or whether you are paid in return for giving it to another person.

Is it illegal to give prescription drugs to someone else?

Yes. In New York, giving prescription drugs to another person is considered a “sale” of a controlled substance, even if no money is exchanged, which is typically a D felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, PL 220.31 or the B felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, PL 220.39.

What is the penalty for having someone else's prescription?

In New York, if you are in possession of prescription drugs for which you do not have a valid prescription, it is generally a crime. The most typical charge for this is Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, an A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Call the New York State criminal defense lawyers and former New York City prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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