Unlawful Possession and Criminal Sale of Prescription Drugs

Adderall. Oxycodone. Klonopin. Xanax. Percocet. Opana. Demerol. Dexedrine. Ritalin. Suboxone. Make no mistake and have no misgivings. Prescription drug abuse and the trafficking of prescription medicine is a kick in the teeth that will leave you with as much pain as it will regret. Learn it the hard way with a New York criminal lawyer at your side fighting for your rights and future or seek out help and knowledge before finding yourself standing in front of a criminal court judge as he or she sentences you to a cold, lonely and violent existence in prison. The unlawful and illegal possession and sale of prescription drugs including opioids, narcotics, depressants, and stimulants is a crime pursuant to New York Penal Law Article 220. While possession for personal use may be “only” a misdemeanor of Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, New York Penal Law 220.03, should you sell one “Study Aid,” “Zanz,” “Berry,” “Roxi,” “Blue Bus,” “Perc” or any prescription medication, you have gone from the misdemeanor realm of New York Controlled Substance crimes and exposed yourself to felony offenses involving Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance.

Regardless of one’s personal views about drug crimes, even the lowest degree felony drug possession or sale is a class “D” offense. As New York prescription drug defense lawyers and controlled substance defense attorneys, if there is one warning or piece of advice you should heed in the event the police are at your door or you have been taken into custody, do not shy away from exercising your legal rights to best limit your criminal exposure going forward. Even if the time for abstinence has passed, it’s never too late to protect your freedom and future. While your precarious situation make look and in fact be dire, know that an accusation is not proof beyond a reasonable. With the right prescription drug defense lawyer, help is on its way.

Unlawful Sale and Possession of Prescription Drugs: Criminal Charges

All crimes involving selling drugs, controlled substances and narcotics, prescription or otherwise, are found in New York Penal Law Article 220. The exception to this are those offenses relating to marijuana. Marijuana crimes are distinct offenses codified in New York Penal Law Article 221. As noted above, other than unlawfully possessing a prescription drug for personal use in violation of Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, any other illegal possession is and all sales are felonious. Theories for these possession crimes can involve intent to sell and weight of the controlled substance. Moreover, where prescription drugs and medications are unlawfully sold can also increase penalties.

  • NY Penal Law 220.03 Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • NY Penal Law 220.06: Fifth Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • NY Penal Law 220.09: Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • NY Penal Law 220.16: Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • 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
  • NY Penal Law 220.44: Third Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance (School)

It is critical to recognize that when charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance or Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance, it is of no consequence if you trafficked or had three Addys, a half a dozen Roxis and a bit of heroin to top things off. In the eyes of the New York criminal law, each tab, pill or deck is not charged separately outside of certain circumstances. If prosecutors can establish an intent to sell or weight crime, as long as the drugs in questions are scheduled the same they would be lumped together within their respective charges and not broken down to each particular controlled substance. That said, if some of the prescription drugs are narcotics while others are depressants, the District Attorney can elevate charges and present different degree crimes to the Grand Jury.

Unlawful Sale and Possession of Prescription Drugs: Types of Prescription Drugs

Whether Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance or Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance, unlike cocaine and heroin that by is nature is never legally possessed by “regular” people, there are three general classifications of drugs that can lead to criminal charges if knowingly and unlawfully possessed, trafficked or distributed. These dugs include opiates, depressants and stimulants.

NY Penal Law Control Substances: Opioids

  • Fentanyl: Prescribed as Duragesic, Sublimaze and Subsys. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Apache, China Girl, Goodfellas, He-Man, Jackpot, and Tango & Cash.
  • Hydrocodone: Prescribed as Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet and Tramadol. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Hydro, Norco, Vikes, Tabs, 357s, Vics, Watson-387, and Loris.
  • Oxycodone: Prescribed as OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet, Endocet, Trozyca and Percodan. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Percs, Percodoms, 512s, OC, and Blue.
  • Oxymorphone: Prescribed as Darvon and Opana. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Blue Heaven, New Blues, Octagons, Stop Signs, Mrs. O and O Bombs.
  • Hydromorphone: Prescribed as Dilaudid. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Dust, Dillies, D and Footballs.
  • Meperidine: Prescribed as Demerol. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Demmies, Pethidine, Mapergan, and Meperdine.
  • Diphenoxylate: Prescribed as Lomotil and Diocalm.

NY Penal Law Control Substances: Depressants

  • Pentobarbital Sodium: Prescribed as Phenobarbital and Nembutal. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Nebbies, Newmbies, Nemmies, Yellow Dolls, Barbs, Goof Balls, Christmas Trees, Jackets and Abbots.
  • Diazepam: Prescribed as Valium, Diastat, Diazepam and Inensol. Unlawfully possessed and sold as V’s, Benzos, Downers, Foofoo, Howards, Ludes, Tranks, Old Joes and Drunk Pills.
  • Alprazolam and Benzodiazepine: Prescribed as Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Xannies, Zannies, Benzos, Zanbars, Upjohns, Totem Poles, Blue Footballs and Roofies.
  • Zolpidem Tartrate: Prescribed as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Forget-me Pill, Mexican Valium, R2 and Roche.
  • Sertraline: Prescribed as Zoloft.

NY Penal Law Control Substances: Stimulants

  • Dextroamphetamine: Prescribed as Dexedrine. Unlawfully possessed and sold as White Crosses and Dexies.
  • Methylphenidate: Prescribed as Ritalin and Concerta. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Kibbles and Bits, R-ball, Pineapple, Vitamin R, Skittles, Smarties, Diet Coke.
  • Amphetamines: Prescribed as Adderall, Aminorex, Cathinone, Dexadrine, Ritalin, and Concerta. Unlawfully possessed and sold as Ampes, Bennies, Jelly Beans, Focus Pills, Study Aids, Zing and Addys.

A mere fraction of prescription drugs, controlled substances, narcotics and other medicines illegally distributed, unlawfully sold and wrongfully possessed throughout New York City, the Hudson Valley and the State of New York, opiate, narcotic, depressant and stimulant abuse is as tragic as it is serious. As such, both the police and prosecutors, coupled with the firm hand of a judge, will not hesitate to force the full weight of the law down upon you.

Unlawful Sale and Possession of Prescription Drugs: Potential Sentences

Brace yourself as best you can if you are arrested for any prescription drug felony in New York whether its Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx or a suburban municipality in Rockland, Westchester, Putnam or Dutchess Counties. Any competent and experienced New York criminal defense lawyer will advise you of the potential consequences and punishment for a felony prescription drug sale or unlawful possession of a prescription medicine conviction. Simply, to say the ramifications are quite serious would not be serving justice to the real-life implications. While there are potential alternatives to incarceration such as judicial diversion, Comprehensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (CASAT), or Shock Incarceration, the legal guideline for every first time felony drug case begins with a presumptive term of one year in prison. Let that settle in for a moment. These sentences also include post release supervision by the State of New York. In other words, even once you are released, you will still be on the “hot seat” and on law enforcement’s “short leash.”

  • 1st Conviction for Class “E” Prescription Drug Felony: 1 to 1.5 Years Prison
  • 1st Conviction for Class “D” Prescription Drug Felony: 1 to 2.5 Years in Prison
  • 1st Conviction for Class “C” Prescription Drug Felony: 1 to 5.5 Years in Prison
  • 1st Conviction for Class “B” Prescription Drug Felony: 1 to 9 Years in Prison
  • New York Controlled Substance Crimes Sentencing Guidelines

Keep in mind that selling controlled substances, which are also prescription drugs, on school grounds will enhance the crime and sentence. For example, an otherwise class “D” felony perpetrated on school grounds gets kicked up to a class “C” felony.

Unlawful Sale and Possession of Prescription Drugs: Collateral Issues

Generally no different than any other crimes, if you are arrested for or convicted of unlawfully and illegally possessing or selling controlled substance that are also prescription medications, the indirect consequences of your alleged actions can be overwhelming even if you avoid incarceration.

For example, if you are legal resident or holder of an H-1B visa or F-1 visa, know that Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance can be deemed both Aggravated Felonies and Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT). Further, if you are a student at a New York college or university such as NYU, Columbia, Fordham, CUNY, St. Johns, Pace or any other school, you could face suspension or expulsion pursuant to the dean’s disciplinary hearing. Even if none of these scenarios apply, your career, licensure, and professional certifications and accreditations can all be on the line. Just ask anyone who has to fill out a U4 pursuant to FINRA’s regulations.

Unlawful Sale and Possession of Prescription Drugs: Potential Defenses

It would certainly make your life easy if all you needed to do was cut and paste “best defense to a prescription drug arrest in New York” or “best New York City prescription medication defense lawyer” into Google and out popped your answer. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system does not work that way whether you are innocent or the evidence against you is overwhelming. However, merely because your case may meander through the court system does not mean you should remain idle in or passive in your defense.

If you sold Adderall, Oxy or another medication to an undercover police officer who found you on Craigslist, distributed or trafficked Percocet or Vicodin and got caught in a buy and bust, or you possessed a stash of Xanax or Ritalin, there are steps you can take to best identify and implement your defense. Did the police execute a search warrant? Were there any informants? Did law enforcement take your phone or did they secure IP information for emails or subscriber information from text communications? If you were stopped in your vehicle or in the street, did the police violate your rights due to an illegal search and seizure? How did the police determine the weight of the controlled substance allegedly sold or in your possession? What other indicia of trafficking or sale was recovered, if any? Lists of clients, significant and similarly sized denominations of cash? Pre-recorded buy money? Baggies? Zips? Did you have a prescription or are you a user really just a user? Maybe the evidence against you is strong, but it is a program and rehabilitation you need, not incarceration.

Whatever the facts and evidence may be, take the steps to protect and defend yourself against the allegations. Let advocacy, experience and knowledge be your guide. Don’t resign yourself to a criminal record or imprisonment and put forth your strongest defense. Contact the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC before your life is mired in regret.

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

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