Have you been arrested for drug possession in New York City?
Every drug crimes case is different, but they are all complex and you need an experienced criminal attorney fighting for your rights. State and federal authorities take drug related offenses very seriously and you do not want to be on the receiving end of a drug crime prosecution. If you are in such an unfortunate situation, you need to seek counsel immediately. It is also advisable to avoid making any statements to the police, friends or family without talking with a qualified criminal defense attorney first.
Punishments for drug crimes vary widely and many drug crimes are classified as felony offenses. Even if the amount of drugs in your possession was small and you only face a misdemeanor, you want a qualified and compassionate criminal lawyer working on your behalf.
New York drug laws are extraordinarily tough and there are several things you need to consider when hiring a criminal defense lawyer.
- Make sure your defense lawyer knows the ins and outs of both state and federal drug laws
- Understand that being found guilty of a felony drug charge can alter your life forever. Many employers require a background check and periodic drug screening for their employees. A felony on your record could prevent you from being hired or result in termination from your current employer.
- Be aware that misdemeanor or felony drug charges can also impinge on your home life and your relationships with loved ones. If you have children or have been divorced, a drug conviction can affect access to your children and visitation rights.
- Most felony drug offenses carry a prison sentence, and may subject you to mandatory minimum sentencing. This is an incredibly harsh form of punishment that you want to avoid at all costs.
What types of drug charges are there in the state of New York?
Drug trafficking, possession or distribution violations are categorized by the severity of the crime. The severity ranges from a misdemeanor to felony and felonies are further broken down into “classes” depending on the amount of narcotics in your possession and your intended purpose for the drugs.
- Having two ounces or more of an illegal substance is a Class A felony in the state of New York. A Class A felony subjects you to a mandatory minimum of fifteen years in prison if convicted. In this case there is no room for judicial discretion!
- There are no mandatory minimums for lesser drug crimes for first-time offenders, but you could still face significant jail time if found guilty.
- If you have also been charged with drug trafficking or the intent to sell, there are severely harsh penalties, including jail time and fines. This is especially true if you have previous convictions for drug related crime(s).
- If you are an addict or otherwise habitual drug user then you may be sent to a rehabilitation program or a drug treatment center instead of prison, subject to the judge’s discretion.
This is not an exhaustive list and should not substitute for the advice of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Whether you are facing charges for trafficking large amounts of drugs or you are an addict who can’t escape the overwhelming and crippling disease of addiction, you need a compassionate and understanding attorney fighting for your rights and your freedom.
Marijuana is treated differently than other controlled substances
Generally speaking, marijuana use or possession is not subject to the harsh penalties that apply to other controlled substances.
- Technically, marijuana is not treated as a controlled substance unless it is in a concentrated form.
- Marijuana crimes are still serious, especially if the amount possessed, transported or sold is large.
- Possession of marijuana usually results in less serious criminal charges than does sale of marijuana. Obviously, there are exceptions to this general rule. For example: possessing 15 pounds of marijuana will be more serious than selling a few grams. Possession of a small amount on your person or in your home will likely be treated as no more than a “violation”. This is on the same level as a traffic ticket.
Can you help me if I’m being charged with federal drug charges?
Many drug charges will be prosecuted by the federal government if you have been accused of trafficking in certain controlled substances or if the amount of drugs is quite large. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has been prosecuting a “war on drugs” for many years and they take drug trafficking and smuggling very seriously. Even if a state has relaxed its laws in regard to certain drugs such as marijuana, the federal government has thus far refused to do the same with its laws and regulations.
George Vomvolakis has practiced before both state and federal criminal courts for many years. He knows how the federal government builds its case against those accused of drug crimes and he knows how to fight those allegations. There are several reasons for hiring a criminal defense attorney who is well versed in federal criminal law:
- Federal law is extremely complex and uses a different set of evidentiary rules than the state of New York (the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure)
- In many cases federal prosecutors have far more resources than their state level counterparts and they can mount a much more extensive investigation and thorough prosecution of your actions
- Unlike state level offenses, parole is not available for federal offenses. A conviction at the federal level can have lifelong implications for you.
What are some potential defenses to drug crimes charges?
Only an experienced and qualified attorney who keeps up with new developments in state legislation and case law can raise the most effective defenses on your behalf. Depending on your individual circumstances, some of these defenses may include:
- Challenging the sufficiency of the warrant that led the police to find the contraband. Asserting that police did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to search your person, vehicle or home
- Mitigating the punishment that you face by arguing that you did not have the intent to sell, transport or traffic the narcotics found in your possession
- Argue that you were “entrapped” and would not have engaged in the criminal drug activity without the encouragement or assistance of law enforcement officers
- Fight the charges based on the fact that a police informant did not have sufficient knowledge of your activities or fabricated the basis for his information against you.
You need an experienced attorney who can determine the best course of action for your particular case and circumstances. Whether you are facing state or federal charges, a misdemeanor or felony, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney working to protect your rights and reputation. The Law Offices of George Vomvolakis will fight hard on your behalf and make sure you receive the justice to which you are entitled. Call today for a free consultation!