Skip to Content

Understanding Drug Charges and Penalties in New York


The potential penalties and consequences for drug possession charges in New York are serious which is why accused individuals should be familiar with the elements of the crime of drug possession that must be proved against them to face a conviction for drug charges. It is also important for accused individuals to understand that the prosecution is required to prove the elements of a drug possession crime against the accused individual beyond a reasonable doubt.

The elements of a drug possession charge include that the substance was a controlled substance; the accused individual possessed the controlled substance; the accused individual knowingly possessed the controlled substance; and the possession of the controlled substance was unlawful. Penalties for drug possession in New York range from one and a half years in prison to 20 years in prison and a fine ranging from $15,000 to $100,000.

Potential penalties and consequences for drug possession charges are both stiff and harsh which is why those facing them need to understand their criminal defense rights and protections. Drug charges are like any criminal charges and require a strong criminal defense strategy. The accused individual’s criminal defense strategy is based on the unique situation but may focus on procedural violations committed by authorities or that the elements of the crime are not met.

Whatever the circumstances are that the accused individual is facing, it is essential for them to be familiar with their criminal defense rights. The criminal justice system has a number of important protections built in for accused individuals to be familiar with and to know how to exercise.

Source:, “New York Drug Possession Laws,” Accessed Oct. 5, 2017