Criminal Possession in the Second Degree of a Controlled Substance: New York Penal Code § 220.18

Criminal possession in the second degree of a controlled substance is one of several drug possession charges in the Penal Code of New York. The controlled substance does not need to be found on the person; it may be found in a location that is under a person’s control, such as their home, car or place of work. The defendant must have known the whereabouts of the controlled substance to be prosecuted under this penal code.To be charged with criminal possession in the second degree of a controlled substance, the person must unlawfully and knowingly have controlled substances in their possession meeting the criteria below:

  1. At least four ounces of narcotics; or
  2. At least two ounces of methamphetamines; or
  3. At least 10 grams of a stimulant; or
  4. At least 25 milligrams of lysergic acid diethylamide; or
  5. At least 625 milligrams of a hallucinogen; or
  6. At least 25 grams of a hallucinogenic substance; or
  7. At least 2,880 milligrams of methadone.
Hypothetical Case

Suppose the police received information from a person’s neighbors that he had cocaine in his home. They obtained a search warrant based on the tips that were voluntarily given. The police conducted a thorough search of the man’s house and discovered the flour canister in the kitchen had a fair amount of cocaine in it. The man said that he did not know that the cocaine was in the flour canister, and he did not know how it got there. The man was taken to the police department for questioning.

Possible Defenses

Lack Of Probable Cause. New York law requires probable cause before a search may be conducted. Probable cause means that authorities must have reason to suspect that a person has committed a crime or violated the law. If the methods used by the police to find controlled substances were in violation of a person’s rights or was obtained without probable cause, any drugs obtained thereto would not be admissible evidence in a court of law. In the example above, probable cause was attributed to the tips provided by the man’s neighbors which led to the issuance of a search warrant.

Quantity of controlled substance is insufficient. If the defendant can prove that the weight of the controlled substance in his possession was less than that required under this code of the law, then the judge might grant a lesser charge.

No knowledge of the controlled substance. In order to convict, the prosecuting attorney must produce evidence that proves that the defendant was aware of the controlled substance and its location. If the defendant can unequivocally prove that he had no knowledge whatsoever about the controlled substance, then a shadow of doubt is cast on the prosecuting attorney’s case.

Other lines of defense. Through careful examination of the incident and the evidence, and through open communication with the defendant client, a savvy defense attorney may be able to find ways to pierce holes in the prosecuting attorney’s case.

Possible Sentence

Imprisonment. A person convicted of criminal possession in the second degree of a controlled substance faces a Class A-II felony penalty which carries a sentence of up to life in prison. If the convicted has no prior criminal history, the sentence is a minimum of three to eight years behind bars. The presiding judge will consider the background of the convicted person as well as details of the crime to determine an appropriate punishment allowable by law.

Monetary fine. In addition to imprisonment, the convicted person may be required to pay up to $50,000 as a part of the sentence.

NY Penal Code § 220.18: Criminal Possession in the Second Degree of a Controlled Substance

Criminal possession in the second degree of a controlled substance is when a culpable person unlawfully and knowingly is in possession of:

  1. At least four ounces of substances, mixtures, compounds, or preparations that contain a narcotic drug; or
  2. At least two ounces of substances, mixtures, compounds, or preparations that contain methamphetamine, its isomers, its salts, or salts of isomers; or
  3. At least 10 grams of a stimulant; or
  4. At least 25 milligrams of lysergic acid diethylamide; or
  5. At least 625 milligrams of a hallucinogen; or
  6. At least 25 grams of a hallucinogenic substance; or
  7. At least 2,880 milligrams of methadone.
Criminal Possession in the Second Degree of a Controlled Substance Lawyer

Criminal possession in the second degree of a controlled substance is a felony. If you are charged with possessing a controlled substance, you must immediately contact a highly qualified defense attorney to avoid imprisonment and steep fines; further, your reputation and your future may be in jeopardy.

Elliott Adler PC is an ardent advocate for individuals charged with controlled substance and drug offenses. The Elliot Adler PC law firm has successfully defended clients accused of misdemeanor and felony controlled substance and drug crimes in New York by building well thought out strategic defenses to attack charges of drug possession, manufacturing and distribution offenses. The Elliot Adler PC attorney firm has successfully defended clients who have been accused of possession of cocaine, crack, marijuana, and other drugs as well as other drug crimes.

We can be reached at (212) 785-1300 or http://www.newyorkcriminallawyer24-7.com to schedule a no-obligation, free legal consultative meeting to evaluate your case.

Related Offenses

For additional information, refer to the following sections of the New York Penal Code:

  1. Criminal hypodermic instrument possession: § 220.45
  2. Criminal sale in the second degree of a controlled substance: § 220.41