Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument: New York Penal Code § 220.45

NY Penal Code § 220.45 allows for the prosecution of a person who knowingly and unlawfully has possession of or has sold a hypodermic instrument or needle that can be used to inject controlled substances. It is not necessary that the hypodermic instrument contain a controlled substance or residue of a controlled substance to be prosecuted under this section of New York law.

Hypothetical Case

Suppose police officers were on patrol one evening and were driving by a bar known to them for frequent drug deals. They saw a man and woman exit the bar together and walk to the alley between two buildings. The man passed a small packet to the woman, and the woman handed a fistful of money to the man. The police officers immediately suspected that a drug deal had just taken place. They, then, apprehended both individuals and patted them down. On the woman, they not only found the packet that she had just purchased, but a hypodermic needle, as well. The packed was suspected to contain heroin. The woman could be prosecuted for criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument in addition to possession of a controlled substance.

Possible Defenses

Legitimate legal possession of hypodermic instrument. If the defendant can prove that possession of the hypodermic instrument was legal with a written prescription from a medical practitioner or pursuant to NY Public Health Law section 3381, then this section of the law cannot be invoked. Without verification that the possession of a hypodermic instrument or needle is for legitimate reasons, then the defendant may be implicated.

Other lines of defense. By examining the details of the incident, including the defendant’s side of the story, an astute and strategically minded defense attorney can build a viable case in favor of the client.

Possible Sentence

The presiding judge will consider the crime committed, details of the crime, the convicted person’s criminal history, and the person’s background to determine an appropriate sentence.

Imprisonment. A person convicted of criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument is subject to sentencing for a Class A misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison.

Probation. In addition to imprisonment, the judge could order three years of probation.

NY Penal Code § 220.45: Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument

To reiterate, a person is guilty of criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument or needle when that person unlawfully and knowingly has in their possession or sells a hypodermic syringe or needle. A person is not guilty of criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument or needle when that person has a prescription from a medical practitioner for the instrument or obtains the instrument legally per section 3381 of the NY public health law.

Lawyer to Defend Against the Charge of Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument

Even though a charge of criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument is not as serious a drug crime as many others, the prospect of spending even a year in prison and the follow-on probationary period will wreak havoc in a person’s life. If you are charged with this offense or any controlled substance crime, you should seek legal counsel immediately.

Elliott Adler PC is a dedicated and well qualified law firm that expertly defends clients accused of the criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. The Elliot Adler PC law firm has defended clients accused of felony and misdemeanor controlled substance and drug crimes in New York State, and has been their stalwart advocate. Moreover, the Elliot Adler PC law firm has ardently defended clients charged with drug crimes, including the sale or possession of marijuana, OxyContin, Vicodin, crack, cocaine, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, PCP, and other controlled substances and 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 possession in the first degree of methamphetamine manufacturing material: § 220.71
  2. Criminal possession in the second degree of methamphetamine manufacturing material: § 220.70
  3. Criminal possession of controlled substances precursors: § 220.60
  4. Criminally using in the second degree drug paraphernalia: § 220.50
  5. Criminal narcotic drug injection: § 220.48