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Criminal Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors: New York Penal Code § 220.72

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant. It is also known as meth, uppers, ice, crystal meth, and speed. The drug may be taken by injection, inhalation, and ingestion. It is fairly easy to make because its ingredients and materials are readily available from local grocery or drug stores. Manufacturing methamphetamine requires combining sometimes volatile ingredients that may cause an explosion if handled improperly.

Manufacturing methamphetamine is against the law. To discourage the manufacture of methamphetamine, NY Penal Code § 220.72 makes it illegal to possess materials that may be used to make methamphetamine. Such materials include sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, red phosphorus, pseudoephedrine, hydrochloric acid, toluene, lithium, and acetone.

Hypothetical Case

Suppose the police were called to a home because neighbors reported that they suspected an active methamphetamine ring was manufacturing the stimulant in the house. The police served a search warrant on the home’s owner and found:

  1. Acetone based nail polish remover
  2. Sodium hydroxide based drain cleaner
  3. Sulfuric acid based toilet bowl cleaner
  4. Lithium batteries
  5. Pseudoephedrine fortified cold medication
  6. Red phosphorus matches
  7. Ammonia anhydrous based cleaning products
  8. Lighter fluid

The police arrested the homeowner because they along with the neighbors suspected he was making methamphetamine. Because the materials above are commonly used for acceptable and lawful purposes, such as caring for one’s personal appearance, cleaning, cooking, and powering tools and machines, the prosecuting attorney must produce evidence that the man intended to make methamphetamine with the products.

Possible Defenses

No intention to manufacture methamphetamine. To assert his innocence, the homeowner must prove that he had no intention of using the materials to make methamphetamine. He needs to successfully state the case that the materials were in his possession for lawful purposes.

Lack of probable cause. Probable cause is required before police may legally conduct a search of private property. Authorities must have reason to believe that the law was broken to apply probable cause. If the police officers in the case described above did not have reason to believe that there was an infraction of the law, then any materials found from the search may not be used as evidence. In the scenario described above, the police gained access to the home with a search warrant.

Other lines of defense. Through careful evaluation of the evidence and circumstances related to the case, a competent and experienced defense attorney may illuminate a defensive posture and build a case to effectively defend the accused against conviction that may not have been evident from the outset.

Possible Sentence

To determine a suitable sentence for the crime, the presiding court will consider the crime, the evidence, as well as the details of the crime and the personal history and background of the convicted person. Generally speaking, a person who does not have a history of crime will receive a less severe sentence than someone who is a repeat offender.

Imprisonment. As a Class E felony, criminal possession of methamphetamine precursors carries a sentence of up to four years in jail.

Probation. A convicted individual may also be sentenced to five years of probation.

Monetary Fine. A convicted individual may also have a mandatory payment to the court.

NY Penal Code § 220.72: Criminal Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors

To reiterate, a person is guilty of criminal possession of methamphetamine precursors if the evidence shows that there was intent to manufacture methamphetamine and there was simultaneous possession of the following:

  1. Nitroethane and 2, 5-dimethoxy benzaldehyde and a reducing agent; or
  2. Magnesium or lithium and bromobenzene and cyclohexanone and peperidine; or
  3. Dimethylaminoisopropyl chloride and diephenylacetonitrile; or
  4. Dichlorodiethyl benzylamine or dichlorodiethyl methylamine and phenylacetonitrile; or
  5. Methyliodide and pentazocine; or
  6. Benzyladehyde or nitroethane or methylamine or formamide or ammonia or hydroxylamine and phenylacetone (1-phenyl-2 propanone); or
  7. Diethylamide or dimetylformamide or diethylamine and ergot or an ergot derivative; or
  8. Malonic acid or its derivatives and propanedioc and cabamide (urea).
Lawyer to Defend Against the Charge of Criminal Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors

A conviction for criminal possession of methamphetamine precursors has profound effects on a person’s life. A person convicted of this crime would face up to four years in prison, have a criminal record, possibly also serve five years on probation as well as owe the courts a sizable fine. To successfully discredit the charges, you should seek legal counsel immediately.

Barry C. Weiss P.C. law firm has successfully defended persons charged with criminal possession of methamphetamine precursors. In fact, Elliot Adler PC law firm has fought effectively on behalf of clients accused of felony as well as misdemeanor controlled substance crimes in New York state. The Elliot Adler PC law firm is highly respected for capably representing persons accused of drug crimes, including the possession or sale of controlled substances such as methamphetamine, Vicodin, crack, PCP, OxyContin, cocaine, LSD, heroin, and marijuana.

We can be reached at (212) 785-1300 or 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 manufacture materials: § 220.71
  2. Criminal possession in the second degree of methamphetamine manufacturing material: § 220.70
  3. Unlawful manufacture in the third degree of methamphetamine: § 220.73
  4. Unlawful manufacture in the second degree of methamphetamine: § 220.74
  5. Unlawful manufacture in the first degree of methamphetamine: § 220.75
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