Criminal Sale in the Fourth Degree of a Controlled Substance: New York Penal Code § 220.34

Under NY Penal Code § 220.34, a person has committed the offense of criminal sale in the fourth degree of a controlled substance if knowingly and unlawfully the person has sold methadone, phencyclidine, cannabis, a depressant, or a narcotic preparation in quantities detailed below. NY Penal Code § 220.34 also identifies the selling of a controlled substance at a child day care center, an education facility, school grounds, or school bus in any quantity, no matter how small, as a violation of the law.

Hypothetical Case

Suppose two police officers observed two men in the bus station. They saw one man handing the other man a packet and receiving cash from the other in return. The bus station is known as a site where drugs are frequently trafficked. The two police officers believe that the sale of drugs had just transpired, so they searched the first man who they discovered was carrying several glassine envelopes with what seemed to be heroine. The first man could be charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance because the officers saw the transaction take place and they also found more than just a small amount of drugs in the person’s possession.

Possible Defenses

Lack of probable cause. In New York, probable cause is mandatory in order to conduct a search of a person, their car, apartment, or office. If conditions for probable cause are not met, then drugs found while in the act of implementing the law are not permissible as evidence. Law enforcement agents must have justifiable reason to believe that a person had committed a crime to invoke probable cause. In the example above, probable cause may be inferred because the officers saw the exchange of the vial of heroine for cash.

The transaction was not an attempted or actual sales transaction. If the defendant can provide evidence to support the notion that the exchange was not an attempted or actual sales transaction, then the charges may be dropped.

The amount of drugs involved did not meet the minimum required. If the defendant can prove that the amount of drugs involved did not meet the minimum specified in the code of law, then this section of the law may not be applicable.

Other lines of defense. Through diligent analysis the testimony of the accused and the officers, along with the events and facts of the case, a capable and knowledgeable defense attorney may be able to uncover defensive strategies to defend the client.

Possible Sentence

To arrive at an appropriate sentence for the crime, the presiding judge will evaluate the convicted person’s background, presence or absence of a criminal record, as well as various aspects of the the crime and the details of the case.

Imprisonment. A person convicted of criminal sale in the fourth degree of a controlled substance faces Class C felony sentencing. The maximum time in prison for this crime is fifteen years. The minimum is 3-½ to 7 years, depending on whether a prior felony conviction exists.

Monetary fine. The convicted person may be required to pay a fine on top of the prison sentence of up to $15,000.

NY Penal Code § 220.34: Criminal Sale in the Fourth Degree of a Controlled Substance

To reiterate, criminal sale in the fourth degree of a controlled substance is a chargeable offense when a person knowingly and unlawfully sells:

  1. A preparation with narcotics; or
  2. More than ten ounces of a depressant and/or a dangerous depressant; or
  3. More than two pounds of a depressant; or
  4. Concentrated cannabis as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision four of NY Penal Code § 332.00 of the public health law; or
  5. More than fifty milligrams of phencycidine; or
  6. Methadone; or
  7. Any amount of phencyclidine if the person has been convicted previously of an offence in this article or the attempt or conspiracy to commit any such offense; or
  8. Four thousand milligrams or more of ketamine; or
  9. Sale of a controlled substance as described in Penal Code § 220.31 on a school ground or a school bus; or
  10. Sale of a controlled substance as described in Penal Code § 220.31 on a child day care or educational facility with knowledge by the defendant and conspicuous posting by the child day care and educational facility as to their existence; or
  11. Twenty-eight grams or more of substances, mixtures, compounds, or preparations containing gamma hydroxybutyric acid as described in § 336.00 of the public health law.
Attorney to Defend Against the Charge of Criminal Sale in the Fourth Degree of a Controlled Substance

Criminal sale in the fourth degree of a controlled substance is a Class C felony. If you are charged with committing a controlled substance offense, you should immediately contact a reliable and experienced defense attorney to protect yourself against a prosecution that could lead to imprisonment, expensive fines and probation.

Elliott Adler PC is an effective law firm that will capably advocate on behalf of individuals charged with criminal sale in the fourth degree of a controlled substance. The Elliot Adler PC law firm has successfully represented clients who have been charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes related to controlled substances and drugs in New York. The firm builds effective defensive tactics to ward off charges of drug sales, possession, manufacturing, and distribution. The Elliot Adler PC attorney firm has fought on behalf of clients who have been accused of drug crimes, including the sale or possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, OxyContin, methamphetamine, Vicodin, PCP, LSD, crack, and other controlled substances, 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 possession in the fourth degree of a controlled substance: § 220.09
  2. Criminal sale in or near school grounds of a controlled substance: § 220.44