Criminal Use in the First Degree of Drug Paraphernalia: New York Penal Code § 220.55

NY Penal Code § 220.55 allows for the prosecution of a person who is a repeat offender of knowingly and unlawfully having drug paraphernalia in their possession for the sale, manufacture or packaging of drugs. To convict for the criminal use in the first degree of drug paraphernalia, the prosecuting attorney must demonstrate that the accused has previously been convicted of criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia due to the fact that:

  1. The person knowingly possessed or sold adulterants, diluents or dilutants; or
  2. The person knowingly possessed or sold material that can be used to package narcotics, such as gelatine capsules, vials, capsules, and glassine envelopes; or
  3. The person knowingly possessed or sold balances and scales that are used or designed for measuring or weighing controlled substances.

As the paraphernalia named above may also be used for non drug-related purposes, the prosecuting attorney must show that the person possessed or sold these items in circumstances that evidence that these items were to be used in the sale, manufacture or packaging of controlled substances.

Hypothetical Case

Suppose police officers received a tip that a man was suspected of dealing drugs in his apartment. Because of the tip, they were able to get a search warrant to enter the man’s apartment and look for controlled substances. The officers found 100 small ziploc bags in the dining room and a shoebox with many similar ziploc bags that contained cocaine in the living room. The police deduced that the ziploc bags in the dining room were going to be used to package more cocaine. The man had been previously convicted of criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia. Because of the prior conviction, the man was arrested for criminal use in the first degree of drug paraphernalia.

Possible Defenses

Challenge prosecutor’s evidence. Simply possessing items that may be used in the sale, manufacture or packaging of illegal drugs is not in and of itself grounds for conviction under this section of the law. The prosecuting attorney must show the undisputed connection between possession of the paraphernalia and the intent to sell, manufacture or package controlled substances. The defense lawyer must discredit the association of possession of the paraphernalia with the intent to sell, manufacture or package controlled drugs.

Other lines of defense. By carefully examining the details of the case, an alert and experienced defense attorney may find vulnerabilities in the prosecuting lawyer’s case and convince the court to return a verdict of innocent.

Possible Sentence

Imprisonment. A person convicted of criminal use in the first degree of drug paraphernalia may be sentenced from two to seven years in prison for this Class D felony.

NY Penal Code § 220.55: Criminal Use in the First Degree of Drug Paraphernalia

To reiterate, a person is guilty of criminal use in the first degree of drug paraphernalia when that person has previously been convicted of knowingly possessing or selling:

  1. Adulterants, dilutants or diluents (such as quinine hydrochloride, dextrose, lactose, mannite, or mannitol) that is used to dilute stimulants or narcotic drugs and is so evidenced, or circumstances so evidence, that a person is intending to use such products to unlawfully prepare, mix or compound any stimulant or narcotic drug; or
  2. Capsules, vials, glassine envelopes, gelatine capsules or any other material used for packaging individual amounts of stimulants or narcotic drugs and is so evidenced, or circumstances so evidence, that a person is intending to use such products to unlawfully manufacture, dispense or package any stimulant or narcotic drug; or
  3. Balances and scales used or designed for weighing or measuring controlled substances and circumstances indicate an intent to use or knowledge of intent to use such items for the purpose of unlawfully dispensing, packaging or manufacturing any stimulant or narcotic drug.
Lawyer to Defend Against the Charge of Criminal Use in the First Degree of Drug Paraphernalia

A guilty charge of criminal use in the first degree of drug paraphernalia could result in spending at least two years in jail. If charged with this offense or any crime related to controlled substances, you should seek legal advice right away.

Elliott Adler PC law firm has successfully defended persons accused of criminal use in the first degree of drug paraphernalia. Further, the Elliot Adler PC law firm has expertly defended clients accused of misdemeanor and felony controlled substance or drug crimes in New York State. The Elliot Adler PC law firm is a stalwart ally when representing persons accused of drug crimes, including the sale or possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, PCP, LSD, OxyContin, Vicodin, crack, marijuana, 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 use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia: § 220.50
  2. Criminal possession in the first degree of methamphetamine manufacturing material: § 220.71
  3. Criminal possession in the second degree of methamphetamine manufacturing material: § 220.70
  4. Criminal possession of controlled substance precursors: § 220.60