Criminal Use in the Second Degree of Drug Paraphernalia: New York Penal Code § 220.50

NY Penal Code § 220.50 allows for the prosecution of a person who knowingly and unlawfully has drug paraphernalia in their possession for the sale, manufacture or packaging of drugs. To convict for the criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia, the prosecuting attorney must demonstrate:

  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 woman was suspected of dealing drugs in her apartment. Because of the tip, they were able to obtain a search warrant and entered the woman’s apartment to look for controlled substances. The officers found several empty and unused glassine envelopes. They, however, did not find any controlled substances on the premises or on the woman’s person. The woman was arrested for criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia. Although glassine envelopes are often used to package narcotics, there was no evidence that the woman had the envelopes for that purpose.

Possible Defenses

Challenge prosecutor’s evidence. Merely possessing items that might be used in the sale, manufacture or packaging of illegal drugs in and of itself is not grounds for prosecution under this section of the law. For example, ziploc baggies are used for packaging controlled substances, as well as for storing leftover food. The prosecuting attorney must clearly show the link between possession of the paraphernalia and the intent to sell, manufacture or package controlled substances. It is the job of the defense attorney to 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 case details, an experienced and astute defense attorney may find weaknesses in the prosecuting attorney’s case and dissuade the court from convicting the accused client.

Possible Sentence

Imprisonment. A person convicted of criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia may face up to one year in jail for this Class A misdemeanor.

NY Penal Code § 220.50: Criminal Use in the Second Degree of Drug Paraphernalia

To reiterate, a person is guilty of criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia when that person knowingly possesses or sells:

  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 Second Degree of Drug Paraphernalia

A charge of criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia, if found guilty, could result in spending up to one year in jail. If you are charged with this offense or any crime related to controlled substances, you should immediately seek legal counsel.

Elliott Adler PC law firm has expertise in defending persons accused of criminal use in the second degree of drug paraphernalia. Further, the Elliot Adler PC law firm has expertly defended clients charged with misdemeanor and felony controlled substance or drug crimes in the State of New York. The Elliot Adler PC law firm is relentless when representing individuals accused of drug crimes, including the sale or possession of methamphetamine, PCP, LSD, OxyContin, Vicodin, crack, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, 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 controlled substance precursors: § 220.60