Second Degree Criminal Marijuana Possession: New York Penal Code § 221.25

Some people consider possession of marijuana a minor offense, especially the recreational use of marijuana. They do not consider possession of marijuana a serious problem, especially when compared to possession of other controlled substances such as cocaine and heroin. However, unlawfully and knowingly having more than sixteen ounces of marijuana is a very serious offense. Second degree criminal marijuana possession is a Class D felony in New York state. A person is guilty of this crime if they:

  1. Possessed marijuana or substances, mixtures, compounds, or preparations containing it,
  2. Knowingly and unlawfully did so, and
  3. Had more than sixteen ounces of marijuana or substances, mixtures, compounds, or preparations containing it.
Hypothetical Case

A man was speeding in a car that had illegally tinted windows that obscured the driver’s vision. Police officers signaled the man to pull to the side of the road. As they approached the car, the police officers smelled marijuana and noticed the inside of the vehicle was filled with smoke. They searched the car and found a large amount of marijuana in several plastic bags in the trunk of the car and a plastic bag also filled with marijuana under the driver’s seat. The total amount of marijuana mixtures and substances weighed between one and ten pounds. The man was arrested for several offenses, including second degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Possible Defenses

Lack of probable cause. In the State of New York, probable cause must be present in order to conduct a legal search of an individual’s person, home, car, office, or other property. Probable cause is present when law enforcement personnel have reason to believe that someone committed a crime. If the assumption of probable cause can be undermined, then materials taken during the search, such as marijuana in this case, is not permissible as evidence, thus creating an avenue for compelling the prosecuting attorney to drop the charge.

The marijuana weighs less than sixteen ounces. Unless the marijuana weighed at least sixteen ounces, a person may not be prosecuted under New York Penal Code 221.25. If the defense can build a case that shows the amount of marijuana was less than the minimum of sixteen ounces, they may be able to get the charge of second degree criminal possession of marijuana dropped.

Other lines of defense. Seasoned defense attorneys who have handled a wide variety of drug-related cases may be able to create other defensive tactics that force dismissal or reduction in the charge.

Possible Sentence

To determine the appropriate sentence to fit the crime, the presiding judge will take into consideration the person’s history, background and any criminal record. If a person does not have a criminal record, the judge may impose a lenient sentence on the convicted individual.

Imprisonment. Second degree criminal marijuana possession is a Class D felony. If convicted, the maximum possible sentence is seven years of imprisonment.

Monetary Fine. The judge may also include a monetary fine up to $5,000 along with mandatory fees for conviction of second degree criminal marijuana possession.

NY Penal Code § 221.25: Second degree criminal marijuana possession

In summary, a person is guilty of second degree criminal marijuana possession when that person unlawfully and knowingly has marijuana or marijuana substances, compounds, preparations, or mixtures in their possession that, in aggregate, are at least sixteen ounces in weight.

Lawyer to Defend Against the Charge of Second Degree Criminal Marijuana Possession

While unlawfully and knowingly having possession of marijuana in small amounts is a violation and not a crime, possessing marijuana in quantities that are at least sixteen ounces in aggregate weight is a felony that, if found guilty, will carry a substantial penalty. To effectively defend against prosecution for second degree criminal marijuana possession, you should immediately seek legal counsel to protect your interests as much as possible.

The Elliott Adler PC law firm has effectively advocated on behalf of individuals charged with second degree criminal marijuana possession and more serious drug crimes. Elliot Adler PC law firm effectively defends clients accused of controlled substance crimes in the State of New York. The Elliot Adler PC law firm has a highly talented and educated attorney team that has successfully represented clients in all types of marijuana and drug-related cases, such as the possession, sale or manufacture of controlled drugs such as marijuana, OxyContin, crack, Vicodin, LSD, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.

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. Second degree criminal possession of a controlled substance: § 220.18
  2. Second degree criminal sale of a controlled substance: § 220.41
  3. Second degree criminal sale of marijuana: § 221.50