The prosecution of drug-related offenses is a common occurrence in New York criminal courts. Possession of small amounts of illegal drugs and other low-level drug offenses often results in fines, probation, and minimal incarceration periods in local jails. But felony drug convictions can cost a defendant years in prison.
Several factors contribute to how much time a felony drug offender will spend in prison. These include drug type, quantity, and prior convictions. The most serious drug crimes often involve the manufacture or distribution of large amounts of illegal drugs.
Class E felonies represent the lowest tier of felony drug convictions under New York statutes. A conviction can result in four years in prison and a $5,000 fine for defendants. Third-degree criminal marijuana possession, criminal injection of an illegal narcotic, and possession of equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine are actions that can trigger a class E felony drug charge.
Class D drug felonies include third-degree unlawful methamphetamine manufacture and first-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Individuals convicted of these and other Class D drug felonies face a maximum seven-year prison sentence.
Class C drug felony convictions carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The criminal sale of any controlled substance in the fourth degree is one of several criminal acts that can lead to Class C drug charges.
Class B drug felonies are among the most serious drug crimes and carry a possible 25-year prison term. Examples that fall into this drug crime category include drug sales near a school and first-degree methamphetamine manufacture.
Class A drug convictions can cause defendants to spend the rest of their lives in jail. These crimes include first and second-degree drug sales and possession. Prosecutors often use Class A drug charges to target individuals operating as major drug traffickers.