Possession of Controlled Substances (NYPL 220)

The possession of drugs, narcotics or controlled dangerous substances is punishable as mentioned in Article 220 of the New York Penal Code. The law contains provision for the degree and punishment according to the level of felony offense.

Under NYPL 220, there are two broad categories of drug-related offense:

  • The criminal possession of drugs, narcotics, and/or controlled substances
  • The criminal sale of drugs, narcotics and/or controlled substances

The possession of drugs with the intent to distribute/sell is considered a bigger offense. The laws do not only apply to drugs but also to the ingredients that can be used to prepare them. There are five schedules governing the drugs and/or compounds most likely to be abused along with their medicinal value. The legal prosecution depends on the schedule under which the drug/compound is classified.

The amount and type of drug found in possession play a pivotal role in determining the punishment. The possession of drugs in New York is usually penalized through fines, imprisonment, obligatory community services, and inclusion in drug rehabilitation programs.

Marijuana is excluded from the category of controlled substances and drugs. There are a separate set of laws governing the possession, sale or distribution of Marijuana due to its medicinal properties. The remaining drugs/compounds are penalized according to the degree of offense. The frequency of offense, the type and quantity of drug involved, and the location of discovery play an important role in determining the level of offense and penalty.

  • Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances in First Degree:

A person found in possession of:

  • Drugs and/or controlled substances (Schedule I to V) weighing eight ounces or more,
  • At least 5760mg of methadone.

It is considered as a Class A-I felony.

  • Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances in Second Degree:

A person found in possession of:

  • Four ounces of controlled substances,
  • Two ounces of related drugs,
  • Ten grams of stimulant,
  • 25mg of lysergic acid diethylamide,
  • 625mg of hallucinogen,
  • 25mg of hallucinogenic substance,
  • 2880mg of methadone.

It is considered as Class A-II felony.

  • Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances in Third Degree:

A person found in possession of:

  • A narcotic and/or drug with the intention to sell (in any amounts),
  • 5g of stimulant,
  • 5mg of lysergic acid diethylamide,
  • 125mg of hallucinogen,
  • 5g of hallucinogenic substances,
  • 5 ounce of controlled substances and related compounds,
  • 1250mg of phencyclidine.

The person is charged with Class B felony.

  • Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances in Fourth Degree:

A person found in possession of:

  • Drugs and/or controlled substances weighing one-eighth of an ounce,
  • 5 ounce of related substances,
  • two ounces of narcotic substances,
  • 1g of stimulant,
  • 1mg of lysergic acid diethylamide,
  • 25mg of hallucinogen,
  • 1g of hallucinogenic substances,
  • 10 ounces of dangerous depressants,
  • 2 pounds of any depressants,
  • 1 ounce of concentrated cannabis-containing substances,
  • 250mg of phencyclidine,
  • 360mg of methadone,
  • 4000mg of ketamine,
  • 200g of gamma hydroxybutyric acid-containing substances.

The person is charged with Class C felony.

  • Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances in Fifth Degree:

A person found in possession of:

  • Drugs and/or controlled substances with the intent of selling it,
  • in excess of 0.5 ounce in quantity,
  • 25 ounce of related substance,
  • 50mg of phencyclidine,
  • 500mg of cocaine,
  • 1000mg of ketamine,
  • 28g of gamma hydroxybutyric acid-containing substances.

The person is charged with Class D felony.

  • Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances in Seventh Degree:

A person found in possession of:

  • Residual amount of controlled substances.

The person will be charged with Class A misdemeanor.