Cocaine Charges in New York City
NYC Drug Crime Defense Lawyer
Cocaine is a Schedule II substance under the New York State Controlled Substances Act, and this makes any drug charges related to this narcotic some of the most serious that a defendant may face. If you have been accused of cocaine
distribution or any other drug offense in New York City, you need to work quickly to ensure your legal rights are protected. This is when you should consult with a
criminal defense attorney at Musa-Obregon & Associates. The firm provides aggressive defense representation to clients across New York in the face of state and federal drug charges. Even if formal charges have not yet been filed, you may benefit from having an attorney to represent your interests.
Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine) is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. A stimulant, appetite suppressant and topical anesthetic, it is best known for the way it stimulates the nervous system. Coca leaves were chewed on by the indigenous peoples of South America for more than one thousand years before they were discovered by the Spanish, who legalized and taxed the leaf. The isolation of the cocaine alkaloid was achieved in 1855, and by the late 1800s cocaine was used for various medical purposes, from toothache drops for children to spinal anesthesia. Today, cocaine is recognized as having very limited medical use. It is illegal to possess, manufacture, distribute or sell cocaine in the United States.
Cocaine has been recognized as one of the most addictive drugs. According to The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, it is considered the second-most addictive and harmful of the twenty most popular recreational drugs. Cocaine is recognized to cause psychological dependency; continued use may result in damage to the heart and brain. These factors and the classification of cocaine as a Schedule II substance make offenses related to this substance particularly serious.
New York Cocaine Possession Laws
Due to the highly addictive nature of cocaine and its prominence in the black market, harsh penalties may be enforced if a defendant is convicted of any type of cocaine-related drug crime. According to New York Penal Code § 220.06, possession of 500 mg or more of cocaine is classified as criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a class D felony. Penalties for cocaine possession increase as the amount of cocaine in the defendant's possession increases:
- Possession of less than 500 mg of cocaine is a class A misdemeanor.
- Possession of 500 mg or more of cocaine is a class D felony.
- Possession of two or more ounces of cocaine is a class C felony.
- Possession of four or more ounces of cocaine is a class A-II felony.
- Possession of eight or more ounces of cocaine is a class A-I felony.
- Possession of any amount of cocaine with the intent to sell is a class B felony.
The penalties for cocaine possession may vary depending on the nature of the offense and the defendant's criminal record, if any. With drug crime cases, courts have more discretion in determining what sentence a defendant may face. Although the standard penalty for a first time, non-violent offender convicted of a class D felony would be up to 7 years in prison, the court may order a shorter sentence for a defendant facing cocaine possession or other drug charges.
If a defendant is facing cocaine possession charges and he or she has no previous criminal convictions for drug crimes or other offenses, the defendant may qualify to receive treatment and rehabilitation in lieu of prison time. This may be decided on a case by case basis, however, so it is important to discuss your particular options with your attorney.
Defense Against Cocaine Charges
If you are facing cocaine charges in New York, whether a first-time possession offense or a more serious case involving possession for sale or even trafficking, you need to involve a skilled lawyer as soon as possible. Musa-Obregon & Associates can provide the level of criminal defense representation that can make all the difference in the face of misdemeanor or felony cocaine charges. Led by a former prosecutor, the legal team has a unique edge in understanding both sides of criminal proceedings. Instead of placing your freedom and future in less than competent hands, choose an aggressive and knowledgeable legal professional who will place your interests first. Contact a New York City drug crime defense attorney today.