Buffalo, NY Drug Crimes Lawyer
Both federal and New York State laws make it a crime to sell, manufacture, distribute, or possess certain types of controlled substances. Marijuana notwithstanding, New York state vigorously prosecutes the trafficking of certain types of narcotics, most notably heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. The U.S. healthcare system pays billions each year to treat those with ongoing addictions to these drugs. However, treatment for nonviolent drug offenders is now considered preferable to punitive measures such as imprisonment. The following are the basics on drug crimes in Western New York and the likely progression of your case if you are charged with any of the following.
Drug Possession, Drug Court, Diversion Programs
Punishments for drug offenses in New York state used to be among the harshest in the country. The so-called Rockefeller drug laws forced many good people into lengthy prison stays for minor possession charges. That is no longer the case.
Those who are charged with nonviolent drug offenses may find their way into drug court. Instead of facing fines and prison time, these individuals can have their records cleared so long as they complete the terms of their treatment. The court links with mental health service providers and gets updates on whether or not the individual is following the treatment plan. Individuals in drug court are expected to produce clean tox screens, make appointments, and do whatever else is required of them by the court. Failure to comply with court requests usually means that the defendant will face criminal charges related to the offense.
Drug courts operate on a theory of collaborative law. All parties involved (the court, the prosecutor, the defendant, and the defendant's treatment team) sign a contract saying they will uphold their end of the agreement. Failure by any party to meet the terms of the agreement will void the contract and the case will be remanded to criminal court.
Drug Trafficking Offenses in New York State
The Rockefeller Drug Laws are still mostly on the books. Because there are so many laws, prosecutors have broad leeway to charge defendants, and defense attorneys have more work to do than would be typical for a petit drug offense. Sentences for drug trafficking are likewise quite harsh. For the worst crimes, mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years or more are not outside the norm.
Additionally, there are no misdemeanor charges related to the sale of drugs.
School Zones and Other Issues
Defendants may face enhanced penalties if the sale of a controlled substance occurs within such and such a distance from a school. The penalty for a first-time offense is up to nine years behind bars.
Talk to a Buffalo, NY Drug Crime Lawyer Today
New York state is starting to move away from the heavy-handed tactics of past administrations. But many of the Rockefeller drug laws remain on the books and present serious issues for criminal defendants who are not malicious criminals. If you are charged under New York State law, you should know that the penalties for drug crimes here are worse than most other states. Daniel J. DuBois, Esq. can help ensure your future is not ruined just because you made a mistake.