Drug trafficking and distribution laws prohibit the sales, transport, or illegal importation of cocaine and other illegal drugs in the United States. New York State has passed the most stringent drug laws in the U.S.
The Rockefeller Drug Laws state that the penalties for selling just 57 grams (two ounces) or more of cocaine, or possessing at least 113 grams (four ounces) of cocaine are severe:
• If convicted of trafficking or possessing cocaine, the defendant faces at a minimum 15-year or a maximum of life in prison.
• Governor Nelson Rockefeller championed the laws in 1973.
The U.S. incarcerates approximately five times’ as many citizens per capita as countries like Spain or the U.K. The laws were revised (2009) to remove mandatory minimum prison terms. This decision enabled judges to sentence individuals to shorter sentences or drug treatment in lieu of prison.
The drug laws of New York are also among the most complex in the United States. Drug possession crimes have different felony classes attached to them. For this reason, it’s essential to reach out to a knowledgeable New York drug crimes lawyer if you or someone you care about is facing a cocaine trafficking or distribution charge.
Cocaine trafficking or distribution is considered a more egregious crime than cocaine possession:
• If a defendant is found in possession of cocaine, he or she may be charged with trafficking if law enforcement believes he or she intends to sell it.
• What’s more, if the defendant is found to possess a large amount of cash and drugs at the time of arrest, he or she may face cocaine distribution charges.
Under the Consolidated Laws of New York’s Penal CodePenal §§220, et seq.; and Pub.Health §§3306-3307, it is a Class D felony to “knowingly” possess at least 500 milligrams of cocaine.
If convicted of possessing cocaine with the intention to sell or distribute any amount of cocaine, the defendant also faces significant fines:
• If convicted, the defendant faces a minimum $5,000 to double the gains from commissions of the cocaine sale, or $100,000 for individuals convicted of operating as a major drug trafficker.
Cocaine possession laws also prohibit an individual’s use and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Under the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, it’s illegal to possess certain materials or chemicals used in the manufacture of cocaine, such as equipment needed to refine powder cocaine.
An experienced drug crimes attorney evaluates the facts of each unique drug crimes case before determining appropriate defense strategies. Common defenses to a cocaine possession or trafficking charge may include: 1) lack of intent (e.g., the defendant didn’t intend to sell or distribute cocaine); 2) lack of knowledge (e.g., the defendant didn’t know he or she had cocaine on his or her person, in his or her vehicle, or on his or her premises); 3) possession for personal use (e.g., the defendant planned to use cocaine for his or her personal use alone); 4) entrapment (e.g., police caught an innocent bystander in a sting operation); or 5) infancy (e.g., the defendant is a young person who hasn’t reached his or her 16th birthday).
Cocaine possession or distribution charges are serious. Both state and federal laws may be considered in a drug trafficking case.
If you or someone you love is facing a drug crime, you need an experienced drug crimes defense attorney. Our attorneys will thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case and vigorously defend your legal rights. Contact us to schedule an initial case evaluation.
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