Drug crimes are among the most common crimes that happen here in New York, yet people still don’t always understand important aspects about these types of crimes. Too often we see clients that have gotten themselves into a serious situation that could have been avoided if they simply understood drug laws better or had an experienced New York drug defense lawyer on their side.
To help you avoid some of the problems caused by misconceptions about drug cases, we have compiled key information you should know about New York drug laws here.
- Drug crimes are no big deal. By far, this is the most common misconception about drug cases. So many people think that drug cases are no big deal or that they won’t have to serve jail time for possession charges. Unfortunately, this assumption may lead you to a harsh sentence.
- If you’re caught with drugs on you, you are definitely going to be convicted. Luckily, this is not always true. Perhaps there was no probable cause for the search that turned up the drugs. Maybe you genuinely didn’t know they were there. Even if the drugs can be linked to you and the search was valid, there may be the option of a diversion program, which avoids you having to formally plead to the charges. This can keep your record clean and be expunged.
- You can only be convicted of distribution-related crimes if you are caught actually selling the drug. If you are found in possession of large amounts of a drug or even simply have it divided up in a way that makes law enforcement believe you plan to sell the drugs, you could find yourself charged with possession for sale charges (or even trafficking). Just because you say you weren’t planning on selling the drugs, doesn’t mean that you will be believed without evidence to the contrary.
- Nobody goes to jail for a first drug offense. Although the courts are focusing more on treatment than punishment for non-violent drug crimes, that does not mean jail time is off the table. You need to give the courts a good reason to believe that you deserve the second chance afforded you by staying out of jail.
- You don’t need a lawyer for a drug case. Many people think that because drug crimes are “no big deal” that a lawyer isn’t needed. Just like drug crimes are nothing to scoff at, an attorney can always help you create a well thought out defense. The Constitution gives you the right to an attorney for a reason. Take advantage of it.
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