*** For further information regarding an arrest or issuance of a Desk Appearance Ticket for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree (NY Penal Law 220.03), and your criminal defense, please review the articles on drug quantity, constructive possession of drugs and the necessity of a laboratory analysis by law enforcement***
New York State has multiple degrees of drug possession offenses when an individual is accused of possessing a controlled substance. Mere possession in New York, whether it is in Manhattan, White Plains, Brooklyn or the Bronx, is at least a misdemeanor regardless of your purpose of having the drugs. In other words, having any amount of crack, heroin, cocaine, or other drugs, is punishable a by up to one year in jail even if you possessed it for personal use. Depending on the weight of the drugs and your intent, the crime can be prosecuted as Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree punishable by a significant term of imprisonment. For the purposes of this entry, we will discuss only Penal Law Section 220.03, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree.
From my reading of the articles dealing with Ms. O’Neal’s arrest, it appears that she is a drug user and not a seller of cocaine or crack-cocaine. Therefore, Ms. O’Neal was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree. There is no specific amount of drugs that dictates whether the drugs possessed are for personal use or for sale, but one of the factors that the police and prosecutors examine when determining what to charge is a combination of the amount as well as the packaging and the amount and denomination of money an individual possesses.
As explained, possession alone may be punished by up to one year in jail, but that term of incarceration is not likely unless you have a significant criminal history. What is more likely is either a term of probation, a lesser term of jail or community service. However, if you are someone who requires certain certifications in your job, such as a teacher, physician, or attorney, just a conviction for this offense with nothing more can be devastating to your career and livelihood.