Whether you are at the Electric Zoo Festival on New York’s Randall Island, rolling with Phish at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, or you are merely out and about in New York City, Westchester County, Rockland County, or anywhere in the State, if you possess or sell MDMA, Molly or Ecstasy you potentially face an arrest for either a misdemeanor or felony crime. As your criminal lawyer will explain, mere possession of Ecstasy, even one pill, violates New York Penal Law 220.03, Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. Depending on the quantity in your possession and whether you have the subjective intent to sell the Ecstasy, you could also face felony crimes including Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, New York Penal Law 220.16. Complicating matters, when you actually sell Molly, MDMA or Ecstasy in New York, the crime you face is by default a felony. Assuming the weight of the controlled substance is less than one gram, meaning just one pill, then you would be charged with New York Penal Law 220.31, Fifth Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance. If the weight of the Ecstasy, MDMA or Molly exceeds one gram, then the applicable arrest charge is New York Penal Law 220.39 assuming this sale did not occur on school grounds. This crime is Third Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance. When the weights exceed those here and as outlined in the New York Penal Law, the criminal offenses for criminal possession or sale are significantly more serious.
Because of the above exposure, any arrest, whether by Desk Appearance Ticket or felony complaint, requires immediate and professional attention. Sometimes, investigation and advocacy from the onset of an arrest can provide tremendous benefits as the matter makes its way through the criminal justice system. Fortunately for three recent clients of Crotty Saland PC, despite their arrests for selling Molly to undercover police officers at the Electric Zoo, they took immediate action to retain a criminal lawyer and fight their respective arrests for PL 220.31 head on as they worked their way towards an ultimate dismissal on the merits.
Our clients, three young foreign nationals between the ages of 18 and 23, were enjoying themselves at the Electric Zoo Festival. While there is no dispute that using drugs or looking to purchase drugs is neither responsible nor reasoned, some people learn this lesson the hard way. In this particular case, our clients were approached by plain clothes police officers with the NYPD after the police thought our clients were looking for drugs. Offered $20 by one of the undercover officers to buy drugs, one of our client’s rejected the money. Although one of our clients indicated the party was looking for Molly, all of our clients indicated they did not possess any MDMA nor did they sell Ecstasy. Not accepting that answer, the officer again gave the $20 to one of our clients to help the office find drugs. Ultimately “acquiescing,” for lack of a better term, our clients went on their way looking for drugs for themselves. At some point, our clients, and a separately charged friend, met a person selling MDMA. This person sold drugs to the separately charged individual and this young person then possessed some Molly. Shortly thereafter, the undercover police officers, who were watching and standing back from the transaction jumped in and arrested the seller, separately charged friend who possessed drugs and our clients. Charged with Fifth Degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance, the police believed that our clients were involved in selling drugs and, because the officer had given one of our clients money and asked that client to procure MDMA, the entire party was arrested as acting in concert as accomplices.
Without going into all the details, after our clients’ first appearance, the court graciously agreed with our request that our clients not be mandated to return on the subsequent court date barring a plea or indictment. Not only did we argue that our clients did not offer to sell any drug nor possess any drug, it was their objective to solely to secure Molly, Ecstasy and MDMA for their own personal use. Despite their efforts, only the separately charged friend was successful in this endeavor. Although one person did successfully buy what that person believed to be Molly, there was no “meeting of the minds” to sell the same. Equally important, the one client who was given $20 by the undercover police officer in our opinion, was entrapped by the police. Again, and regardless, our clients never sold, or directly dealt with the separately charged “real” seller.
After conducting their investigation, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed each of the cases. While no doubt a good lesson and message about how even being associated with drug possession or sale is dangerous, our clients were vindicated. Young, reckless and immature may be no way to live one’s life, but criminal conduct it is not. Fortunately, our criminal lawyers secured a dismissal and with a little “parental love” and advice, coupled with this frightening experience, these young people should be on a different trajectory going forward.
To learn more about New York drug and narcotic crimes, including NY PL 220.03, NY PL 220.31, NY PL 220.39 and NY PL 2201.16, review this blog as well as the links here and below.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm established by two former Manhattan prosecutors. The New York criminal defense attorneys at Crotty Saland PC represent clients throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley.