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Overview Of Drug-Related Crimes

Interviewer: What sort of drug cases are you seeing here?  What sort of drugs are they finding?

Glen Malia: There’s been a significant increase in heroin. The misdemeanor possession of controlled substance is a frequent drug charge and another frequent drug charge is whether it’s a misdemeanor or violation possession of marijuana. Those are probably the two most common drug charges we see in my area.

The Difference Between Possession Charges As Opposed to Intent to Sell Charges

Interviewer: What would be the difference between possession versus an intent to sell?

Glen Malia: Generally speaking, possession with small amount of drugs would be a misdemeanor crime which is punishable by not more than one year in jail and up to 3 years’ probation.  A possession of any amount of controlled substances with the intent to sell it is a very serious class B felony which can result in a jail sentence or state prison of up to 9 years. There’s a real big difference between just a simple possession and the possession with the intent to sell.

Even the Sale of Marijuana Unless it’s to a Minor is a Misdemeanor Charge

With controlled substances, depending upon the substance, there could be a felony possession of a controlled substance depending upon the weight and the actual controlled substance. You could still have a felony charge just by a simple possession but a possession of controlled substance with intent to sell is a felony. However, on marijuana, a simple possession is, generally speaking, either a violation, which is a non-criminal offense or it is just a misdemeanor, which is less serious than a felony. Even a sale of marijuana, unless it’s to someone under the age of 18, a sale of marijuana is only a misdemeanor itself.

The Amount of Marijuana Determines the Degree of Charges Pressed

Interviewer: How much of marijuana does one have to have in order to get a misdemeanor versus a felony?

Glen Malia: Marijuana is pretty much just photocopy of the violation of misdemeanor possession of marijuana, unless we’re talking about pounds and pounds of marijuana, would not be a felony. It breaks up between what they call an unlawful possession of marijuana, which is a violation which does not carry a jail sentence at least for your first two or three possessions, it carries just fines and then, there’s the misdemeanor criminal possession of marijuana. An unlawful possession of marijuana is marijuana up to 25 grams.  25 grams is just short of an ounce, 28 grams approximately is an ounce.

If the Amount of Marijuana is Less than an Ounce, the Offense is Charged as a Misdemeanor

So just short of an ounce of marijuana, if it is simple possession, it’s only a violation, first offense and maximum fine is $100. If you have more than 25 grams or the marijuana is burning. In other words, being smoked or it’s in open view, it’s sitting right there on your dashboard of your car, that would be the misdemeanor, a class B misdemeanor with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. You’re dealing with the possibility of a jail sentence on your first possession and class B misdemeanor can be sentenced up to 90 days in jail or one year probation. Those are the two most common misdemeanor charges you’ll see in New York State and particularly in Westchester County where I am.


Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.



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