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Drug Crimes in Manhattan

After New York passed the Rockefeller Drug Laws in 1973, creating mandatory minimum sentences for certain offenses having to do with controlled substances, the laws were used as models for how states should conduct the War on Drugs. The main results, as witnessed in the Empire State and across the nation was soaring populations in state penitentiaries and generations of people with criminal records.

In 2009, state drug laws were reformed. However, any offense involving controlled substances in New York Supreme Court or a New York City Criminal Court can have very serious repercussions.

Attorney for Drug Crimes in Manhattan

If you face charges for a controlled substance-related offense under New York State law, contact a skilled lawyer in Manhattan who will seek the best possible results for you. At Greco Neyland, PC, we represent people facing charges of possession, sale and other drug offenses, from misdemeanors to class A-I felonies.

An attorney at Greco Neyland, PC with offices conveniently located in downtown and midtown Manhattan can meet with you to discuss the charges. We work have to give your case the personal attention needed to fight for the absolute best result. At Greco Neyland, PC, we spend the time to thoroughly investigate each client’s case to build the strongest possible defense for you. Call us today at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation.

Have a former prosecutor fighting for you. We know how the other side thinks because we used to be on that side. We use that to put our clients in the best possible position going forward. We represent clients throughout New York City including Manhattan and Brooklyn.


Overview of New York Drug Cases


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Illegal and Regulated Drugs Under New York Law

The law in New York State as to what substances are controlled closely mirrors that of federal law. If something is a controlled substance, it means a person may not even possess it without sufficient legal permission. Permission can include a valid prescription, although there are many substances, like marijuana, for which there are no valid prescriptions.

Controlled substances include:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine (Meth)
  • MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)
  • LSD (Acid)
  • PCP
  • Prescription Drugs, like:
    • Ambien
    • Xanax
    • Morphine
    • Codeine
    • Vicodin
    • Oxycontin
    • Hydrocodone
  • Synthetic Drugs, like Kush

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Types of Controlled Substance Offenses

New York Penal Law, Article 220 lays out many of the criminal offenses a person may be charged with in New York City Criminal Court that relate to controlled substances. They can be misdemeanors or felonies. You are arraigned for either in Criminal Court, though felonies are tried in Supreme Court.

Charges can involve:

Charges escalate if prosecutors can prove possession was with the intent to sell, distribute or manufacture. Intent to sell can be proven with the quantity possessed, whether any paraphernalia was present like scales and baggies, or any alleged behavior (like trying to sell to an undercover officer).

  • Sale: The illegal sale of a controlled substance is a felony. There are five “degrees” of criminal sale, with charges escalating with certain factors present. Those factors can include the type of drug, the amount sold and if the sale took place near a school.
  • Paraphernalia: Under New York law, drug paraphernalia refers to chemicals, capsules, scales and baggies used for the manufacturing or distribution of controlled substances. It is also illegal to possess or sell a hypodermic needle without legal permission.

New York also has specific laws outlawing methamphetamine (meth) manufacturing, as well.


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Drug Treatment Courts

For charges involving controlled substances, certain people may be eligible for participation in a treatment court. New York County has both a misdemeanor treatment court and a felony treatment court. The felony court is only an option for first-time offenders. Kings County has Brooklyn Treatment Court.

Participants follow a treatment plan and must report regularly back to the court. They must take drug tests and have clean results, including for alcohol. Upon the completion of the four-phase program, graduates’ charges are dismissed. The records are not sealed, but when asked on applications for jobs or student financial aid whether they’ve been convicted of a crime, graduates may legally answer “No.”

However, to participate, you must first plead guilty to the offense. If you mess up (an example would be if you ever have a dirty drug test), the judge can sanction you, which may include up to two weeks in jail. Repeated mistakes can lead to failure. Since you’ve already plead guilty, there is no trial – you go right to sentencing.

Treatment court may seem like the easy way to go to avoid jail. In some cases, it might be the best option. If treatment court seems like a good option, we can help you get admitted. However, we will also examine the details of your case and fully inform you of all your choices.


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Illegal Searches and Seizures in Drug Cases

If police found illegal drugs on you, it may seem like an open-and-shut case, and that your best bet is to seek mercy in sentencing. Before you make any decisions about what to do, talk to an attorney, because your options may not be so limited.

To secure a conviction, prosecutors must bring evidence to prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.  In most drug cases, the drugs themselves are critical evidence. Typically, the drugs are found as the result of some sort of search. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures.

To conduct a search in place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, police must have probable cause. In most cases, that means they must have a warrant signed by a judge.  You have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your home, in the locked trunk and glove compartment of your car, and in many other places.

In many cases, NYPD ignores the rights of people they suspect of crimes and search places where they shouldn’t. When they violate your rights during a search, the evidence obtained from that illegal search may be thrown out.

At Greco Neyland, PC, we will carefully review your arrest and all the circumstances that led up to it. If there was an illegal search, we will file a motion to suppress. Without critical evidence, your charges may be thrown out entirely.


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New York Drug Crimes Resources

New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) — This organization leads a system of addiction services for prevention, treatment, and recovery. The website contains information about laws and regulations, various programs, and several links to additional information.

501 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10018-5903
Phone: (518) 473-3460

The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) — The SNP is responsible for felony narcotics investigations and prosecutions in the five boroughs of New York City. As an independent prosecutors’ office with citywide jurisdiction, it is the only agency of its kind in the United States.

80 Centre Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 815-0400

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — This website contains various information relating to alcohol and drug use, including publications, provider resources, and various links to help.

125 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 1-800-LIFENET


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Drug Defense Attorney New York City – Greco Neyland, PC

If you face any type of charge of illegal substances in state court in New York, including Supreme Court or New York City Criminal Court, contact an experienced drug crimes attorney in Manhattan who will fight for you. Call Greco Neyland, PC at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation.

Call to find out more about important defenses that might apply to serious drug crimes in New York including the right to a speedy trial and the statute of limitations.

We represent clients on a varity of different types of drug charges from simple possession to more serious offenses for sale or trafficking throughout Manhattan and the surrounding areas in New York City. Call us to discuss the case.

This article was last updated on Thursday, May 26, 2016.

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Jeff Greco
Jeffery Greco
Experience as a former prosecutor gives Jeffery Greco an edge in building the strongest possible defense strategy for the accused in New York City.
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A thorough investigation is key to finding every reasonable doubt and getting charges reduced or dismissed for NYC defense attorney Dustan Neyland.
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