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Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance

Penalties for selling illegal drugs or controlled substances in New York have long been some of the toughest in the country and are stricter than penalties for merely possessing drugs. Serious drug charges may result in life in prison, and the penalties depend on the amount and type of drug as well as the location where they were sold and the criminal record of the defendant. 

In 1979, however, New York removed the sale of marijuana from this section of the law and it is now covered in a different section of the law. 

Manhattan Lawyer for Criminal Drug Charges

If you face criminal charges under New York Penal Law (N.Y. P.L.), Section 220 for the sale of a controlled substance in Manhattan or any of New York City’s five boroughs, you should contact a skilled lawyer who will seek the best possible results for you. At Greco Neyland, PC, we represent people facing charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance of all degrees.

Your Manhattan drug charges require a defense lawyer who can give your case the personal attention it needs to obtain the best result – not a public defender with a huge caseload. At Greco Neyland, PC, we spend the time to thoroughly research each client’s case to develop the most aggressive defense possible against your charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance.

With Greco Neyland, PC, you will have a former prosecutor fighting for you. We know how the other side thinks because we used to be on that side. We use our knowledge to put our clients in the best possible position in all aspects of their cases. We represent clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and all five NYC boroughs. Call us today at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation.


Information About Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in NY


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Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in New York

The penalties for criminal sale of a controlled substance in New York depend on the amount and type of the drug sold. There are several categories of criminal sale of a controlled substance, but prosecutors will usually file a charge on the most serious offense:

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree will be charged if it is alleged that you sold one of the following:

  • Two ounces or more of narcotics such as crack, cocaine, or heroin, or
  • More than 2,880 milligrams of methadone

This is defined as a class A-I felony under N.Y. P.L. 220.43, and conviction will result in:

  • Eight to 20 years in prison, even with no prior felony convictions;
  • 12 to 20 years in prison if you have completed a nonviolent felony sentence in the past decade;
  • 15 to 30 years in prison if you have completed a violent felony sentence in the past decade; and
  • Up to $100,000 in fines

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree will be charged if it is alleged that you sold one of the following:

  • A half ounce or more of methamphetamine or a narcotic such as crack, cocaine, or heroin;
  • 360 milligrams or more of methadone;
  • Five grams or more of a stimulant such as amphetamine;
  • Five milligrams (mg) or more of LSD;
  • 125 mg or more of a hallucinogen such as synthetic THC;
  • Five grams or more of a hallucinogenic substance such as mescaline, peyote, or MDMA (ecstasy)

This is defined as a class A-II felony under N.Y. P.L. 220.41, and conviction will result in:

  • Three to 10 years in prison, even with no prior felony convictions;
  • Six to 14 years in prison if you have completed a nonviolent felony sentence in the past decade;
  • Eight to 17 years in prison if you have completed a violent felony sentence in the past decade; and
  • Up to $50,000 in fines

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree will be charged if it is alleged that you sold one of the following:

  • Any amount of a narcotic such as crack, cocaine, or heroin;
  • A narcotic preparation to someone under the age of 21;
  • Any amount of LSD if you have a prior drug-related conviction;
  • A gram or more of a stimulant (such as amphetamine) or a hallucinogenic substance such as mescaline, peyote, or MDMA;
  • A milligram or more of LSD;
  • 25 mg or more of a hallucinogen such as synthetic THC;
  • One-eighth of an ounce or more of methamphetamine; or
  • 250 mg or more of PCP (phencyclidine, also known as angel dust)

This is defined as a class B felony under N.Y. P.L. 220.39, and conviction will result in:

  • One to nine years in prison, even with no prior felony convictions, with the possibility of probation
  • Two to 12 years in prison if you have completed a nonviolent felony sentence in the past decade
  • Six to 15 years in prison if you have completed a violent felony sentence in the past decade
  • Up to $30,000 in fines

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree will be charged if it is alleged that you sold one of the following:

  • Any amount of a narcotic preparation, methadone or hashish;
  • 10 ounces or more of a “dangerous depressant” such as Quaaludes;
  • 2 pounds or more of an ordinary depressant such as Valium (Diazepam);
  • 4 grams or more of ketamine;
  • 50 mg or more of PCP; or
  • 28 grams or more of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid)

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree will also be charged if it is alleged that you sold any controlled substance in any amount at or on the grounds of a:

  • School or any other educational facility; or
  • Daycare facility

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree is defined as a class C felony under N.Y. P.L. 220.34, and conviction will result  in:

  • One-and-one-half to five years in prison, even with no prior felony convictions, with the possibility of probation;
  • One-and-one-half to eight years in prison if you have completed a nonviolent felony sentence in the past decade;
  • Three and one-half to nine years in prison if you have completed a violent felony sentence in the past decade; and
  • Up to $15,000 in fines

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree will be charged if it is alleged that you sold any amount of any illegal or prescription drug that does not fit into any of the above categories. This is defined as a class D felony under N.Y. P.L. 220.31, and conviction will result in:

  • One to two-and-one-half years in prison, even with no prior felony convictions, with possibility of probation;
  • One-and-one-half to four years in prison if you have completed a nonviolent felony sentence in the past decade;
  • Two-and-one-half to four-and-one-half years in prison if you have completed a violent felony sentence in the past decade; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

The NYPD often works with federal DEA enforcement as well as the state police. The NYPD especially targets those in the 18 to 40 age group who are suspected of selling drugs, due to an association with violent crime.


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Defenses to Drug Charges in New York City

Some defenses might be available to you if you are charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance. Police may have violated your Constitutional rights when collecting evidence, and in such a case, it should not be used against you in court. 

Evidence may have been improperly stored or tested, and the amount or type of drug you are charged with selling may be incorrect. If this is the case, the charges against you can be reduced to a lesser degree or even dismissed entirely. You should consult with an experienced New York City criminal defense attorney to understand the charges and punishments you face.


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Resources Related to Drug Charges in New York

NYPD — Narcotics Division’s primary responsibility for enforcement of controlled substance laws in NYC falls to the NYPD Narcotics Division:

Narcotics Division
1 Police Plaza
New York, NY, 10038
(646) 610-6960
Narcotics Complaints 24 Hour Desk: (646) 610-6610
Assistant Chief Commanding: Brian J. McCarthy

New York City Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor — The New York City Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) investigates and prosecutes more than 3,000 arrests annually and has jurisdiction over felony narcotics crimes in the five boroughs of New York City. Additionally, SNP works to reduce the demand for narcotics by raising public awareness and facilitating treatment for addicted offenders.

Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor
80 Centre Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10013
(212) 815-0400

Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement — The New York state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) is responsible for combating the illegal use and trafficking of prescription controlled substances. The Bureau provides millions of secure Official New York State Prescriptions annually to over 95,000 prescribing practitioners across the State.

BNE monitors and regulates controlled substances through its issuance of licenses to manufacturers, distributors, hospitals, nursing homes, and researchers. BNE Narcotic Investigators investigate suspected drug diversion or illegal sales involving theft, forgery, and fraudulent visits to practitioners’ offices, and work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement. The Bureau also prevents prescription drug abuse through educational materials and presentations for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals.

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement
Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237


Find a Lawyer for Sale of Controlled Substances in New York City

If you have been arrested for criminal sale of a controlled substance in New York, you face serious penalties if convicted, so you need an advocate on your side who will fight hard to get you the best possible result.

The experienced attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC represent people charged with drug crimes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Contact the skilled New York City lawyers for drug charges at Greco Neyland, PC today. We will explore every possible avenue in your case. Call us today at (212) 951-1300 to schedule your free consultation.

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