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New York drug-possession penalties at a glance

Possession of controlled substances in New York is a broad category of criminal charges. Maximum jail times for convictions range from 15 days to 20 years. Fines also range similarly, from a couple hundred to one hundred thousand dollars.

Generally speaking, marijuana violations come with the least severe penalties and possession of large quantities of methadone or narcotics comes with the most severe. This article will take a brief look at some possession charges and their potential consequences.

Felony charges

State law arranges felonies into a range of classes. Each of these has specific sentencing guidelines. Further, the court often has some discretion when it comes to exactly what type and severity of sentence to issue.

Legal defenses against criminal charges could include attempts to reduce the charge, arguments against the evidence provided by the state and various other aspects. All of these could influence the eventual outcome of the case. In other words, simply looking at a chart of criminal classes and their jail times is not often useful when attempting to plan for the possible penalties of a felony drug possession charge.


Illegal possession of marijuana is a violation. Violations in New York are not technically crimes, although a violation case is a type of criminal case. Other examples include trespassing and disorderly conduct.

The highest possible jail time for these is 15 days. Misdemeanors, the next grade of criminal cases, might have jail sentences of three months to three years.

Fighting a charge

There is no such thing as a minor conviction. Crimes are actions or failures to act that legislators have deemed harmful to society. Aside from the penalties, there are sometimes longer-reaching consequences.