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Understanding the different types of drug charges in New York

The type of drug charge a defendant faces is dependent on the type of drug involved, as well as the quantity. Sentences often range based on whether the arrestee is charged with a state or federal drug charges. There are five major types of drug charges individuals in New York could be charged with.

The first is a charge for drug paraphernalia. This means that the defendant was in possession of a piece of equipment that is used to prepare, inject, inhale, produce or conceal an illegal drug. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, it is illegal for anyone to sell, import or export any type of drug paraphernalia, which includes items such as bongs, a variety of pipes, syringes and rolling papers. However, many of these items are used for legal purposes or made to look like they could be used for legal purposes, which could be used in a defense against such a charge.

The next common drug charge type is possession. While this can range from state to state, being in possession of a controlled substance, such as marijuana, cocaine or heroin, could lead to a state or federal drug charge. If the quality is small, this could result in a simple possession charge. However, if the accused is found with a large amount in their possession, they could face a charge of possession with intent to distribute.

Third, a defendant could face a drug manufacturing charge. This means that the accused is charged with being involved in any step of the production process of an illegal drug. Delivery of an illegal drug is also considered part of this process. Fourth, an accused could face drug trafficking charges. This is a more serious charge than possession because there is the intent to sell, transport or import illegal or controlled substances. Merely possessing a large quantity of an illegal drug could lead authorities to believe that distribution was intended.

Lastly, a defendant could face a drug dealing charge. This generally refers to the small scale selling of illegal drugs. This is dealt with differently than drug trafficking, because drug dealing usually consists of one person selling small amounts of an illegal drug.

Source: Criminal.findlaw.com, "Types of Drug Crimes," accessed Oct. 26, 2015

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