New York Penal Law § 220.03 Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree

Article 220 of the Penal Law defines crimes involving the possession, sale and manufacture of controlled substances. There are a number of factors which will effect the level of the narcotics offense including whether the controlled substance was sold or just possessed, the type of controlled substance and the weight or quantity of the controlled substance.

Being charged with selling a controlled substance is generally charged more severely than possession.  However, at large possession amounts, a defendant can be charged with intending to sell the drug at the same severity as an actual sale.  

The type of controlled substance may impact the charge as well.  There are seven categories of controlled substances: narcotic drugs, narcotic preparations, hallucinogens, hallucinogenic substances, stimulants, dangerous depressants and depressants.

The weight of the substance can be another aggravating factor. While certain weights are measured by aggregate weight (regardless of purity), many charges require a certain weight of pure drug.  

Article 221 defines marihuana offenses. The main factor affecting the charge is the weight of the marihuana possessed or sold. Unlike other drugs, marijuana only measures by aggregate weight and never requires purity. Possession of marihuana weighing less than twenty-five grams is only charged as a violation, not a crime, unless the possession is in a public place and burning or open to public view, in which case the charge would be a B misdemeanor.

Because every drug crimes case is different and the specifics of your case will need to be analyzed, it is imperative that you consult with Nassau County Drug Possession defense attorney Richard Hochhauser as soon as possible. Ignoring your drug charge and impending court date isn’t going to make the problem go away, and retaining a skilled criminal lawyer like Richard Hochhauser is necessary if you want to give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding harsh penalties.


The sooner you consult with Mr. Hochhauser, the sooner he will be able to start preparing an aggressive defense.  To benefit from Nassau County Drug Defense Lawyer Richard Hochhauser's commitment to his clients, call 516-939-1529 for a free consultation, or simply fill out a short case review form and a representative from the Law Office of Richard Hochhauser will get back to you promptly. 

Frequently asked questions

What is "Possession" of a Controlled Substance in New York?

According to New York law, possession of a controlled substance can be shown by actual physical possession or by exercising “dominion or control over tangible property. Dominion or control is often times shown by a controlled substance being in the same vehicle as you. Importantly, possession is not the same as ownership; a person may possess a controlled substance without being its owner.

What are the elements of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in New York?

The four elements which the government must prove for all drug cases are the following: (1) the substance was a controlled substance (or marijuana for marijuana related cases); (2) the defendant possessed the substance; (3) the defendant's possession was knowing; and 4) the defendant's possession was unlawful Contact Nassau County Drug Defense Attorney Richard Hochhauser for a free consultation of your drug charge.