Category Archives: Drug and Alcohol Charges

What is a Controlled Substance?

As science and technology have evolved, people have endless options to cure or fix an issue they may be facing. There is a pill to help you sleep and another to wake you up. There are plants that fix digestive problems and roots that are said to cure cancer. From caffeine to cocaine, Advil to Adderall, or Metamucil to methamphetamine, substances are all around us and used by the majority of Americans. State and Federal agencies have decided that some of these substances require more oversight than others and those substances are what is considered a “controlled substance.”

There are varying levels of “control” when it comes to controlled substances. These levels are called schedules. There are five schedules of controlled substances and these schedules are based on their medical use, as well as abuse and dependency potential.

Schedule I Controlled Substances are substances without any acceptable medical use in the United States with a high potential for abuse. These drugs are completely outlawed, and include:

  1. Heroin
  2. LSD
  3. Peyote
  4. Methamphetamine

Schedule II Controlled Substances are substances with a high potential for abuse or which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. These substances may be obtained with a prescription but they are highly regulated.  These substances include:

  1. OxyContin
  2. Percocet
  3. Adderall
  4. Ritalin

Schedule III Controlled Substances are substances that have lower potential for abuse, but may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. These substances may be obtained with a prescription. These substances include:

  1. Vicodin
  2. Codeine
  3. Anabolic Steroids

Schedule IV substances have a low potential for abuse and include:

  1. Xanax
  2. Valium
  3. Ativan

Schedule V substances have the lowest potential for abuse and are the least regulated, and are generally regulated based on potency and quantity. One common example of Schedule V is highly-concentrated cough syrup.

Possessing a controlled substance without a prescription is considered a drug offense. Possession is defined as the care, custody, control, or management – not necessarily the ownership – of a controlled substance. Punishment for possession of controlled substances can include a felony conviction and substantial jail time. As such, it is important to understand what controlled substances are to avoid taking them from or hold them for people even if that person has a prescription.

Call a New York Drug Defense Attorney for a Free Consultation Today.

Speaking with a New York Drug Defense Attorney can help you understand what a controlled substance is, what options you have if you have a controlled substance in your possession, and defend you if you are arrested for possession of controlled substance. Stephan Jacob Siegel has represented clients in several thousand matters involving charges, possession, or sale of a controlled substance. Please call a New York criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel today at 718-575-3900 for help.

Caught with Oxy, What Now?

If you are caught with OxyCodone, you can be charged with a criminal offense, even though it is a legal, prescription drug. Commonly referred to as OxyContin or Percocet, it is a narcotic pain reliever prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Although it is a legally prescribed drug, there are still some serious side effects. Abuse can cause dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and even overdose. According to the CDC, over 16,000 people died from Oxy related overdoses in a year.

It is highly addictive and has become popular in drug trade. Many patients resort to illegal means when their prescription runs out and their doctor won’t prescribe anymore—this is when most people get caught.

Penalties

Under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, OxyCodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to a significant risk of addiction and high potential for abuse. Illegally obtaining Oxy, or even just the prescription itself, is a serious crime in New York. Article 178 of the New York Penal Law states, “A person is guilty of criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions… when he or she commits a criminal diversion act.” A criminal diversion act is any act (or acts) in which an individual deliberately:

  • Transfers or delivers either a plain prescription or the actual prescription medication for payment, while knowing the recipient does not need the medication or prescription for medical purposes
  • Receives a plain prescription or the actual prescription medication, while knowing that the seller has no legal authority to sell the medication or prescription

Depending on monetary amount found in possession, if there was intent to sell, and the offender’s past record, the charges range from a Class A Misdemeanor—the least severe—to a Class C Felony. The penalties include incarceration, steep fines, community service, and mandatory participation in a drug abuse program.  At the very least, a Class A misdemeanor controlled substance charge can result in a fine of $1,000 and up to 1 year in prison. Possession of larger amounts can lengthen the prison time and increase fines. If you are charged with intent to distribute, the penalties are more serious.

If you’ve been charged with possession of a controlled substance in New York, it is important for you to talk to an attorney right away. Possession of drugs in New York can result in fines and periods of incarceration. Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq. is a criminal defense attorney who has tried over 1200 cases in a period of 30 years. Contact his law office today to start building a solid defense for your case. Call us for a free consultation (718) 575-3900.

Drug Possession Charges

It’s well known that drug possession charges carry vastly different penalties depending on the type and amount of the substance which was involved. A wide scope of drugs in New York, including heroin, cocaine, MDMA and marijuana are all illegal and can include criminal charges for personal possession for use even if you do not intend to sell them later. A ‘personal use’ offense in our state can result in a misdemeanor charge with up to a year in jail.

One of the biggest issues with these charges is that the law allows a police officer to determine that the substance you possess is controlled even if they haven’t tested it yet. If a member of NYPD determines that a white powder or pill that you have is an illegal drug based on their experience and the situation, you will at least have a court date and rap sheet before the substance has even been analyzed. This is true even with very small amounts of substances, as evidenced in the below cases.

People v. Kalin: This was one of the first cases held where police officers can establish a substance as illegally controlled without a lab report, and will go to place a legal complain even if the lab report later comes up negative. This is also true if the drug is in residue form and cannot even be ingested for the drug to take effect. Baggies of drugs are easily identifiable, but the law holds that even much smaller amounts will count in court at least initially. This case took place in 2009.

People v. Smalls: Just last year, the NY court of appeals ruled on a case of residue arrest on a charge of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree. In this charge, the arresting officer used his experience to determine that the small substance was legitimate because of the possession of a glass pipe generally used by drug users, as well as other warning signs.

The Good News: While the two above cases and the law on allowing officers to move forward in a case without clear proof of the accuracy of the drugs’ reality can be discouraging, there is a silver lining. If or when a case does move to trial, it will require a laboratory testing instead of just the officer’s assumptions. There is an increased burden of proof once it moves to trial, which means that through laboratory testing you can be exonerated far more easily.

Your Options: If you are being charged with drug possession for personal use and it is a small amount, you have a good chance of fighting the charges in court. You will benefit highly from working with an experienced criminal defense attorney. With over thirty years of experience representing clients in New York, you can count on me, Stephan Jacob Siegel to help. For a free consultation on my services, call me today at 718-575-3900 to begin moving forward on your case.