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NYPD Lab Technician Suspended

NY Post: NYPD Lab Technician Suspended for Potential Improper Testing of Drugs in NY Criminal Cases

Under New York law, the substances that are “controlled” are listed in New York Public Health Law Article 33. So if a substance is on that list, it is a “controlled substance.” All of the drugs that are commonly known as being illegal, like heroin, cocaine, LSD, etc, are on this list. Public Health Law 33 also delineates that some “controlled substances” are considered “narcotics.” To put it very basically, under New York law, a “narcotic” is defined as either cocaine or heroin or a chemical derivative of either. Whether a controlled substance is classified as a narcotic is significant because the particular sanctions can be greater for possessing or selling a narcotic in certain contexts. For example, if a person sells LSD to someone else, he is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, whereas if he sells heroin to someone else, he is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in Third Degree. The maximum period of incarceration for a first-arrest LSD sale is 30 months in prison. However, the maximum period of incarceration for a first-arrest heroin sale is nine years in prison. When it comes to simple possession, the legal significance is the same. Both narcotics and controlled substances are class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail.

Both Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree are class A-1 felonies. If a person has never been convicted of a crime in the past, the minimum period of incarceration for a class A-1 drug felony is eight years in prison. The maximum period is 20 years. If a person has previously been convicted of a felony within the past 10 years of the instant offense (excluding time spent in prison), then the minimum period of incarceration is 12 years and the maximum is 24 years. If the person has previously been convicted of a “violent” felony within the past 10 years (excluding time spent in prison), then the minimum period of incarceration is 15 years and the maximum is 30 years. Accusations of Criminal Sale or Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree are among the most serious in the New York Penal Code.

Both Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree are class A-2 felonies. If a person has never been convicted of a crime in the past, the minimum period of incarceration for a class A-2 drug felony is three years in prison. The maximum period is 10 years. If a person has previously been convicted of a felony within the past 10 years of the instant offense (excluding time spent in prison), then the minimum period of incarceration is six years and the maximum is 14 years. If the person has previously been convicted of a “violent” felony within the past 10 years (excluding time spent in prison), then the minimum period of incarceration is eight years and the maximum is 17 years.

According to the New York Post, Manhattan District Attorney, and his fellow chief prosecutors throughout New York City may have a problem on their hands. An NYPD civilian lab technician, has been suspended by the NYPD from her job testing drugs and narcotics recovered by the police. Technicians such as the civilian lab technician are relied on by prosecutors from all of the New York City offices in pursuing criminal charges against those who possess or sell drugs and other controlled substances. Only time will tell whether the investigation reveals that she did no wrong, was sloppy or perpetrated an intentional fraud. Having said that, one thing is certain. Right now, if the New York Post story is accurate, there could be numerous people charged with possessing or selling drugs in New York who should be contacting their criminal defense attorneys to ascertain whether or not she tested the alleged controlled substances in their criminal cases.

Controlled substance cases are often handled by specialized officers. In New York City, the NYPD has its own Narcotics Division. Many District Attorney Offices have specialized units with prosecutors who exclusively handle controlled substance cases. Controlled substance offenses have their own unique rules and punishments. A person charged with this type of crime is often treated differently from other offenders, and may benefit from more lenient sentences, particularly if the accused has a drug addiction.

If you are facing drug crimes charges, seek the help of a New York Drug Crime Attorney and New York Criminal Defense Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates.

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