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.