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Possession of a Controlled Substance in Nassau County, NY

If you were charged with possession of any controlled substance in Nassau County, New York, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Stephanie Selloni. Call to scheduled a free, confidential consultation at our office in Garden City, New York. 

After an arrest, retain a drug defense attorney in Nassau County, Long Island that fights aggressively to protect clients from the draconian sanctions that come with any drug crime under the laws of New York. We believe in fighting the case with all viable motions including motions to suppress evidence and motions to dismiss the criminal charges.

Although the Nassau County District Attorney's Office has several different programs for first-time offenders or individuals with special needs, including Nassau County's drug treatment court, the S.T.E.P program, felony diversion court, and other chemical dependency programs, entering one of these programs is not always the best solution.

The Law Office of Stephanie Selloni represents clients throughout Hempstead, Garden City, Westbury, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, along with all five boroughs of New York City. Call 516-972-1212 today to speak with Attorney Stephanie Selloni about the unique facts of your case and how to fight for the absolute best result.


Information on Nassau County Possession Charges


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The Term "Possession" Under New York Law

The term "possession" means to have physical possession or otherwise to exercise dominion or control over the tangible property, i.e., the controlled substance. Under the laws in New York, a person may possess property in one of two ways. 

First, a person may have physical possession of a controlled substance or other contraband by holding it in his or her hand, or by carrying it in or on his or her body or person. Therefore, if a person is carrying a backpack or purse or luggage, and the controlled substance is in the backpack, or purse or luggage, then the prosecutor alleges that the substance was constructively possessed. 

Second, the person may exercise dominion or control over property that is not in his or her physical possession. A person who exercises dominion or control over property not in his or her physical possession is said to have that property in his or her "constructive possession."

Under New York law, a person has a controlled substance in his or her constructive possession when that person "exercises a level of control over the area in which the property is found, or over the person from whom the property is seized, sufficient to give him or her the ability to use or dispose of the property." See the Standard Jury Instructions for Constructive Possession.

The law even provides for the possibility that an item will be jointly possessed by more than one person as expressed in the following instruction: "Two or more persons have property in their joint constructive possession when they each exercise dominion or control over the property by a sufficient level of control over the area in which the property is found or over the person from whom the property is seized to give each of them the ability to use or dispose of the property."


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Presumptive Possession in an Automobile Under S. 220.25(1)

Under the laws of the State of New York, the presence of a controlled substance in an automobile is "presumptive evidence of knowingly possession of the substance by each and every person in the automobile at the time the controlled substance was found (unless the controlled substance was concealed upon the person of one of the occupants)." See the Standard Jury Instructions for Presumptive Possession - Automobile Penal Law S. 220.25(1).

This applies to an automobile but not a public bus. This rebuttable inference may support the prosecutor’s prima facie case, but may also be rejected by the trier of fact. 

The law essentially creates a shortcut for the prosecutor. If the prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the controlled substance was in a vehicle (and was not concealed upon the person of any of the occupants), then the jury "may," but is not required to, infer that the fact that each and every person inside the vehicle when the controlled substance was found was in knowing possession of it.

The jury is instructed that whether or not to draw that inference is for the jury to decide and will depend entirely on its determination of the evidence in the case.   


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Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in New York

New York Penal Law §220.03:

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree (7th degree).
  • Class A misdemeanor with imprisonment up to one year.
  • Possessing a controlled substance (includes any substance listed in §3306 of the NYS Public Health Law except for marihuana but includes concentrated cannabis as defined in §3302 of NYS Penal Law Article 220).

New York Penal Law § 220.06 

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (5th degree).
  • Class D felony with the following sentencing provisions: 
    • imprisonment for 1 to 2.5 (although the court may impose a probation sentence);   
    • For a 2nd time offender: imprisonment for 1.5 to 4 years (although the court may impose parole supervision); and 
    • For a 2nd time offender previously convicted of a violent felony with imprisonment: 2.5 to 4.5 years.
  • Includes possession of any of the following:
    • Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell it; or
    • Possession of any of the following:
      • cocaine (500 mg or more);
      • concentrated cannabis (aggregate weight of .25 oz ounce or more);
      • gamma hydroxybutyric acid (aggregate weight of 28g or more);
      • ketamine (more than 1,000 mg);
      • ketamine, if previously convicted of possession or attempt to commit possession of ketamine in any amount; or
      • amphencyclidine (50 mg or more).

New York Penal Law § 220.09 

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree (4th degree).
  • Class C felony with the following sentencing provisions: 
    • with imprisonment for 1 to 5.5 years (although the court may impose probation);
    • For a 2nd time offender: imprisonment for 2 to 8 years (although the court may impose parole supervision); or
    • For a 2nd time offender previously convicted of a violent felony imprisonment for 3.5 to 9 years.
  • Possession of any of the following:
    • narcotic drug (an aggregate weight of 1/8 oz or more);
    • narcotic preparation (an aggregate weight of 2 oz or more);
    • concentrated  cannabis (an aggregate weight of 1 oz or more);
    • phencyclidine (250 mg or more);
    • a dangerous depressant  (10 oz or more);
    • a depressant (2 lbs or more);
    • a stimulant (1g or more);
    • a hallucinogen (25 mg or more);
    • a hallucinogenic substance (1 g or more);
    • methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of  isomers (an aggregate weight of .5 oz or more);
    • phencyclidine (50 mg or more) with intent to sell it and has previously been convicted of an offense defined in § 220 or the attempt or conspiracy to commit any such offense);
    • lysergic acid diethylamide (1 mg or more);
    • methadone (360 mg or more);
    • ketamine (4,000 mg or more);
    • gamma hydroxybutyric acid (aggregate weight of 200g or more).

New York Penal Law § 220.16

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (3rd degree).
  • Class B felony with the following sentencing provisions:  
    • with imprisonment for 1 to 9 years (may be sentenced to probation);
    • for charges that occurred in or near school grounds then with imprisonment of 2 to 9 years;  
    • For a 2nd time offender: imprisonment for 3.5 to 12 years (although the court may impose parole supervision); or 
    • For a 2nd time offender previously convicted of a violent felony: imprisonment for 6 to 15 years.
  • Possession of any of the following:
    • a narcotic drug with intent to sell it;
    • narcotic drug (aggregate weight of .5 oz or more);
    • a stimulant (1 g or more) with intent to sell it;
    • a stimulant (5 g or more);
    • a  hallucinogen (25 mg or more) with intent to sell it;
    • a  hallucinogenic substance (1 g or more) with intent to sell it;
    • a  hallucinogen  (125 mg or more);
    • a  hallucinogenic  substance (5 g or more);
    • methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of isomers  (1/8 oz or more) with intent to sell it;
    • lysergic acid diethylamide, with intent to sell it and has previously been convicted of an offense defined in § 220 or the attempt or conspiracy to commit any such offense;
    • lysergic acid diethylamide (1 mg or more) with intent to sell it;
    • lysergic acid diethylamide (5 mg or more); or
    • phencyclidine (1,250 mg or more).

New York Penal Law § 220.18

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree (2nd degree).
  • Class A-II felony with the following sentencing provisions: 
    • Imprisonment 3 to 10 years;
    • For a 2nd time: offender, imprisonment for 6 to 14 years (the court may impose lifetime probation); or
    • For a 2nd time offender previously convicted of a violent felony: imprisonment for 8 to 17 years.
  • Possession of any of the following:
    • narcotic drug (aggregate weight of 4 oz or more);
    • a stimulant (10 g or more);
    • a hallucinogen (625 mg or more);
    • a hallucinogenic substance (25 g or more);
    • lysergic  acid  diethylamide  (25 mg or more);
    • methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of  isomers (aggregate weight of 2 oz or more); or
    • methadone (2,850mg or more).

New York Penal Law § 220.21

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree (1st degree).
  • Class A-I felony with the following sentencing provisions: 
    • Imprisonment for 8 to 20 years. 
    • For a 2nd time offender: imprisonment for 12 to 24 years.
    • For a 2nd time offender previously convicted of a violent felony, imprisonment for 15 to 30 years.
  • Possession of any of the following:
    • narcotic drug (aggregate weight of  8 oz or more); or
    • methadone (5760 mg or more).

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Finding an Attorney for Controlled Substance Possession in Nassau County

If you were arrested for any controlled substance possession charge in Nassau County, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Stephanie Selloni to discuss your case. Related drug charges in New York include sale of a controlled substance, prescription drug forgery and fraud, marijuana charges, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Stephanie Selloni represents clients throughout Long Island, including Garden City, Glen Cove, Long Beach, Mineola, Hempstead and the surrounding areas of Nassau County, NY. Contact us today at 516-972-1212 and schedule your free consultation to discuss your drug charges today.