When New Yorkers think of drug crimes, they probably think of drug possession and drug distribution. Although these are perhaps amongst the most common and most serious of drug offenses, there are a whole host of other drug-related laws that can leave an individual facing the potentiality of serious penalties should he or she be convicted.
Amongst these laws are those that pertain to drug paraphernalia. For example, under New York law it is illegal to possess a hypodermic needle when the possessor knowingly controls it for the purposes of committing a criminal offense. Therefore, if a syringe is possessed for the purpose of injecting illegal narcotics, then an individual can be convicted of this offense, which is a Class A misdemeanor. It is not illegal, of course, to possess a syringe so long as its use is legal, such as for the injection of diabetes medication.
New York has other drug paraphernalia laws, too. It is illegal, for example, to possess scales and balances for the purpose of weighing drugs. It is also illegal to possess capsules used to package drugs, as well as stimulants that can be used to mix drugs. These crimes are also a Class A misdemeanor, unless an individual has a prior paraphernalia conviction, at which time the offense is upgraded to a Class D felony.
The penalties for a drug paraphernalia conviction, while not as severe as drug possession or drug distribution, can still wreak havoc on an individual’s life. He or she may wind up serving jail time, paying a fine, and succumbing to a mark on their record that can affect their housing and employment. Fortunately, most of those who are confronting these types of charges have criminal defense options available to them. Those who wish to learn more about how to protect themselves in criminal proceedings should consider discussing their case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.