New York takes drug possession very seriously. If the police arrest you with controlled substances on your person, you risk jail time even for possession in the seventh degree.
According to New York law, a controlled substance is any substance listed as a Schedule I, II, III, IV or V narcotic. The range of punishments varies greatly depending on the amount and particular substance. You can find the classification of each crime on the New York State Senate’s official website.
The most minor drug offense in New York is seventh-degree possession. If you unlawfully possess any amount of a controlled substance, you might receive this charge, which counts as a Class A misdemeanor. Depending on the circumstances and your history, up to one year of jail time is possible for this charge.
Possession in the fifth degree carries a maximum prison time of seven years. This is a Class D felony and remains on your permanent record.
As a Class C felony, fourth-degree drug possession has a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Third-degree drug charges count as a Class B felony. You risk spending up to 25 years in prison for this offense.
Second- and first-degree possession
The maximum prison sentence is life for both possession in the second and first degree. These are Class A felonies, and the court assumes you have the intent to sell.
The more significant your drug offense is, the more likely you will face jail time. If you have a good record, you have a better chance of receiving a lesser penalty, such as probation or house arrest.