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What are 5th and 7th degree drug crimes?

by | Feb 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Anyone arrested for a drug crime in New York may wonder, wisely, about the penalties, which could include prison time, steep fines, and a permanent criminal record. That being said, some drug crime convictions come with harsher penalties than others. What is more concerning to the accused, a 7th-degree or a 5th-degree drug crime? Both come with serious repercussions, but they warrant a closer look to determine the differences.

A 7th degree vs. a 5th degree drug crime

“Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree” refers to the knowing and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. A person who procures someone else’s oxycontin or testosterone prescription and has it on their person may face charges under this statute. Be aware some exceptions provide possible immunity to the charge. The statute states that the discovery of a controlled substance during a health care emergency, such as an overdose, might not be admissible.

“Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree” refers to knowingly and unlawfully possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell it. It should be pointed out that the intention to sell the controlled substance reflects only one aspect of the statute. A person might face this charge when possessing 50 milligrams of PCP or 1,000 milligrams of ketamine, among other drug crime charges.

Charges and penalties for the violations

A 7th-degree drug charge represents a class A misdemeanor offense, while a 5th-degree charge rises to a class D felony. A conviction for a class A misdemeanor may lead to a maximum stay of up to one year in jail or three years on probation. A fine of up to $1,000 is possible. A class D felony might be violent or non-violent. A class D felony drug charge may present prison time of one to two-and-a-half years, along with a possible fine of up to $5,000.