It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in New
York. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed and
whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation.
[40 N.Y. Laws Ann. §§ 221.05, 221.10, 221.15, 221.25, & 221.30]
Up to 25 grams
New York has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana (at least as far as first and second violations are involved). Violations are considered civil citations (similar to a traffic violation), which incur a fine, but no jail time. There is a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, and up to $200 for a second offense. Third and subsequent offenses, however, are misdemeanors, and are punishable with a fine of up to $250, up to five days in jail, or both.
Between 25 grams and two ounces
Penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to three months in jail, or both.
Between two and eight ounces
Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Between eight and 16 ounces
Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and four years in prison, or both. Mandatory prison time applies to second offenses.
Between 16 ounces and ten pounds
Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and seven years in prison, or both. Mandatory prison time applies to second offenses.
It is illegal in New York to manufacture, sell, or use drug
paraphernalia (or possess paraphernalia with the intent to do
Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing,
selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties include a fine of
$1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
[20 N.Y. Laws Ann. § 851].
An attorney can help protect your rights. If you seek to contest the marijuana charges they can request a jury trial, challenge the evidence against you and cross-examine the government's witnesses. In addition, they can help you to decide if you want to testify and subpoena witnesses for your behalf.
A lawyer can mean the difference between incarceration and freedom. Besides losing your liberty, a criminal conviction can damage your reputation, your future job prospects, or in some instances, your right to vote or drive a car.