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What Is Considered Drug Trafficking In New York?


New York uses the term major trafficker in Penal Law § 220.77. A major trafficker acts as a director of a controlled substance organization during any period of twelve months or less, during which period such controlled substance organization sells one or more controlled substances, and the proceeds collected or due from such sale or sales have a total aggregate value of seventy five thousand dollars or more.

Can Police Execute A Warrantless Search Of A Residence Or A Vehicle If They Suspect A Drug Offense?

The law on when the police can search automobiles or homes without a search warrant is not dependent upon the underlying crime the police are investigating. It is based upon search and seizure law applicable to all crimes.

The ability of the police to search an automobile without a warrant is substantially greater than their ability to search one’s home without a warrant.

There are numerous exceptions to the general rule that the police need a warrant to conduct a search. Each exception, including the more common exceptions listed here, has its own nuances that evolve with the case law. The more common exceptions are:

  1. Consent. If the person who has a reasonable expectation of privacy freely and voluntarily gives consent to search the area or property searched, the police do not need a warrant to search. If the consent is not voluntarily given, the court will suppress the evidence. (People v. Gonzalez, 39 N.Y.2d 122 [1976])
  2. Plain View. If an officer is lawfully in a place where he or she can see the evidence in plain view, that officer may seize that evidence without a warrant. (People v. Brosnan, 32 N.Y.2d 254 [1973]).
  3. Search incident to lawful arrest. While conducting a lawful arrest, an officer may search one’s person and immediate surroundings for weapons or other items that may harm the officer. If a person is arrested in or near a vehicle, the officer has the right to search the passenger compartment of that vehicle. (United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218 [1973]).
  4. Exigent Circumstances. The police are not required to obtain a search warrant if they reasonably believe that evidence may be destroyed or others may be placed in danger in the time it would take to secure the warrant. (People v. McBride, 14 N.Y.3d 440 [2010]).
  5. Automobile Exception. Provided he or she has lawfully stopped a motor vehicle, an officer may search that vehicle if he or she has a reasonable belief that contraband is contained inside the vehicle. (People v. Belton, 55 N.Y.2d 49 [1982]).

Can a Passenger Be Charged With A Drug Related Offense If Drugs Are Discovered In a Vehicle?

Yes. In fact, with limited exceptions, the penal law provides that the presence of a controlled substance in an automobile is presumptive evidence of knowing possession thereof by each and every person in the automobile at the time such controlled substance was found. (Penal Law § 220.25-1).

Likewise, the presence of a narcotic drug, narcotic preparation, marihuana or phencyclidine in open view in a room, other than a public place, under circumstances evincing an intent to unlawfully mix, compound, package or otherwise prepare for sale such controlled substance is presumptive evidence of knowing possession thereof by each and every person in close proximity to such controlled substance at the time such controlled substance was found; again, with limited exceptions.

What Is The General Timeline Of A Drug Related Case In New York?

Sometimes these cases last for a very long time, especially if the defendant chooses to enter treatment. If so, all parties generally wait to see how well the defendant does in treatment before trying to resolve the matter. The time it may take to establish how well one does in treatment may vary.

If one of the parties to the litigation does not wish to pursue treatment, these cases tend to resolve between three to nine months after arrest.

For more information on Drug Trafficking In New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 794-1303 today.

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