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Overview: Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance (CPCS)

by Seth Azria on 3/19/2016

The elements of a Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance (CPCS) charge may be simply stated as: the person knowingly and unlawfully possessed a controlled substance. Nevertheless, the drug laws are complex and defending a drug case involves many factors related to the amount of the substance, the type of substance, and many procedural issues often related to the search and how the person finds themselves facing the charge. 

For an analysis of your case, please call us at (315) 364-1155 for a free consultation with Attorney Ralph Habib. Mr. Habib is a former narcotics prosecutor and has defended numerous drug crimes cases around New York State and will discuss your case with you. 

The list below provides an overview of the degrees of this drug crime. The list is a summary of the law for general reference only it is not legal advice. 

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree 

NY Penal Law 220.03

Class A Misdemeanor

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance (CPCS) in the seventh degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree

NY Penal Law 220.06

Class D Felony

CPCS may also be charged in the 5th degree because of the weight of the substance and the weights vary based on the kind of substance, for example, cocaine, GHB, and specific preparations have different weights to be charged as CPCS in the 5th degree. A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance with the intent to sell it. 

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree 

NY Penal Law 220.09

Class C Felony

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance. Like CPCS in the 5th degree, the fourth degree will be charged based on the weight of the substance involved in the case. The 4th degree charge also includes additional substances, for example hallucinogens.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree 

NY Penal Law 220.16

Class B felony

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a narcotic drug with the intent to sell it. CPCS in the 3rd degree may also be charged if there is an intent to sell a specific weight of the substance. 

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree 

NY Penal Law 220.18

Class A-II Felony

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance. Like the other degrees of this crime, the 2nd degree charge is dictated largely by the weight of the substance involved.

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree

Class A-I Felony

Like the lowers degrees of the crime, CPCS in 1st degree is charged based on the weight of the substance. One way to be charged with CPCS in the 1st degree is to possess one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug of an aggregate weight of eight ounces or more.

Drug crimes carry severe penalties and it is important to consult a lawyer experienced in narcotics cases to defend you. Please call (315) 364-1155 for a free consultation with Ralph Habib, our former narcotics prosecutor. 





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