Search Site
Menu

New York’s drug possession presumption

We’ve all heard the phrase “guilty by association.” Fortunately, this phrase often doesn’t hold much water in the legal world, as prosecutors oftentimes have to prove that the defendant him or herself committed the crime for which he or she has been charged. Yet, when it comes to drug crimes, New York’s aggressive laws spell out some situations where an individual may be guilty of a crime even when he or she did nothing wrong.

More specifically, New York’s law creates a presumption that all individuals in a vehicle are guilty of possessing a controlled substance if the controlled substance is found in the vehicle. The law does identify some exception. For example, if the controlled substance in question was found on the person of one of the vehicle’s occupants, then the vehicle’s other passengers are not guilty of possession. Likewise, an individual who has been hired as a driver would not be guilty of possession if a controlled substance was found in the vehicle, so long as he or she was acting legally at the time.

This same presumption holds when it comes to having narcotics in a residence or place of business. Under New York law, all individuals who are in close proximity to the drug are presumed to have possessed it, unless the drug is found on the person of another individual, or he or she has a valid and legal reason to possess the controlled substance.

So what does this mean for New Yorkers? It means that they may find themselves in a tough spot when they are accused of possessing an illegal drug. However, regardless of the circumstances, criminal defense options may be available to them. Whether negotiating a plea bargain or litigating the matter in hopes of obtaining an acquittal, discussing the matter with a criminal defense attorney may highlight a legal path that leaves an accused individual where he or she may be able to avoid some or all of the potential penalties he or she faces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

James L. Riotto Attorney Photo
James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

Adam Staier Attorney Photo
Adam Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

  • What to do if pulled over for a DUI


    How to deal with a DWI traffic stop

    How you handle getting pulled over for a DUI/DWI can significantly affect your defense down the road. For instance, declining the officer's request to search your vehicle and avoiding specific answers when asked about any substances you may have consumed could help you when combating DUI/DWI charges in court.
    READ MORE
Reviews and Ratings
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Jim never disappoints! He and his office have handles several driving infractions for me, and the entire office is attentive, courteous and professional. And, my ticket was thrown out!! Thanks Riotto Law!

    Read more

    Cindy Calzone

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Alexis handled my ticket very professionally and ensured I was offered the best arrangement avaliable. Highly recommended!

    Read more

    Krypt

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I was recently stopped for speeding in New York and given a ticket with a significant fine and points on my license attached to it. Thanks to the team at Riotto Law I was able to take a 5 hour defensive driving course and all fines and points were di...

    Read more

    Kaela Shafer

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    We acquired the services of Janes Riotto without knowing much about him and his team, then we learned some thing very fast, James Riotto knows the law as do all people that work for him and because they do we had a very favorable outcome of our ca...

    Read more

    John DiCarlo

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    We loved working with Alexis and Mr. Riotto, they responded promptly and went above and beyond to get everything dismissed and this was for a CDL driver! Would recommend their service, definitely!!!

    Read more

    Anna Bondaruk

See all reviews
Contact us

Quick Contact Form