Drug crimes make up a significant portion of the criminal offenses alleged in New York. Many of our readers may think of drug possession as the main culprit of such criminal charges and, for the most part, they may be right. But the types of drug crimes that a New York prosecutor can pursue are much more varied than possession of one or more drugs. Drug trafficking, of course, can carry much more significant penalties, and possession of drug paraphernalia laws can turn the mere possession of an item into an illegal endeavor.
Another drug crime that doesn’t receive much attention is that which involves a child. New York law makes it a Class E felony to use a child to conduct or attempt to complete a drug sale. The law also defines what it means to “use a child.” According to statute, this crime may be broken if drugs are concealed on a child, or if an individual forces or otherwise directs a child to conduct a drug transaction. A Class E felony, although the weakest of the felony classes, can still be punishable by up to five years of incarceration.
Of course, in order to obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove other legal elements. For example, before a conviction can be obtained for this crime, it must be shown that the accused individual knowingly used a child. Proving such intent can be difficult. So, too, can demonstrating that the child was being used as part of a drug transaction. These are areas where a criminal defense attorney may be able to sow doubt, thereby increasing an accused individual’s chances of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Doing so may require the skill of an experienced criminal defense attorney, though. Therefore, accused New Yorkers may want to consider their criminal defense representation options before proceeding in a court of law.
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.
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