To present a successful criminal defense, understanding the charges one is facing is very important. Knowledge of the law, such as what one is being charged with and what must be proven in a court of law, is crucial for understanding how one can defend against criminal charges.
While New York separates controlled substances and marijuana related offenses into separate categories, their elements are pretty much the same. Elements are those prongs of the law that must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction.
The first element is that the substance must be a controlled substance. Secondly, the defendant should have possessed the substance. Possession should have been knowingly, and lastly, the possession should have been unlawful. While generally possession should be physical, constructive possession, which is control over the area where the drugs have been found, can also be demonstrated. In those instances, the defendant need not be physically present when drugs were discovered.
The penalties for drug possession are very serious, ranging from fines to several years in state or federal prison. A number of factors can either aggravate or mitigate the penalties, such as the defendant's past record, the amount and type of drug involved and the location at which the offending incident took place. For example, if the possession or sale of drugs took place within 1,000 feet of a school, penalties may end up getting doubled.
The prosecution must prove every element of the crime in question to get a conviction. A New York criminal defense firm can work aggressively to refute their claims or present mitigating circumstances to lessen the associated penalties. Consulting one can be beneficial for those facing serious penalties.