Everyone knows that selling controlled substances, such as drugs, is illegal. However, you may be surprised to learn that selling items that imitate a controlled substance can also get you in trouble with the law. In the state of New York, selling anything that is designed to appear like a controlled substance, even if it is harmless, is a violation of Public Health Law 3383. Depending on the circumstances, a person may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Is It Illegal to Sell an Imitation Controlled Substance?
In the state of New York, it is illegal for a person to sell, possess with the intent to sell, or manufacture an imitation controlled substance. It is therefore also illegal to possess any type of mold, die, or other equipment that could be used to imprint a fake substance with a false trademark. An imitation controlled substance is something that resembles a controlled substance in shape, trademark, packaging, color, price , or size and is represented as a controlled substance by the manufacturer. This means that someone cannot sell an item after telling someone else that it is a controlled substance. The only time it is legal to sell an imitation controlled substance is if it is sold by a licensed manufacturer for educational purposes such as a placebo in a research study. A person can still be charged with selling an imitation controlled substance if they thought that the item was real, but typically the charges for selling a fake drug are less severe than actual charges for selling a controlled substance.
Penalties for Selling Imitation Controlled Substances
Selling an imitation of a controlled substance is a class A misdemeanor if it is a person’s first offence. Being convicted of a class A misdemeanor felony can result in up to $1,000 in fines, up to a year in jail, or both jail time and fines. If a person commits the same crime again within five years, the second offense will be a class E felony. A class E felony conviction can result in up to $5,000 in fines, at least one year of imprisonment, and up to four years of jail time. Being convicted of a felony will also take away certain voting, welfare, and employment opportunities.
How Can You Defend Against an Imitation Controlled Substance Charge?
In order to be convicted of selling an imitation controlled substance, the prosecutor will have to prove that you represented the item as a controlled substance and that the item looked like a controlled substance. An experienced criminal lawyer may be able to show that you did not in any way represent the item as a controlled substance while selling it. Another possible defense may be showing that the item was not intended for sale or that the item could not possibly fool anyone into thinking it was a drug. In addition to defenses that specifically focus on the laws surrounding the reason you were arrested, our law firm may examine your case to see if your rights were violated during the searching or arresting process.
Let Us Help You
If you or someone you know is facing charges for selling an imitation controlled substance, the law firm of Raiser & Kenniff may be of some assistance. We can examine the circumstances of your case to craft the best possible defense against the charges. Contact us today for a risk-free consultation about your case.