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Drug Possession Penalties

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Drug Possession Penalties

Full Drug Free Schools Act Memo (.pdf 77 KB)

Federal Drug Possession Penalties

  • 1st conviction - up to 1 year, $1,000 - $100,000 fine
  • 2nd conviction - minimum 15 days, maximum 2 years, $2,500 - $250,000 fine
  • 3rd + conviction - minimum 90 days, maximum 3 years, $5,000 - $250,000 fine

Separate Penalties for Crack Cocaine
Minimum 5 years, maximum 20 years, up to $250,000 fine if:

  • 1st conviction and over 5 gm possessed, or
  • 2nd conviction and over 3 gm possessed, or
  • 3rd + conviction and over 1 gm possessed

Forfeiture of Property
Vehicles, boats, aircraft or other conveyances used to transport or conceal a controlled substance may be seized and forfeited. Any personal or real property used to possess or facilitate possession of a controlled substance may be forfeited where the offense is punishable by more than 1 year minimum prison.

Civil Fine of up to $10,000

Loss of Federal Benefits
Federal benefits such as student loans, grants, contracts and professional and commercial licenses may be denied for up to 1 year for 1st offense, and up to 5 years for 2nd and subsequent offenses.  Certain other federal licenses and benefits such as pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, etc., may be denied with the discretion of the applicable federal agency.

New York State Penalties
Penalties for drug possession and trafficking under the New York State Penal Law are summarized below.  In addition to prison and fines, most penalties include state surcharges and possible probation time.  Also, fines are possible even though limits are not always listed here.

Drug Possession and Trafficking Penalties Under New York Law*