Many people in New York are prescribed opioids as pain killers and end up getting addicted as a result. After the prescription expires, they are no longer able to go to the pharmacy to get more pain killers. They may turn to various dealers who can get them more pills. One of the types of pain killers that is growing in use is fentanyl and people possessing without a valid prescription could face serious consequences.
Simple possession can have serious consequences, but those caught selling and trafficking fentanyl could face federal criminal charges. The consequences can be even worse than for simple possession.
Potential penalties for fentanyl trafficking in federal court
The consequences depend on a few different factors. The main factors are the amount people have in their possession and if they have been previously convicted.
- Possession of 40 to 399 grams. For a first offense, people could be sent to prison for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 40 years. If the fentanyl caused death or serious injury, the minimum prison sentence increases to 20 years and the maximum increases to life in prison. They could also be fined up to $5 million. For a second offense, the prison sentence increases to between 10 years and life. If there is a death or serious injuries, the sentence is life in prison. The fines increase to $8 million.
- Possession of 400 grams or more. A first offense could result in a prison sentence of between 10 years and life. If there is a death or serious injury, the prison sentence increases to between 20 years and life. The fines could be up to $10 million. If it is a second offense, it could result in a prison sentence of between 20 years and life. If there is a serious injury or death, the sentence is life in prison. The fines also increase to up to $20 million.
The potential penalties for trafficking fentanyl in New York are very serious. However, people are not automatically guilty of the crime they are charged with and there could be defenses available. Experienced attorneys understand these potential defenses and could help protect one’s rights.