Law enforcement agencies in the United States take their duty to stamp out illegal drug use very seriously. The statutes for punishing drug offenders are often harsh, leaving many nonviolent drug offenders imprisoned for long periods of time. One of the drugs with the most severe criminal penalties is cocaine.
Cocaine is made from the paste that is created when leaves of the South American coca plant are mashed up. This paste is manufactured into a powdery form that is inhaled through the nostrils. Cocaine users report a feeling of euphoria, decreased fatigue, suppressed appetite. It is also known to increase energy and strength, but also makes the user irritable.
Cocaine is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has at least some recognized medicinal value, but also has an extremely high potential for addiction and abuse.
In New York, possession of even a miniscule amount of cocaine is a punishable offense. Being caught in possession of less than 500mg is a Class A misdemeanor that can carry a penalty of up to a year in jail. Being caught with more of the drug leads to longer jail sentences. Possessing an eighth of an ounce of cocaine is a Class C felony that can be punished with up to 46 months imprisonment, while possession of more than eight ounces is a Class A-1 felony. The minimum sentence for this kind of possession is eight years in prison. Repeat cocaine possession offenses carry increased punishments.
Understanding drug possession laws can empower a person to fight unfair or erroneous allegations in the unfortunate event they are ever facing unjust charges.