Overview: Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Needle

by Seth Azria on 3/29/2016

NY Penal Law §220.45, Class A Misdemeanor

A person is guilty of possessing a hypodermic instrument when he or she unlawfully possesses or sells a hypodermic needle.

Defense: It is not a violation of this section if the syringe was obtained from a physician prescription, by a licensed pharmacy, syringe exchange, or authorized healthcare practitioner as described in Public Health Law §3381.

A related defense applies to Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance in the Seventh degree where is not unlawful to possess a residual amount of substance on or in a hypodermic needle lawfully obtained under the Public Health Law §3381. This update to the law in 2010 was significant because in 1988 the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest Court, ruled that possessing even an unusable residual amount of a controlled substance was a violation of the law. The update to the statute controls rather than court decisions.

Criminal law is complicated and you should contact a lawyer to discuss your specific charges. You may reach us anytime for a free consultation at (315) 364-1155.


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