New York State Criminal Defense Attorneys

Overview: Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Needle

by Seth Azria on 3/27/2016

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.

NY Penal Law §220.45, Class A Misdemeanor




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The criminal defense lawyers at Azria & Bruffett defend individuals from charges in Onondaga county, central and western New York State. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information on this site is not legal advice, it is Attorney Advertising intended to educate potential clients about their need for legal advice and assist them in obtaining a lawyer appropriate for those needs. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different and every person should consult a lawyer to asses their particular case.  If you think this office can assist you please contact us for a free consultation