One of the great things about living in (and visiting) New York City is the amazing nightlife. The city is home to some of the best nightclubs and bars in the world, including places in the Meatpacking District like Tenjune, 1Oak, The Griffin, Gaslight, Beaumarchais, the Standard (The Top of the Standard and Le Bain), as well as other clubs throughout Manhattan, such as Lavo, Santos Party House, Provocateur, Output, the Jane Hotel, Mehanata, Verboten, Cielo, Webster Hall, the Pyramid Club, the 40/40 Club, and the Marquee, among countless others. Unfortunately, arrests for theft, assault, sexual assault, and drugs are common at these sorts of establishments, and some unfortunate people are saddled with more than just a hangover after a night partying at these places.
The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented dozens of people arrested at nightclubs and bars throughout the city, and our experience as prosecutors and defense attorneys has taught us that certain types of cases are quite common. Through our experience on both sides we have also learned that these types of cases present unique challenges and opportunities for defense attorneys, and have learned how to best take advantage of the unique circumstances that these cases often present.
The most typical arrest charges for drugs at nightclubs are Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail (Penal Law 220.03) (frequently charged as a Desk Appearance Ticket), Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony punishable by multiple years in state prison (Penal Law 220.39), and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony punishable by multiple years in state prison (Penal Law 220.16) for possessing with the intent to sell. It is noteworthy in the club context that the definition of “sale” in New York state law simply means to give to another person, thus “sharing drugs” with your friend is technically a “sale of drugs” even if your friend did not pay you anything for the drugs. Typical nightclub drugs classified as “controlled substances” include cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), molly or methylone, heroin, prescription drugs like oxycodone, and methamphetamine or crystal meth, to name a few.