On Oct. 12, New York State Police troopers arrested two Utica men on drug charges after allegedly finding a large amount of cocaine in their vehicle during a traffic stop. Troopers pulled over the vehicle for multiple violations at approximately 9:02 p.m. in Ardsley, which is in Westchester County.

When troopers spoke with the vehicle’s occupants, a 56-year-old driver and a 36-year-old passenger, they allegedly found probable cause to conduct a search. Troopers then found around 226 grams of cocaine and around 1 gram of marijuana in the possession of the passenger.

Both defendants were placed under arrest and charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, which are both felonies. The driver was additionally charged with misdemeanor second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and multiple traffic and vehicle violations. The passenger was additionally charged with misdemeanor second-degree obstruction of governmental administration, second-degree harassment, unlawful possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. They were both arraigned and held at the Westchester County Jail without bail.

Drug crimes often lead to serious consequences for those who are convicted. It is common for defendants to be sentenced to years in prison and be assessed thousands of dollars in fines. However, a defendant who retains the services of a criminal defense attorney might be able to fight a charge and win. For example, an attorney may find that police didn’t have probable cause during a traffic stop. This could invalidate any evidence collected during the search. Even if the evidence appears strong, legal counsel could work to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges and associated penalties.