If you are facing drug possession charges in California you may be up against serious prison time. California leads the nation in drug offense incarceration which means drug charges here are nothing to be taken lightly. Prosecutors can be extremely tough, so it makes sense to get advice from the best California drug possession defense lawyer you can find.
There may be a perfectly good explanation as to why you were allegedly caught with drugs. Perhaps, however, you made a mistake and now see that you were wrong. Maybe the drugs weren’t yours. If they belonged to someone else, you may not have even known they were in your possession, car or home. Whatever the case, we are here to help. We want to hear about your case from you.
How Do California Drug Possession Laws Work?
The Federal government classifies drugs by “schedule”. This classification system is used to determine the seriousness of your offense and the potential sentence you may be facing. If a drug is considered more dangerous under California law, you will face harsher punishment for any offenses relating to it.
Schedule I drugs include those that are the most dangerous and have a high risk of addiction or dependency and no legitimate medical use. Drugs included under this heading include LSD, marijuana, heroin and mescaline.
Schedule II substances still have a high risk of abuse but may have legitimate medical uses. These include things like opium, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamines, and amphetamines, as well as prescription opiates like Oxycontin and narcotic painkillers.
Schedule III drugs are slightly less dangerous than Schedule II substances, but still have a moderate risk of abuse. Schedule III substances include anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine(special k), and some depressants.
Schedule IV drugs have a slight risk of dependency and have very acceptable medical uses. Some Schedule IV drugs are clonazepam, tranquilizers, and sedatives and many common prescription drugs.
Schedule V substances have a very low risk of dependency and include things like Tylenol with Codeine.
What Drug Charges are Misdemeanors or Felonies in California?
Most possession charges are misdemeanor drug offenses include such things as possession of a controlled substance for personal use, being under the influence of a drug and some paraphernalia charges. This includes personal use of all illicit and prescription drugs.
Simple marijuana possession of under an ounce is fully legal now, but selling it is not.
Many drug charges in California are felonies. This means that if charged, you are facing prison time and a permanent felony mark on your record, forever changing your life.
There are several drug charges that we can defend you against. We have experience defending cases of:
- Drug Possession
- Possession to Sell / Intent to Sell
We have defended charges of all types of substances from marijuana to heroin and crack cocaine. We are concerned about your rights and your freedom. As your attorney, we will ensure you get the best possible result.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession in California?
Depending on your charge and the amount and type of drug you are caught with, you could be facing prison time. California has sentence enhancements that will add years onto your original sentence for things like prior convictions, firearm possession at the time of arrest, and selling drugs to children under the age of 21.
Luckily, California also has several alternatives to incarceration for drug offenders. Whether or not you are eligible for some of these programs has a lot to do with your criminal record and the ability of your attorney to show the court that you are worthy of a second chance.
With our help you may be eligible for:
- Proposition 36: One year of drug treatment. The level of your treatment (inpatient, halfway house, outpatient, etc) to be determined by an expert from the Department of Health.
- Drug Court: One year program in which you participate in counseling, random drug testing, 12 step programs, and judicial reviews.
- Deferred Entry of Judgment: In this diversion program, you plead guilty and go through 6 months of treatment. After remaining arrest-free for an additional 12 months, the case is dismissed.
Sentence Reductions under Proposition 47
In 2014, sentences for possession of a controlled substance and possession of concentrated cannabis were reduced from felony charges to misdemeanor offenses under Prop 47.
The specific statutes changed were:
- Possession of Methamphetamine (HS §11377)
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (HS §11350)
- Possession of Concentrated Cannabis (HS §11357(a))
Can We Fight the Charges and Win?
Yes, many drug cases can be beaten in court.
One of the most important aspects of a case involving drugs is how the evidence was seized by the police. Because the laws surrounding how searches and seizures are so complex, sometimes the prosecution’s case is destroyed by an error in the evidence collection stage.
If some of your rights were violated in the arrest and the seizure of the drugs, we may be able to help you get the charges dropped altogether.
We can also take the case to trial and make the prosecution prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the drugs were yours. Even if they were in your house or in your car, we may be able to reasonably argue that they could have belonged to someone else.
There are other potential defense strategies we can use, but everything depends on a thorough examination of the facts in your specific case. And we will do that for you at no charge, as part of our free consultation.
Call us today to discuss the drug charges you are facing in California. We’ll help you work through what you are up against, and what you can do about it.
Call today, don’t wait. Many possible defenses won’t be available if you wait too long in the process. The sooner we can get on the case, the more help we can be, and the better your outcome.
Prescription Drug Use in California
One in ten high school seniors have used narcotic painkillers to get high. When it comes to Oxycontin, that number seems to be growing among young adults. According to a report from the Sacramento Bee, this drug provides a high that is attracting more and more people.
Prescription drugs are a common and accessable drug of choice. The stigma associated with pills isn’t nearly as dark as the stigma associated with other drugs like heroin and cocaine. We all have a picture of what a “junkie” looks like and it’s rarely someone who is popping pills.
The belief is that this flawed image of what an addict looks like may be contributing to the growing number of Oxycontin users and its apparent acceptance among younger adults. It’s viewed as a “party” drug instead of the highly addictive substance it truly is.
One user reports the high is similar to “someone hugging you from the inside out.” In other words—it’s a feel good drug. However, what can start out as a feel-good high can end with pain and nausea as you try to kick a habit that grows quickly out of control.
One pill taken at a party can quickly turn into a habit that requires hundreds of dollars a week. The body quickly builds a tolerance to narcotics like this, making it harder and harder to get the same high. The most effective way of handling an oxy addiction? Methadone—the same drug prescribed to heroin addicts.
Although the face of heroin and cocaine abuse may not match the face of OxyContin abuse, the penalties for using it often does. Possession of a prescription drug like this without a legitimate prescription is punishable by jail time, depending on how much you are caught with. If you are charged with attempting to fill a prescription not intended for you or fraudulent in some other way, you can face additional charges.
It isn’t unheard of for people who have never been exposed to the criminal justice system to experience their first exposure at the hands of drug abuse. If you were dabbling in oxy use and got caught, your disillusionment of this being a harmless drug has likely come crashing down around you. Luckily, however, if this is your first offense we may be able to get you some help.
As your exposure to the courts increases, a judge’s leniency decreases. In other words, if this is your first run-in with the law, we may be able to work out a Proposition 36 or a deferred judgment. Both of these involve drug treatment and help for your possible drug problem in lieu of jail time.
If you’re facing possession of Oxycontin or any other controlled substance and need help—contact our offices today.