Drug Crime Defense Lawyer in Pasadena, CA

Pasadena Drug Crime Defense Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling, our priority is delivering aggressive, uncompromising defense for people facing criminal charges in California, including drug crimes. We bring relentless, hard-hitting legal representation to clients in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels.

With a comprehensive approach customized to fit every unique criminal case, we will leave no stone unturned in challenging the prosecution’s evidence against you. When you need a Pasadena drug crime defense lawyer with a reputation for results, count on the Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling to fight vigorously for your future. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

Why Choose the Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling?

The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling has more than two decades of criminal trial experience and has tried more than 70 cases to jury verdicts throughout California. Our firm employs tailored strategies to dismantle the prosecution’s arguments and give you the best chance for an acquittal or reduced charge.

Unlike high-volume defense firms that provide a less individualized experience, we offer 24/7 access to counsel and ensure you have a dedicated attorney ready to address your concerns and help you understand your options throughout your drug crime case.

What Are Common Drug Charges in Pasadena? 

California drug laws cover various offenses that could impact your life significantly. Some of the most common drug crimes we regularly handle for our clients include: 

  • Possession – Drug possession involves having illegal substances purely for personal use. Depending on the drug quantity and type, possession can be a misdemeanor or felony in California. 
  • Possession with intent to distribute – Authorities may charge you with intent to distribute when large quantities or specific paraphernalia imply such a purpose. Circumstantial evidence can elevate a possession charge to this level.
  • Drug trafficking – Trafficking is the transportation or sale of controlled substances, often prosecuted at both state and federal levels, leading to severe consequences. 
  • Distribution to minors – This offense is the supplying or selling of controlled substances to anyone under 18. The law imposes harsher penalties for these drug crimes.
  • Manufacturing – This involves engaging in illegal drug production or processing, such as operating a methamphetamine lab. This charge often includes conspiracy allegations, leading to additional penalties.
  • Controlled substances – Controlled substances include drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, as well as prescription drugs lacking a valid prescription. 

Penalties for California Drug Crimes 

Drug charges in California can carry severe penalties and long-term consequences, depending on the type of offense and the circumstances surrounding it: 

  • Possession – Penalties for possessing illegal substances range from misdemeanor to felony levels, depending on the drug type, quantity, and any past criminal record. Simple possession of a controlled substance often results in fines, probation, and mandatory treatment programs. However, possession of substances like heroin or cocaine can escalate the charge to a felony, leading to a potential jail or prison sentence.
  • Possession with intent to distribute – Authorities consider direct and circumstantial evidence, such as drug paraphernalia, packaging materials, or large quantities of drugs, to bring a charge of possession with intent to distribute. Felony penalties include multi-year prison sentences and significant fines. A possession with intent to distribute charge can also involve conspiracy allegations if law enforcement suspects multiple individuals of collaborating to distribute controlled substances.
  • Drug trafficking – A conviction for transporting or selling controlled substances, particularly across state lines, leads to severe penalties. Trafficking convictions result in lengthy prison terms, forfeiture of assets, and substantial fines. Drug trafficking often rises to the federal level of prosecution, where mandatory minimum sentences can apply. Prosecutors may pursue additional charges like money laundering, which could further increase prison time.
  • Distribution to minors – Supplying or selling illegal substances to minors results in mandatory imprisonment and significant fines. Penalties are harsher if the crime occurs near schools, parks, or other protected areas. California enforces sentencing enhancements for these crimes, and the minor’s age plays a crucial role. Defending against these drug charges requires a thorough understanding of California’s drug laws.
  • Manufacturing – Producing or processing illegal substances (like meth labs) often results in a felony conviction without a strong criminal defense. Sentences can exceed 10 years, primarily when prosecutors allege you conspired with others. California has stringent laws against manufacturing, sometimes bringing in federal charges if the operation affects multiple states.
  • Controlled substances – A controlled substance includes not just illegal drugs but also any prescription medications you obtain without a valid prescription. Penalties range from fines and treatment programs to long-term imprisonment.

Some drug-related crimes, such as possession or possession with intent to distribute, are “wobblers,” meaning they can be misdemeanors or felonies. The decision rests on the prosecutor, who evaluates your criminal history and prior convictions.

A felony conviction can affect your freedom, family, and finances but can also permanently mark your criminal record. A drug crime lawyer from The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling will focus on reducing felony charges to misdemeanors, allowing for lesser penalties or potential case dismissal.

Beyond immediate criminal penalties, drug convictions often leave a lasting impact in other areas of your life. For example, you may face employment, housing, and education challenges after a conviction. The boards of some professions requiring state licensing may suspend or revoke your license to practice in California. Non-citizens convicted of drug offenses in California may face severe penalties that impact their ability to remain in the United States.

What Are Possible Defense Strategies for My Case?

Defending a client against drug charges often involves a multifaceted approach to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and build a robust defense. Here are some common strategies Pasadena drug crime lawyers may use depending on the evidence and the circumstances of the case: 

  • Illegal search and seizure – Evidence may be suppressed if law enforcement discovers the drugs through an unlawful search or seizure, rendering it inadmissible in court.
  • Violation of rights – Any violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights during an arrest, interrogation, or trial can weaken the prosecution’s case.
  • Lack of possession – Establishing that the defendant did not have actual possession, knowledge, or control over the drugs can be a viable defense. This could involve proving that the drugs belonged to someone else or were planted.
  • Entrapment – Entrapment may be a valid defense if law enforcement induced the defendant to commit the crime.
  • Chain of custody issues – Chain of custody refers to the handling of evidence from its collection until it is presented in court. Your criminal defense lawyer may challenge the integrity of the evidence by questioning the chain of custody to cast doubt on its reliability.
  • Mistaken identity – If the defendant was misidentified as the perpetrator, establishing a rock-solid alibi or providing evidence of mistaken identity can be effective for acquittal.
  • Substance misidentification – Testing the substance to confirm its identity and challenging the accuracy of lab results can be crucial, especially in cases involving controlled substances.
  • Mitigating circumstances – Presenting mitigating factors such as addiction treatment, lack of criminal intent, or coercion can help reduce drug charges or sentencing for drug crimes in Pasadena.

 An effective criminal defense requires a thorough investigation, strategic legal arguments, and skilled presentation in court to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

Let Our Pasadena Drug Crimes Attorney Challenge Your Charges 

Don’t let a drug charge in Pasadena threaten your future. The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling is ready to offer uncompromising, aggressive legal representation, pushing back hard against prosecutors to protect your rights. Our distinctive approach, decades of experience, and 24/7 availability are just a few reasons to trust us with your case. Contact us today to learn how we fight to beat drug crime charges with tenacity and precision. The first consultation is free.