Types of Drug Cases We Handle
Our law firm has a long track record of successfully defending people who are facing serious drug charges. We handle a variety of drug cases, including:
- Drug possession ─ Health and Safety Code 11350(a)
- Drug possession with intent to sell ─ Health and Safety Code 11351
- Drug sale and distribution ─ Health and Safety Code 11351
- Drug manufacturing ─ Health and Safety Code 11379.6
- Drug transportation or trafficking ─ Health and Safety Code 11352
- Prescription drug crimes ─ Health and Safety Code 11173
Schedule a free case review today to discuss what types of experience we have handling charges like the ones you are facing.
Common Defenses to Drug Charges
Although police and prosecutors may act like they have an airtight case against you, there may actually be many potential defenses at your disposal. Some of the common defenses against drug charges involve:
- Unlawful search and seizure: The Fourth Amendment affords people protection from illegal searches and seizures. These protections mean the police can only go through your private property in certain circumstances. If the drugs were discovered during an illegal search, the case may be dropped.
- The drugs are someone else’s: For example, if the drugs were found in your car, you may argue they belonged to a previous passenger.
- Entrapment: It is illegal for police to coerce people into committing a crime. This is known as entrapment. For example, if an undercover police officer constantly harassed and threatened you into purchasing the drugs, this would constitute entrapment.
- You had a medical marijuana prescription: People are allowed to possess certain quantities of marijuana if it is prescribed to them by a doctor.
- Crime lab analysis: In some cases, a legal substance is mistaken for a controlled substance. An analysis may reveal that the seized substance was not an illegal drug.
- Chain of custody: After drugs are confiscated, they are taken into evidence. Like every kind of evidence, they are vulnerable to being lost, discarded, or mixed up with evidence from another case. If your defense attorney uncovers that the drugs submitted as evidence were not the ones taken from you, that may be used in your defense.
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Penalties for Drug Offenses
Penalties for drug offenses can include incarceration, fines, probation, and the long-term effects of having a criminal record.
- Simple possession: A maximum jail sentence of 1 year and a fine up to $1,000
- Possession for sale: A 2-, 3-, or 4-year prison term and a maximum fine of $20,000
- Transportation of a controlled substance: A prison term of up to 9 years and a maximum fine of $20,000
- Being under the influence of a controlled substance: A jail term of up to 1 year
- Drug manufacturing: A 3-, 5-, or 7-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $50,000
- Possession with intent to sell marijuana: Up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000
How Controlled Substances are Classified in California
When a person is convicted of possession of a control substance, their sentence depends on a few factors, one of which is the nature of the drug. The State of California treats some drugs differently from others, depending on the risk of addiction and their medicinal value.
However, because there are so many different kinds of drugs, it would be impossible to tailor a specific charge and sentence to each one. Instead, the state simply classifies drugs into one of five “schedules” or categories. Drugs in the fifth category are considered the least harmful and carry the lightest sentences. Drugs in the first category are considered the most dangerous and trigger harsher penalties.
Here’s an overview of the five categories and some of the drugs included in each:
- Schedule V: Cough syrup with low concentrations of codeine, Lomotil, Motofen
- Schedule IV: Xanax, Ambien, Valium, Tramadol
- Schedule III: Testosterone, Methenolone, Nalorphine, Ketamine
- Schedule II: Opium, Methadone, Vicodin, Morphine, Fentanyl
- Schedule I: Heroin, Pyrrolidine analog of Phencyclidine (PCP), Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (commonly known as ecstasy), Peyote, Cocaine base
Notably, California’s classification system is not only interested in the drugs themselves, but the compounds and chemicals required to make them. For example, many of the ingredients in heroin are considered controlled substances, even if they do not possess addictive or harmful qualities themselves.