Types of Drug Cases That Our Law Firm Can Help With
Our Encino drug defense law firm has extensive experience handling the following types of cases:
- Possession – California Health and Safety Code 11350(a)
- Drug possession with intent to sell – California Health and Safety Code 11350(a)
- Drug manufacturing – California Health and Safety Code 11379.6
- Drug transportation or trafficking – California Health and Safety Code 11379
- Prescription drug crimes – California Health and Safety Code 11350(a)
No matter what type of charge you are facing, our firm can help craft a strong defense on your behalf. Contact us now for a free case review with a seasoned Encino drug crime lawyer.
Common Defenses to Drug Charges
For a defendant to be convicted, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed the crime. This is an incredibly difficult standard to meet, and the defense may use multiple tactics to undermine the state’s case, including:
- Fourth Amendment: You are protected from illegal searches and seizures by the Fourth Amendment. If the drugs were discovered during an illegal search, the case could be dismissed.
- Chain of custody issues: After drugs are taken into police custody, they may be sent to a forensic technician for testing and then back to the police station. Law enforcement must keep an evidence log documenting who is in possession of the drugs and when. This is known as establishing chain of custody. If there are problems with the chain of custody, the drugs may be excluded as evidence and the case may be dismissed.
- Crime lab analysis: Legal substances may be confused for illegal narcotics. A crime lab analysis could reveal that the substance submitted into evidence is not actually an illegal drug.
- The drugs aren’t yours: For example, your attorney may be able to argue that the drugs belonged to someone else who happened to be riding in your car.
Every drug case is unique, with different evidence and different circumstances. An Encino drug crime defense attorney can investigate your case and determine the best defense strategy for you.
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Penalties for Drug Convictions
Penalties for drug convictions can vary widely depending on the crime. For example:
- Simple possession: A jail sentence of up to a year and a maximum fine of $1,000
- Possession for sale: A prison term of up to 4 years and a fine of up to $20,000
- Transportation of a controlled substance: A maximum prison term of 9 years and a fine of up to $20,000
- Being under the influence of a controlled substance: A maximum 1-year jail term
- Drug manufacturing: A prison term lasting up to 7 years and a fine of up to $50,000
- Possession with intent to sell marijuana: A 6-month jail term and a fine of up to $1,000
How Controlled Substances Are Classified in California
Not all controlled substances are the same in the eyes of the California criminal justice system. The state considers some drugs more or less dangerous than others, based on factors such as addiction risk and medicinal value. These factors, in turn, determine the penalties.
However, it would be impossible to assign a unique charge and sentence to every drug. So the state groups controlled substances into five categories according to shared characteristics. The categories are called schedules. Schedule V drugs are considered the least harmful and carry the lightest penalties, while schedule I drugs are considered the most harmful and carry the harshest penalties.
- 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