Criminal charges can be life-altering events. Accusations alone can cause difficulties in the workplace, strain relationships, and hurt your reputation in the community. Leading the list of common charges in California are those associated with controlled substances. No matter what type of drug-related charge you face, protecting yourself should be your priority. When you bring a criminal defense attorney onto your team, you ensure your legal rights are protected and that you have the expert knowledge to navigate the complex California controlled substance laws. At Brown & Stedman LLP, we are the expert Costa Mesa attorneys you need.
California drug laws encompass many controlled substances, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy. Criminal charges can be filed for anything from possession to manufacturing to distribution. Unlike other crimes, criminal charges for controlled substances do not always equate to the same penalty. The details of your case will determine how your case will be prosecuted. However, understanding the difference between many of the common laws will help you and your Costa Mesa criminal defense attorney stay in front of your case in the hopes of acquittal, dismissal, or a reduction in charges.
The list of potential controlled substance charges is extensive and exhausting. Below are a few examples of potential charges and penalties you could face.
Although Proposition 64 made some forms of marijuana use legal, there are still certain conditions that must be met to be protected from criminal charges. Under Prop 64, medically prescribed marijuana is a legal defense for a possession charge. However, if you are arrested for selling or distributing marijuana and are not a licensed professional, you could still face criminal charges regardless of your prescription. Marijuana possession cases are taken situationally, and reviewing the facts with your attorney will help make sense of your case.
Penalties for possession of marijuana range from counseling and community service to jail time and substantial fines. The determination of your potential penalty is based on the amount in your possession. If it is less than 28.5 grams, you will face minimal penalties. More than that, you could face six months in jail.
Included in California Health and Safety Code 11350 are the laws governing controlled substances, including illegal narcotics and prescription drugs that are not accompanied by a valid prescription. However, to be convicted, certain elements of your case must be proven by the prosecutor, including:
While many people consider narcotics as the go-to for possession charges, prescription drugs like Vicodin, codeine, Xanax, and Adder all that are not accompanied by a legal prescription are also considered to be illegal controlled substances.
If convicted of possession of a controlled substance, you could face penalties that include up to one year in county jail and fines of up to $20,000.
Some controlled substances such as heroin, ecstasy, or methamphetamine could increase incarceration to three years to be served in state prison.
In some situations, you may be accused of intending to sell or distribute a controlled substance. Proving the intent to sell is the responsibility of the prosecutor; however, these types of charges are more significant than simple possession.
If you are arrested and charged with intent to sell, you could face up to four years in state prison and up to $20,000 in fines. These felony charges do not qualify for drug diversion programs or alternative sentencing.
When your charge includes the transportation for sale, your prison time could increase to five years in prison. This type of controlled substance sale charge is added when a person “transports, imports, sells, furnishes, administers, gives away, or offers any services with a controlled substance.” This charge also falls under California’s Three Strikes system. If you reach three felonies, you will face a minimum of 25 years in state prison.
Whenever the above charges are accompanied by aggravating factors such as weapons possession or usage, the potential penalties increase. What may have been a simple misdemeanor could be filed as a felony. In addition to additional prison time, you could also face significant increases in fines, sometimes upwards of 100 times the minimum.
While the charges you face may seem daunting, your Costa Mesa criminal defense lawyer from Brown & Stedman LLP will provide you with the best defense based on the circumstances of your case. Common defenses include:
These are examples of ways your criminal defense attorney will approach your case. However, they are not the only ways. Your attorney will review the facts of your case to determine the best approach for the best possible outcome.
If you are arrested or charged with any criminal drug charges, get the help and protection you deserve as quickly as possible. At Brown & Stedman LLP, our attorneys are ready to help you with your case. While acquittal is always our goal, we can also help in getting your charges reduced or dismissed. California drug laws are complex, and you shouldn’t have to navigate them alone. Contact our offices today and make us a part of your defense team today.
We invite you to call us at 949-459-5900 to schedule your free initial consultation. You can also reach our firm by contacting us online.
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