While California drug laws have been liberalized in recent years, you should make no mistake that there are still serious penalties for drug offenses in the state that go beyond just possession. If you have been charged with a drug offense, you need the immediate help of a criminal defense lawyer.
In California, there are two primary categories of narcotics that are divided into five schedules based on DEA guidelines. The potential punishment for a drug offense depends on the schedule. The schedules are arranged in descending order, with Schedule I drugs being the ones with the highest potential for addiction.
The first two schedules are drugs that are always illegal. These include:
The second category of drugs involves controlled substances. In California, this is defined as “a narcotic drug….except when administered by or under the direction of a person licensed by the state to dispense, prescribe, or administer controlled substances.” This can include:
While Proposition 47 changed the law to lessen the penalties for possession of drugs, there are still punishments that can have serious effects on the defendant’s life in both the short and long run. Specifically, Proposition 47 made possession a misdemeanor in an attempt to reform the system and eliminate some of the harsh penalties doled out in the past.
Nonetheless, possession of drugs can still be punished with up to a year in prison. Further, the collateral effects of a drug conviction could cause serious disruption in your life. For example:
In order to convict you of possession, the prosecutor must show that you intended to possess the drug. Further, drug crimes rely heavily on evidence. Otherwise, the prosecution has little with which to prove that you not only possessed the drugs but had the intent to do so.
A Riverside drug offenses attorney would examine the evidence against you and the prosecutor’s case and advise you of the best legal path forward. If you and your lawyer decide not to fight the charges, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to get you into a drug diversion program.
The penalties are much steeper if law enforcement charges you with possession with the intent to distribute. This charge covers all drugs on the Schedules. These convictions can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Here, a defendant would need to possess drugs that they knew were present with the intent to sell them to someone else. This is a crime that requires a showing of intent.
Actual drug transactions involving certain narcotics on the Schedules are charged the most harshly under California law. California Health and Safety Code 11352. This statute covers:
Jail time under this statute can range from three to nine years. The most significant penalties come when a defendant transports narcotics across county lines for sale. Convictions are felonies and count as a strike under California’s “Three Strikes” rule. In addition, there are possible federal charges when the alleged crimes are more severe. The larger the narcotics operation, the more likely federal charges are.
How you are able to move on from a drug charge depends on the alleged crime you are facing. In the best-case scenario, your lawyer can help you either:
If you are facing drug charges, it is best to have an attorney on your side as soon as possible, especially as prosecutors begin to build a case against you. Defendants have legal rights when it comes to things such as searches, evidence, and talking with law enforcement. Your attorney will help protect these rights. Contact the Riverside drug offenses firm of DeLimon Law today at (951) 777-9104 or contact us online for your initial consultation. Daniel DeLimon is an experienced attorney and former prosecutor dedicated to protecting his clients’ legal rights.
He has compassion and empathy for all parties as well as one of the sharpest legal minds around. He is a powerhouse in the courtroom; the kind of attorney people stop and listen to. Anyone facing the legal system would be fortunate to have him working for them.
I was facing multiple violent felonies and life in prison. Mr. DeLimon took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES and I was released. I owe him my life.