Long Beach Drug Possession Lawyer

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Long Beach Drug Possession Attorney

Convictions from any crime can have lasting impacts on your life, including hurting your employment, housing, and even personal relationships. No truer is this than with drug-related crimes. Whether you are facing drug possession, transportation, manufacturing, or distribution, a conviction carries with it penalties that could mean extensive jail time and fines. When faced with criminal charges, contacting a trusted attorney in Long Beach, CA should be at the top of your list.

Drug-related charges can be challenged on several procedural steps; however, this must start with an understanding of criminal drug laws and how they impact you. From arrest to litigation, having representation on your side will protect your legal rights. Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any statements can protect you from self-incrimination as well as improper procedures.

Long Beach Drug Possession Lawyer -

Drug Possession Laws in California

There are many Health and Safety Codes that dictate California’s drug laws. Some include:

  • HS 11350 – This code makes the possession of controlled substances, such as crack/ cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, meth, non-prescribed prescription painkillers, and others illegal.
  • HS 11351 – If you are found guilty of possessing illegal drugs for the purpose of selling, this code dictates the crime as a felony offense.
  • HS 11352 – Selling, transporting, or furnishing narcotics is illegal under this code.

These codes are the foundation for prosecution when a person is arrested on criminal charges. California views drug possession, selling, manufacturing, and trafficking as the most serious criminal charges.

Many of the common drug-related charges include:

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of a narcotic
  • Possession with intent to sell a controlled substance
  • Transporting a controlled substance
  • Transporting with intent to sell a controlled substance
  • Selling or furnishing controlled substances to minors

Some drug charges go beyond the state level and could potentially cross into federal charges. These are defined by the Title 21 U.S. Controlled Substance Act. The accusation must imply that the crime meets one or more of the following criteria to classify it as a federal drug charge:

  • Crosses a state or the national border
  • You are implicated by a federal informant
  • You are arrested by a federal officer
  • The crime was part of a crime ring targeted by the DEA, FBI, or CBP
  • The crime occurred on federal property

Potential Punishments for Drug Crimes

Penalties for criminal drug charges can vary widely depending on the type of crime and whether it is classified as an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony.

  • Infractions – Generally do not carry jail time or major penalties.
  • Misdemeanors – Carry minor penalties. You will face a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail.
  • Felonies – Carry major penalties and prison time. Most felony charges will result in upwards of 3 years in prison.

Prior convictions and repeat offenders will see these penalties enhanced as the court sees fit. Even the jail time for misdemeanors increases with each occurrence. For example, if you receive a 1-year penalty for the first infraction, the second may mean a sentence of 2 years. In addition, drug-related crimes committed against minors will also result in higher penalties.

Many drug-related charges are filed in conjunction with other serious crimes and could also impact the penalties that you could face. These aggravating circumstances could include murder, robbery, burglary, assault, etc. Each aggravating circumstance will add additional jail time to your sentence as well.

In 2014, California passed Proposition 47, which changed the classification of non-violent crimes to misdemeanors instead of felonies. This also played a role in some drug-related charges, such as possession, that could carry extensive jail time. Under Proposition 47, these types of crimes can mean a maximum of 1 year.

Some drug-related charges could also have an impact on California’s Three Strikes Law.

Juvenile Drug Charges and Penalties

Juveniles charged with drug-related crimes will face litigation and penalties that are completely different from adult defendants. Even though the crimes are the same, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act provides the opportunity for courts to intervene with alternative penalties designed to support the youth involved. As a result, juvenile courts tend to lean toward probation, pre-trial diversion, detention, or drug counseling, rehabilitation, and education.

Defending Criminal Drug Charges

There are many possible defenses for drug-related charges; however, the circumstances surrounding each case are unique. Determining the right Long Beach criminal defense starts with examining the facts and evidence of the case. Many common defenses include:

  • Momentary Possession – This defense attempts to prove that the possession of the drugs was the result of someone else who may have handed you the drugs to avoid arrest. This could also occur if someone is at your house and leaves drugs behind. If it can be proven that you didn’t prevent police from finding or taking the drugs, then this defense is often strengthened.
  • No Possession or Control – Sometimes arrests for drug possessions are the result of “collateral damage.” You may not have been in possession of the drugs but were with some who did have drugs. An example could be if someone hides drugs under a seat in your car. In this case, it could be argued that you were not in possession or control.
  • Result of an Illegal Search – If the drugs are found during a search that was done without probable cause, the evidence can be suppressed.
  • You Were Unaware of the Drugs – There may be situations where you were unaware that you were in possession of drugs. If, for instance, someone slips drugs into a bag you are carrying without your knowledge, it can make conviction less likely.
  • Valid Prescription – Although some prescriptions are used illegally, not all are. If you are using the medication as prescribed and have a valid prescription, you cannot be charged criminally.
  • Temporary Possession for the Purpose of Disposal – There are instances where you may be in possession of drugs but for the purpose of disposal. In this defense, it must be proven that you weren’t disposing of the drugs to avoid discovery and arrest.

Most drug-related cases are solved without a trial because they can be resolved through negotiation, dismissal, or plea deals. Many times, drug diversion programs become a part of this process.

There are pre-trial diversion programs that could result in your drug charges dropping altogether. Non-violent, low-level drug offenses such as possession, being under the influence, or possession of drug paraphernalia, for example, could qualify for this program. However, if you have had a felony or drug conviction within five years, there was violence involved, there was an intent to distribute, or you face drug trafficking charges, you would not qualify for this program.

Long Beach Criminal Defense FAQs

Q: How Many Years Do You Get for Drug Possession in California?

A: The charges you face will be classified as an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. Infractions will not carry jail time. Misdemeanors will depend on prior convictions and the circumstances of the crime, but you could face up to a year in jail. Felonies will result in a minimum of 1 year in prison and could be as high as nine years plus any time added for additional charges associated with the crime.

Q: Is Drug Dealing a Felony in California?

A: The sale or transportation of drugs is considered a felony in California and carries a penalty ranging from 3 to 9 years and fines of up to $20,000. These charges could also result in federal prosecution. If additional charges are filed or if the crime involves a minor, the jail time and fines could be increased

Q: What Should You Look for in a Drug Crimes Lawyer?

A: Finding the right criminal defense attorney should begin by establishing their reputation. The best way to do so is by asking friends, family, or other attorneys you know for recommendations. Checking online reviews can help get a picture of how they have worked with previous clients. They should also have significant experience defending drug-related charges. An attorney’s website can also show you their knowledge and expertise.

Q: Can You Get Off on Probation for Selling Drugs in California?

A: Many drug-related charges will not go to trial because the attorneys for both sides will negotiate possible plea agreements. Depending on the circumstances of your case, these negotiations could include terms of probation in lieu of jail time. If your outcome involves probation, you will likely need to meet other requirements during your probationary time.

Long Beach Drug Possession Lawyers

If you are facing drug-related criminal charges, finding a lawyer early in the process can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. While seeking acquittal is the goal of any attorney, they can also work to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether. You should not face the complex California drug laws without knowledge and experience on your side. At the Law Offices of Henry Salcido, we understand that your case is unique, and you deserve a defense that serves your best interests. If you have been arrested for drug-related charges in Long Beach, contact our offices today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.

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Beach CA 90804

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