If you are charged with a drug crime in San Diego, you probably have many questions. Among the most important of these is whether, if you are convicted, you will have to spend time in jail or prison. For answers to these and other questions, you need an experienced drug crimes attorney who can explain the charges and potential penalties in your case. At the same time you want your attorney to take whatever steps are necessary to obtain a dismissal or a reduction in the charges you are now facing.
The most common drug charge, of course, is possession of illegal drugs. The seriousness of the charge is a function of a number of issues, including the particular drug involved. Having a small amount of marijuana (an ounce or less), for example, is an infraction, and the penalty consists of only a fine. Possession of higher amounts is a misdemeanor, as is possession of any amount of concentrated cannabis. Possession of small amounts of other drugs, including narcotics and prescription drugs, are treated somewhat more harshly than marijuana.
Depending upon your prior criminal history and other factors, you may be eligible for an alternative disposition, which might allow ultimately for the dismissal of your possession charge. In addition, with the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, the penalties for many non-violent drug crimes (and property crimes) have been reduced. This is accomplished by changing the classification of a host of offenses, including possession of drugs for personal use, from a felony or wobbler, to a misdemeanor. Prop 47, on the other hand, does not apply to more serious drug crimes, including possession for sale, sale, or trafficking in drugs.
Defending Possession and Other Drug Crimes
Because of the classifications of drugs, the variety of penalties, alternative sentencing, Proposition 47, and other factors, your lawyer must be knowledgeable and experienced in order to provide you with a proper defense. If you are facing a drug charge, we can help. Call RJT Criminal Defense today.
Sale, Possession for Sale and Drug Trafficking
The particulars of the charge you are facing will depend, in part, upon the drug involved. Possession with intent to sell narcotics, for example, is always a felony. The offense will not qualify for reduction under Prop 47, or for drug diversion.
You can generally expect more serious penalties when it comes to sale and trafficking in illegal drugs. The range of these offenses includes transporting and selling drugs, assisting another person in the sale or transport of drugs, importing or assisting another to import drugs, furnishing, administering or even giving away drugs. These are felonies under California law.
Drug Busts & Search and Seizure Laws
In most drug cases, a principal piece of evidence consists of the drugs themselves. This is usually the result of a search and seizure by the police. As a result, you may be facing a charge based, for example, on drugs allegedly discovered in your home, car, or another place to which the police say you had access, or over which they say you had control. Assuming that is the situation in your case, a major issue is whether the search and seizure was lawful. Questions include whether the police had a valid search warrant, whether there was probable cause for the search, whether the search went beyond the scope of the warrant, and others. To the extent the search ran afoul of your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, then the court may exclude the evidence – in this case the drugs themselves – and the prosecution may be unable without that evidence to prove its case.