While some of the more recent laws have reduced the potential consequences for some drug offenses, it is important to know that those laws do not apply to all of the common drug crimes. A drug offense conviction can still lead to negative consequences that include losing your job, being disciplined by a governmental agency if you hold a license with the state, and even the ability to obtain a loan.
Drug charges most commonly include
- Drug Possession
- Drug Use
- Possession for Sale
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Cultivation/Manufacturing
In California, you cannot possess a controlled substance unless you have a valid prescription (in the case of marijuana or prescription medication). The government must show that you illegally possessed the controlled substance, were aware of the presence of the substance on your person or in your control, knew the drug was considered a controlled substance, and that you possessed a usable quantity.
Due to the wide varying factors in drug cases, penalties can range from jail or prison time, to probation, fines, community service or even drug rehabilitation programs. It is important to have an attorney with knowledge of all the possible resources available to someone facing a drug charge and be able to aggressively pursue the option that allows the client to keep their freedom while being able to take advantage of rehabilitation.
In many drug offense cases, important factors are the type and classification of the substance, the amount seized, location of the substance, packaging and all other surrounding circumstances of the arrest. Many possession crimes now are simple misdemeanors which can be handled through a formal or informal diversion with the prosecutors office. This diversion requires you to be a first-time drug offense offender, not be charged with any other non-possession crimes, not have any previous felony convictions within 5 previous years of the arrest and have not have any revocations of probation or parole on your record.
Additionally, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Ross Erlich can assist in placing you or your loved one in an in-patient or out-patient drug treatment facility, which also helps to resolve one’s case more favorably.
Also keep in mind that just because possessing marijuana in California is now no longer a crime, there are still many crimes on the books that involve it. Possession for sale, transportation, manufacturing/cultivation, driving while under the influence of marijuana and others. In many possession for sales cases, critical facts include the intent to sell. Prosecutors look to the evidence to prove this in the form of large quantities of the drugs, scales, baggies, large quantity of money, multiple cell phones and even payment ledgers.
Defenses to drug possession cases can include the police conducting an unreasonable search and seizure on you or your property (without probable cause), momentary/incidental possession of the substance, no actual control or possession of the substance, lack of knowledge or awareness of the substance, a valid prescription or the lack of any intent to sell the substance.
Contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ross Erlich if you have been charged with a drug offense so that your rights and interests are aggressively protected.
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