Actual Case #1
In People v. Andres R. - Case No. PA075903, the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Deputies pulled my client over for an allegation that he committed a minor traffic violation. They approached his vehicle, stated that they smelled the odor of marijuana and searched his vehicle and backpack which was inside the car which revealed a significant amount of methamphetamine. He was charged with possession for sales of meth and transporting meth. Due to the nature of the charges my client did NOT qualify for a drug treatment program which would have resulted in an eventual dismissal upon successful completion of the drug program. I filed a motion to dismiss due to an unlawful search and seizure by the police in violation of my clients 4th Amendment rights which was denied by the Judge. We were left with an offer to settle of 365 days after preliminary hearing. Despite being backed up against the wall, I was able to convince the Judge and Deputy D.A. to place my client on informal diversion for 18 months and if my client stayed out of trouble, got gainful employment and went back to school, that the charges would be dismissed after 18 months. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I MADE IT HAPPEN. Outcome: My client is now drug free and his case was dismissed which means he doesn't have the scarlet letter of a felony conviction hanging over his head for life.
If you are facing charges of drug transport in Los Angeles, CA, or nearby areas, it is important for you to understand the nature and the gravity of the allegations being brought against you. By hiring a top drug transport criminal defense lawyer and educating yourself on California drug transport law, you stand a much better chance of prevailing in the courtroom.
What Is Drug Transportation?
In California, the mere moving of illegal narcotics from one location to another is counted as "drug transportation." While this law is meant to target and cripple the activities of drug suppliers and dealers, it can often apply to individual users as well. No intention to sell or distribute the illegal substance need be proved. It is enough that they were moved by the defendant. Moving with the drugs for even a very short distance counts as transporting them, and it is irrelevant whether the drugs were moved on foot, by bicycle, in an automobile, or by any other means.
What Must the Prosecution Prove?
The California Health and Safety Code, section 11352, criminalizes as a felony the sale, distribution, administration, importation, and transportation of all illegal narcotics and controlled substances.
If you are charged with violation of section 11352, the prosecutor must prove the following elements to convict you:
- You did, in fact, sell, furnish, administer, gift, import, or transport an illegal narcotic or other controlled substance.
- You were aware of the presence of the drug.
- You were aware of the fact that it was a controlled substance.
- The drug was present in a quantity sufficient to make it "usable."
Common Defenses Against Drug Transport Charges
Many accused of transporting narcotics are unfairly painted as sellers when, in fact, they were mere buyers or possessors. Others are dragged into court on drug crime charges after a drug dealer has planted drugs on their person, in their suitcase, or in their living quarters. Those accused of drug transportation are no less "innocent until proven guilty" than anyone else, and there are five common defenses that often defeat the allegations being brought against them.
- The drug in question was given to them as a prescription medication. Section 11352 of the Health and Safety Code explicitly mentions an exception in the event a controlled substance was prescribed to them. The prescription must have been written out by a doctor, podiatrist, dentist, or veterinarian who has a legitimate state-issued license.
- The defendant did not, in fact, transport any controlled substance. There was no intent to transport, and therefore, a reduced charge of simple possession may be possible.
- The defendant was not aware of the drug's presence or was not aware of its illegality. The law enforcement officers who made the arrest were unable to obtain eyewitness testimony, fingerprints, and other evidences that would prove the defendant knew of the presence and nature of the illegal substance.
- The defendant was victimized by law enforcement entrapment techniques. He/she was induced to commit the crime against the defendant's inclinations. Encouragement to transport drugs was initiated by police or other government agents.
- There simply is not enough evidence to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of committing the crime.
The Seriousness of a Drug Transport Allegation
Drug transportation does not count as a "strike" in California's "Three Strikes and You're Out" law, which increases prison terms for multiple-strike offenders, but it is treated rather harshly in California in other respects.
For example, some crimes are eligible for "deferred entry of judgment," which allows a defendant to pay fines, serve probation, and accept therapy in return for a guilty plea. This avoids severer punishment and a criminal record. It is usually a plea bargain deal for first-time offenders and minors, but it is not available for drug transportation defendants.
According to Proposition 36, "diversion sentences" of probation and drug abuse treatment apply to many non-violent drug convictions. Drug transport, however, is not eligible for these lighter sentences. Furthermore, those convicted of drug transport must be registered as drug offenders.
The possible punishments for violation of Health and Safety Code section 11352 include:
- Three to nine years in state prison, according to specifications given in detail in section 11352.
- One year in a county jail and three to five years of probation.
- Fines that can reach as high as $20,000. The exact amount will be determined by the court.
- Mandatory community service, the exact type and amount being determined by the court.
Drug transportation is a felony charge, and the fines and prison terms may be raised significantly if the one convicted of this crime has any prior drug-related offenses on their record.
Contact Us Today for An Experienced Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of Jeff Voll have deep experience in successfully defending against charges of drug transportation in the Los Angeles area. We have former prosecutors, legal experts, researchers, and investigators on our team who rank as the best in the industry. We have all of the resources necessary to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today at 323-467-6400 for helpful information, a free consultation, and immediate attention to your needs.