What should you do if you're charged with drug possession? California State Laws prohibit possession of illegal substances such as marijuana, and other drugs obtained illegally. In case you're in such a situation, you need to understand the offense is treated as serious. However, the most important action you need to take in such a situation is hiring a lawyer specializing in criminal defense cases.
If you're scouting around for a good lawyer, you need to consider hiring a Los Angeles drug possession lawyer. In the State of California, you are likely to be charged with a felony if found in possession of controlled substances. But there is an exception to this rule, which involves possessing marijuana, drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of drugs. Any other cases that involve being in possession of a banned substance, including possession of methamphetamine should be considered very seriously. If you are a California resident and happen to be charged with possession of cocaine or any other drug possession crime, be sure to contact a knowledgeable California drug possession lawyer immediately.
California residents usually get into trouble when caught in possession of drugs like marijuana. This happens because they fail to get the needed legal support since they are unaware of options available to them. Drug offenses are of a serious nature, so it's important to hire a qualified Los Angeles drug possession attorney to act in your defense. For drugs like cocaine, possessing it could have serious penalties imposed on you by California Law Enforcement officials. If faced or charged with the possession of illegal drugs such as marijuana, you should seek help of a Los Angeles drug possession attorney. So if you might have charges related to being in possession of controlled substances, count on us for help.
Defining Health & Safety Code 11350
Any person caught in possession of controlled substances that aren't prescribed by a general physician, podiatrist, dentist, California licensed veterinarian or any controlled substances listed and commits a felony then that person may be punishable by imprisonment. If charged with a felony, charges carry the weight and stigma of being viewed as a 'felon' under the watchful eyes of California State Laws, including but not limited to: losing your right to possess firearms, vote, hold public office, sit on a jury, must provide DNA samples to law enforcement, and immigration consequences as drug abuser, if you're a noncitizen.
How Does a Prosecutor Prove Drug Possession Charges
In case you are caught and charged in possession of a controlled substance like cocaine, a prosecutor needs to prove and establish your guilt of drug possession. Some things they may try to prove:
- You were aware it was in your presence
- You were aware of the substance's nature or knew it is a controlled substance
- You were in an unlawful possession of a controlled substance
- Substance in question was in a usable amount (could be cocaine in this case)
5 Legal Defenses that Can Be Used by Your Drug Possession Lawyer
If you have been charged for being in possession of drugs or controlled substances, seeking the services of a Los Angeles professional attorney is your best chance for your defense in a court of law. The following list provides legal defenses that could potentially be used in a drug possession case.
1. You weren't aware that the controlled substance was in your presence
To be convicted, Health & Safety Code 11350 requires you to know TWO things. The first is that you were aware about the presence of the controlled substance; and secondly you were aware about the nature or character as a controlled substance. So your knowledge will be a critical part of this charge. An example is, if you were purchasing glucose from a convenience store, believing at the time that you were indeed, purchasing glucose at the time, when in reality, the content in the package was cocaine, you wouldn't have realized the "nature or character" of the substance contained in the package was controlled, under the law.
2. The controlled substance was prescribed
Section 11350 of Health & Safety Code provides a legitimate legal defense, if the controlled substance in your possession is a prescription and states, "Except as otherwise provided in this division, any person found in possession of controlled substances classified in this section, which is a narcotic drug, unless upon the written prescription of a physician, podiatrist, dentist or veterinarian licensed to practice in the State of California, shall be punished by imprisonment. For example, if you are found in possession of Opioids, regardless of whether the amount in your possession is useable, you are considered NOT to have possessed the controlled substance ILLEGALLY, if in fact, the medication was prescribed to you by a licensed doctor, and the drug's prescription details are in your name, is meant for your personal use, and for the treatment of your illness. Under State Laws of California, and with the help of a diligent and skillful attorney, you'd only need to raise a reasonable doubt demanding to know if his/her possession of a controlled substance, used as medication was lawful because of a prescription that is valid.
3. You weren't in possession of the controlled substance
For you to be punishable due to being in possession of something illegal, charges placed against you must conform to section 11350 of Health & Safety Code which completely focuses on "possession" offense. POSSESSION of such controlled substances is REQUIRED. If you weren't in possession of (meaning being in possession of the substance at that present time or moment) the controlled substance, or even having the controlled substance stored somewhere other than in your hands, but still having control over it, then you haven't violated or committed any offense under this law.
4. Insufficient evidence against you is unavailable
If a diligent and conscientious defense attorney is representing you, there's a high chance that you won't be convicted under the laws in section 11350 of Health & Safety Code, if there's no sufficient or substantial evidence. Your defense attorney is likely to explain to the court that the prosecutor lacks evidence, which can be done by mitigating evidence or proof that not all or enough elements of the crime were met.
5. You were a Victim of entrapment by law enforcement officials
It could occur if law enforcement officers or agents of the government induce or encourage someone to commit a criminal act, even if the potential criminal shows no desire to proceed. Entrapment is effectively used in legal defense if the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with law enforcement or government agents, instead of the criminal being charged.
- IS NOT an offense that is "strikeable",
- Qualifies for eligibility as a Deferred Entry of Judgment sentence,
- Requires registration as a drug offender.
- Qualifies as a diversion sentence in accordance to Proposition 36.
Under Proposition 36, if a defendant is found guilty of a "non-violent drug possession offense," the court must immediately grant probation, suspend the imposition of the sentence, and issue a ruling requiring the defendant to take part in, and complete a court-approved drug treatment program as a condition of probation.
If you need to know the penalties imposed for drug possession, the following is a brief account.
- Conviction of a Felony
- Serving a Jail term of between 16 months to 36 months
- 36 months to 60 months under probation
- Fines of between $70 to $10,000
- Serve a Community Service, based on the court's ruling.
How We Can Help You Overcome Drug Possession Charges
While in California, certain charges related to drug possession such as misdemeanor or felony can easily be resolved without you having to serve a jail term, and at times you don't necessarily have to be convicted or have a conviction appear on your records. With this in mind, it is of utmost importance that you hire a Los Angeles drug possession attorney who is experienced in the different methods involved with handling cases on drug possession cases in California.
In Los Angeles, you could seek help by visiting the Law Offices of Jeff Voll, where you will find a seasoned drug possession attorney. Mr. Voll is a renowned attorney who is knowledgeable, skillful, and experienced in delivering the best results possible. Our offices closely follow changes made in law and know how to navigate the system successfully in order to make it work for our clients.
If you are faced with charges arising from being in possession of controlled substances such as methamphetamine or cocaine, you need to have trust in your attorney. Therefore, any time you are faced with charges of drug possession in California, Los Angeles attorney Jeff Voll should be your attorney of choice. If building a strong defense and getting a favorable ruling made is what you need to achieve you should call to schedule your free consultation immediately at 323-467-6400.