Actual Case #1
In People v. Kyree M - Case No. YA067092, the Inglewood Police Department arrested my client for possession for sale of cocaine base and possession of cocaine base (rock cocaine). The facts were quite simple. The police report stated that the cops were patrolling an area of Inglewood called "the bottoms." The report further stated that my client was seen throwing a clear plastic baggie which was recovered and contained many small rocks of cocaine base. My client was patted down and he had a sizeable amount of cash on him indicative of street sales of narcotics. What the report didn't state and which was in fact the real story is that my client and his friends were talking in front of one of their mom's homes in Inglewood. The cops rolled up and detained everyone at gun point with no legal cause whatsoever. The cops had obviously known about this specific home because as they were illegally detaining my client and his friends at gun point, one of the cops went around to the side of the house about 30 feet away and reached into and under the crawl space of the house. Inside the crawl space was where the cocaine base was actually at along with A GUN which was never mentioned in the police report. After a careful review of the actual crime scene by me visiting the home and crawl space area, it was clear that the police report was a complete fabrication. This case started out in Inglewood Court but was transferred to the Torrance Courthouse for trial as Torrance and Inglewood are in the same Southwest Judicial District. We got sent to the worst Judge in the Torrance Court. Outcome: Nevertheless, after a vigorous defense presented to the jury, I was successful in winning an acquittal and the complete freedom for my client Kyree. I often wonder who the police planted that gun on!
What is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking, also called possession for sale, is trading or dealing illicit drugs. It also includes exchange or sale of drugs. Transporting, selling or buying any illegal drug or control substance can result in drug trafficking charges. The types of controlled substances which may result in drug trafficking charges include methamphetamine, cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana, prescription drugs and ecstasy. Keep in mind charges are not limited to these illegal drugs.
According to 11351 of the state’s Health and Safety Code, possessing narcotics with the intent to sale them is a felony. If convicted, a person would typically be sentenced to prison time. Unfortunately many people in California are accused of HS 11351 when they are, in fact, innocent. Yes, they possessed the drugs, but much of the time it is for personal use only. HS 11351 includes more than 100 specifically named controlled substances, including:
Dihydromesterone, Testosterone, Androisoxazole, Nandrolone, Ketamine and Chorionic Gonadotropin (HGC). This includes steroids of any mixture or compound.
- Hallucinogenic Substances
Marijuana, Peyote, Mescaline, Dimethoxy-Amphetamine, Psilocybin, Ethylamphetamine, Cocaine, Gamma hydroxybutyric acid, Cocaine, Cocaine base and Fenethylline.
- Opiates and Opium Derivatives
Methadone, Heroin, Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Codeine methylbromide, Desomorphine, Nicocodeine, Morphine methylbromide, Methyldihydromorphine, Myrophine, Nicocodeine, Psilocybin (mushrooms), Oxycodone and Dihydrocodeine.
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy, “molly”), Amphetamine, Dimethylamphetamine, Methamphetamine and Benzphetamine, et al.
Phenylcyclohexyl Piperidine (PCP), Lysergic acid, Amobarbital, Morpholine (PCM), Pphenylcyclohexyl, Piperidinocyclohexane Carbonitrile (PCC), and any compound and/ or mixture of depressants.
How Does a State Prosecutor Prove a Drug Trafficking Charge?
To answer this questions let’s use possessing cocaine as an example. If you are charged with cocaine possession, which is a controlled substance, the prosecutor must prove elements of the charge to prove you are guilty. The following elements are outlined under HS 11351 to establish a defendant’s guilt:
- The defendant possessed the controlled substance illegally. This means you had no legal right to possess the cocaine you had at the time of your arrest.
- The defendant knew he or she was in possession of the controlled substance. For instance, a prosecutor would have to prove you knew you possessed the cocaine.
- The defendant knew of the substance’s character or nature as an illegal drug or controlled substance. With this element, the prosecutor would have to prove you knew the substance you possessed was cocaine.
- The defendant possessed the controlled substance with the intent to sell it. You possessed the cocaine with the intent to sell the drug.
- The controlled substance was, in fact, a controlled substance. For instance, the cocaine you are accused of possessing was actually cocaine.
- The controlled substance the defendant possessed was in a usable amount. This means the amount of cocaine you possessed was in an amount that anyone could use. It was not a trace amount.
Legal Defenses to Drug Trafficking
Anyone charged with drug trafficking has a right to show why he or she is not guilty of drug possession. Remember, the facts involved will dictate which legal defense is best to use if you are charged with drug trafficking. Below are some of the common legal defenses to a drug trafficking charge under Health & Safety Code Section 11351:
You did not Possess the Controlled Substance
Remember, the first element of a drug trafficking charge is that you possessed a controlled substance. Controlled substance possession means you actually had the substance in hand or under your control at the moment of your arrest.
You could also be accused of having constructive possession. Constructive possession means you stored the drug somewhere and did not have it in hand. However, you still possessed control over it.
If you did not possess or constructively possess the drug, then you have not committed a violation under HR 11351.
You did not Intend to sell the Controlled Substance
Health & Safety Code section 11350 criminalizes controlled substance possession. The next Health & Safety code, 11351 takes possessing a controlled substance further. This code includes the intent to sell the possessed substance. You may have possessed the drug. If you had no intent to sell the drugs to anyone, it is a viable defense for you.
You were Entrapped by Police
It is illegal for any law enforcement officer or government agent to convince you to commit a crime when you had no intent to do so. When a law enforcement officer or government agent does this illegal act, it is called entrapment. Entrapment is a legal defense you were convinced, coerced or encouraged to commit the crime of drug trafficking.
The State has No Evidence against You
It does happen. Police will arrest a person. A prosecutor will charge the person with drug trafficking. However, the state has no sufficient evidence the person committed the crime. A criminal defense lawyer who is conscientious and diligent can show the prosecutor there is not enough evidence to go to trial and/ or convict you under HS 11351.
Your attorney can be done with proof that all elements of the crime were not met. Your attorney may provide mitigating evidence or showing the submitted evidence is insubstantial or insufficient.
Penalties for a Drug Trafficking Conviction
The penalties, if convicted for felony drug trafficking, include the following:
- One year of jail time. Probation for three to five years.
- Up to $20,000 fines. The exact amount is determined by the court.
- Community Service. The exact amount is determined by the court.
- Two to four years in prison as specified in HS 11351.
To be convicted of a felony carries harsh penalties separated from the ones listed. A felony conviction has the stigma of being a “felon.” This means you will lose the right to vote, own a firearm, participate on a jury and hold public office. You must provide police with a DNA sample. If you are trying to obtain American citizenship, being labeled a felon can have severe consequences such as losing your immigration visa.
What a Drug Trafficking Conviction Means for Eligibility
If convicted of drug trafficking, a person becomes ineligible for many things that would get rid of the felon stigma. The following is an example of what you are no longer eligible for:
- You are not eligible for any Deferred Entry of Judgment sentence. Thus, you cannot receive a different or lighter sentence.
- You are not eligible to have the drug trafficking conviction struck from your criminal record.
- You are not eligible for any other sentence normally given under the Proposition 36-diversion sentence.
- You will have to register as a drug offender.
We Will Help You
The difference between going to state prison and having your case dismissed, reduced or a not guilty depends on the type of lawyer you hire. Yes, hiring the right Los Angeles drug trafficking lawyer means that much to your future. It is why you need to be sure you are hiring the drug trafficking lawyer who will devote the necessary time to get you the best outcome.
When you have the feeling that your case is just another one at the law firm, you will not go to court confident about your defense. A dedicated, well-versed lawyer should be able to resolve your legal situation without going to trial. A well versed lawyer may be able to deal with your charges without ever actually going to trial.
The Los Angeles attorney Jeff Voll has the necessary experience, knowledge and skill in drug trafficking defense to successfully fight your case. In fact, Mr. Voll has a law firm that is comprised of the legal profession’s best investigators, experts, researchers and former prosecutors. This legal team will work on your drug trafficking case to protect your legal rights.
When accused of drug trafficking, you need a great defense. A drug trafficking conviction will have a major impact on your future—if convicted. For instance, you may spend time in jail or prison.
A lawyer knowledgeable and experienced in drug trafficking law is waiting to help you at Law Offices of Jeff Voll. Let one of our drug trafficking lawyers handle your case. This will give you the confidence and knowledge that your case is being resolved correctly and in a caring way. If you or a loved one has been accused of drug trafficking, you need the Law Offices of Jeff Voll. Call us now 323-467-6400.