Your Options If You Have Drug Charges in California

Updated: Sep 12

Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Drug Charges in California


Suppose you are convicted for a drug-related crime such as drug possession, drug transportation, drug production, or drug delivery. In that case, it is important that you employ a California drug charges attorney. A conviction on these charges may result in a lengthy prison sentence or other consequences, such as difficulty finding safe and decent housing, loss of government benefits, or job loss.


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In these kinds of cases, the state's case against you would need to be fully investigated. To find what law enforcement thinks they have on you, an investigation is usually required. Furthermore, a drug-related allegation also raises constitutional concerns, such as your right to be free from arbitrary searches and seizures or your right against self-incrimination.


Before giving a statement to the police, contact your drug charges attorney if you have recently been charged with a drug offense. Any claims you make about the circumstances of your arrest could be used against you in court.


What are the Drug Laws in California?


Drug possession, drug possession for sale, drug production, and drug trafficking is the most serious drug crimes in California. Possession of a controlled drug such as cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, meth, prescription painkillers without an approved prescription, and others are illegal under section 11350 of the Health and Safety Code.


Furthermore, if you are found guilty of possessing illicit drugs with the intent of trafficking them, you are going to be charged with a crime under Section 11351 of the Health and Safety Code. If you've been charged with this drug crime, you should know that the prosecution doesn't have to prove that you and another person exchanged drugs.


If the state can prove that you had the intent to sell an illicit substance by trying to add as evidence the drug's package contents, measuring scales, drug amount, or informant statements, you may be prosecuted.


Furthermore, drug arrests and undercover activities are often carried out in order to prosecute people for violating California's Health and Safety Code 111352. It is unlawful in California to sell, transport, or furnish an illegal substance under this statute. Manufacturing drugs and narcotics is the most serious of all drug crimes in this state. A conviction of this offense, which is codified at 11379 of the Health and Safety Code, will result in a seven-year prison term.


Will you have a federal drug violation on your hands?


Federal drug offenses are exceedingly difficult to prosecute, and the case would not be any easier. Drug prosecutors in federal court are notorious for being especially harsh on drug offenders, and federal court, in general, is a whole different ballgame. You will need the assistance of a professional and seasoned federal drug charges attorney who will fight for you every step of the way.


Title 21 of the United States Code contains the bulk of drug legislation. Each prescription is classified into one of five "schedules" under federal law. When the DEA decides which Schedule substance should be classified, it takes into account a number of factors. The First Phase Act was recently passed by Congress, resulting in a dramatic shift in drug-related crime sentencing.


The found drug's potential for abuse, scientific evidence of the drug's pharmacological effects, the state of current scientific research regarding the substance, the drug's history and current pattern of abuse, the scope, duration, and significance of abuse, any risk to public health, and the drug's psychic opacity are among the factors considered by the DEA.


Drug Possession Under California Law


Growing, selling, distributing, transporting, possessing, or trafficking marijuana is illegal under federal law. The majority of marijuana cultivation cases in federal court are charged with criminal federal drug offenses. Possession of marijuana seeds, planting seeds, drying and processing marijuana plants are all considered cultivating offenses. If at least two plants are found, police will usually charge an individual with cultivation and possession with intent to sell.


The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in California. In a marijuana cultivation case, however, federal prosecutors can and will seek criminal charges in federal court.


You could face prison time, probation, high fines, and even asset forfeiture of your personal property if you are convicted. If you are facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to meet with a competent drug charges attorney.


Types of Drug Charges in California


Drug offenses vary in seriousness from misdemeanors like marijuana possession or drug paraphernalia to felony offenses like drug trafficking and conspiracy. Federal courts can prosecute such drug offenses.


Manufacturing, trafficking, smuggling of illicit drugs, and marijuana production are all federal drug offenses in California. Narcotics, opiates, depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants are also regulated drugs. Methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and prescription medications are the most common drugs used in drug possession criminal charges.


If you have been charged with a federal drug offense, it is important that you have had legal representation on your side. The law in California differs significantly between misdemeanors and felony charges and is usually determined by the type of substance and quantity obtained.


California is the nation's leader in opioid offender imprisonment, with a massive rise in the number of people sentenced to state prisons. A mandatory minimum prison term is normally imposed if you are convicted of a federal drug crime.


The nature and amount of drugs involved, as well as whether the drugs were just for personal use or whether there was an attempt to market them, decide if this drug offense is prosecuted. Other considerations include a criminal history, especially a prior drug conviction.

When facing a drug crime charge, the best legal defense is to question how the evidence was gathered. You have the right to be free from arbitrary searches and seizures under the statute. This ensures that any unlawfully seized evidence cannot be used to prosecute you in court. To contest the process by which the proof was collected, you will require the legal services of an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney. If the lawyer succeeds, the testimony may be withheld, and the prosecution will be dismissed.


1. Importation


Bringing illicit controlled drugs into the United States from another state or country is referred to as federal drug importation. This form of a federal crime is often linked to drug trafficking, particularly when large amounts of drugs are imported from other countries.


Importing methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, prescription medications, or any other illicit drugs is a significant federal drug offense. Mexican drug smuggling activities are typically complex, using a range of tactics to avoid border inspection stations.


You will almost certainly face felony criminal charges in a Federal Criminal Court if you have been convicted by federal agents for drug importation. Prosecutors would work hard to get a conviction with the harshest sentences possible. A conviction for a federal drug offense will result in federal jail time, substantial fines, and a permanent criminal record.


2. Manufacturing


Any person who prepares or manufactures illicit drugs with the intent of selling them to a customer is considered a drug manufacturer. Intentionally possessing laboratory glassware or chemical solvent with a value greater than $100 with the intent to produce a controlled drug is illegal.


Growing marijuana, running a methamphetamine lab, collecting materials to produce narcotics, and having production equipment are all federal drug manufacturing charges.


Individuals accused of federal drug crimes will be vigorously prosecuted by federal prosecutors. A conviction can result in harsh fines, and a conviction for drug abuse or drug trafficking can result in a sentence to a federal prison that is twice as long.


Additional federal crime charges and a more serious penalty can result from your previous criminal record, manufacturing near a school or playground, or being in possession of a firearm. If the weapons charge is connected to the drug crime charges, it may result in several more years in jail.


3. Smuggling


One of the most serious types of opioid criminal offenses is federal drug smuggling. In a drug smuggling situation, any illicit drug may be used. Smuggled drugs include methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin in varying quantities. And prescription drugs have recently become popular in human trafficking cases. This may be due to their accessibility through the internet.


Prescription drugs such as Xanax or Valium, as well as painkillers including Oxycotin, Oxycodone, and Vicodin, are often bought in bulk and resold for a benefit.


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A drug-smuggling charge is sometimes combined with a drug conspiracy charge. This indicates you've been charged with conspiring to commit a federal drug offense with another person. In federal court, the prosecutor does not want proof that you sold the drugs or that you committed a crime. They just have to show that two or more people conspired to commit a crime.


A conviction for drug smuggling will result in jail time, substantial fines, court costs, and probation. A federal drug crime conviction may have a long-term effect on your career and reputation.


If you or a member of your family has been convicted or is under federal investigation for drug smuggling in some part of California, you will need to hire the legal services of a company that has dealt with similar charges before.


4. Trafficking


A drug trafficking conviction in federal court will result in a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison. Title 21 of the United States Code covers federal drug trafficking offenses. The severity of the penalties is determined by a number of factors, including:

  • The type and volume of the medication in question

  • Evidence of drug trafficking includes large sums of money, firearms, several cell phones, and scales.

  • It doesn't matter if this is your first drug offense.

  • The criminal background of a defendant

  • If the crime crossed state or foreign boundaries

  • If the drugs were sold to minors or in close proximity to a school

  • If someone was injured or killed as a result of the drug offense


If you are convicted, even if you are a first-time offender, you will face jail time. If you are not a US resident, you can face property seizure, high fines, and deportation. Methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, PCP, and human growth hormone are the most frequently tried substances in federal court.


If you are being investigated for drug trafficking or have already been convicted, you can contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. If a confidential informant was used to gather evidence against you, your Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles will be aware of this and will put doubt on their credibility.


In a variety of circumstances, such drug offenses can be classified as federal offenses. Any drug crime involving large amounts or volumes of controlled drugs may be classified as a federal offense. The Schedule of the drug used in the crime would also have an impact on how the crime is prosecuted. Since Schedule, I controlled substances have a greater potential for violence than other drugs and have no medical use, the risk of the crime being reported as a federal offense increases.


The opioid and prescription drug fraud epidemic in the United States has forced federal law enforcement authorities to crack down on prescription drug purchases and delivery.


Money and property forfeitures and seizures are often linked to federal criminal investigations into organized crime, such as drug trafficking and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).