Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

Under California law, it is a crime to possess illegal or controlled substances such as marijuana, LSD, heroin, methamphetamine “meth” or cocaine. State and federal possession laws also make it illegal to possess chemicals that can be used to manufacture these drugs. The severity of drug charges in California depends on the amount of drugs found and the defendant’s prior criminal record. If you have been charged with drug possession anywhere in Southern California, you need successful drug lawyers to represent you. Even a minor conviction may lead to lengthy prison time.

The amount of drugs that are found directly affects the severity of the charges. If a small amount of drugs are found, you may be facing a misdemeanor with probation. If the amount of drugs found is significant, you may be facing felony charges and time in state prison. If the amount of drugs that are found is considered more than one person would normally to use, then you may be charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute drugs.

Where the drugs are found and seized by police may directly affect the case against you. A California drug possession defense attorney will carefully examine the actions of the officers involved to make sure that your Constitutional Rights were not violated. If it is determined that your Constitutional Rights were violated, your drug case may be dismissed.

The Fourth Amendment was created to protect the personal rights and privacy of American citizens. It gives people the right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” This law dictates how specific warrants must be sought, made and executed. When dealing with drug cases, this amendment becomes particularly important. How the police find and confiscate the drugs are crucial in any drug crime case. There are a number of factors that determine if the search and seizure of admissible evidence is valid in court.

The Fourth Amendment applies when you have a legitimate expectation of privacy. Did you expect some degree of privacy and was that expectation reasonable? For example, when you are in a public restroom, you expect to have privacy. A hidden camera in a public restroom or in the privacy of a hotel room is not legal police conduct. Did you give “consent” to the officer to search your car? Did the officer conduct a search of your pockets without your permission? Each of these could be a violation of your Fourth Amendment Rights.

If drugs are found in an illegal search, they cannot be used directly as evidence in a criminal prosecution. This is known as the exclusionary rule. While some believe this is an unfair loophole that lets criminals off on a technicality, others believe it is part of our rights as Americans to protect our privacy. The type and quantity of the drugs found dictate how serious the charges could be. If more drugs are found than one person can reasonably have for personal use, charges to distribute or possession for sale drug charges may be filed. Again, what the police did and how these drugs were obtained could make the difference between considerable fines and jail time versus having your case thrown out.

The San Luis Obispo County Narcotics Task Force arrested eight people on drug charges at a 420 festival. Central Coast News reports that the festival took place at the Pozo Saloon in Santa Margarita. The eight individuals arrested are all in their 20s and face a litany of drug charges from possession of drugs to sale. Some have been arrested and charged with selling a controlled substance. Others were charged with possession for sale of a controlled substance. All eight were charged with Health and Safety Code Section 11352. This safety code involves the possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

An experienced California drug crime defense lawyer will investigate an individual’s case to ensure that his or her Constitutional rights were not violated when evidence was being gathered, or during arrest or interrogation procedures. Attorneys must be well aware of search and seizure laws and be able to immediately assess whether the defendants’ constitutional rights were violated.

A drug crime conviction can change your life forever. Even if you are able to lessen the charges against you, any conviction can hurt your employment prospects and subsequently your finances and your future. It’s important to meet these charges head-on with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who knows how to break down each detail of your case and build a strong, effective defense strategy.

Natalie Nicole Mejia of the pop group Girlicious pleaded not guilty to procession of cocaine with intent to sell. She was arrested in Glendale, California in March. CBS 8 reports that police found more than a dozen bags of cocaine in her purse. She was stopped for a traffic infraction when the police found the drugs in her purse. She has posted the $30,000 bail, but is facing felony drug charges. She claims that the drugs were not hers and she does not know how they got into her purse.

Drug possession in California is a serious offense with potentially life changing penalties. Being charged with intent to sell has even greater ramifications. What changes a possession charge to a possession charge with intent to sell is the quantity of drugs found. When there are more drugs found than can be reasonably used by one person, it is assumed that the person found with the drugs plans to distribute them.

A Glendale drug crime defense attorney is necessary to help reduce the drug charges being held against you. An experienced California defense lawyer will examine the means by which the police obtained the evidence and determine if any evidence was illegally acquired. If you have been charged with possession in California, you need a defense lawyer ready to fight for you. Please contact the skilled criminal defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan by calling 866-430-8383. We always provide a free and comprehensive initial consultation to all clients.

Did you know that you can legally have medical marijuana in California prescribed to you, legally purchase it from an authorized marijuana distributor and then get arrested for possession of a controlled substance under federal law? Marijuana laws in California can be complicated and confusing. The majority of people arrested for drug crimes related to marijuana are small-time users who possess marijuana for personal use with no intent to sell. Millions of taxpayer dollars and countless hours of the court’s time are spent prosecuting these cases.

According to a Reuters article, on Nov. 2, Californians will vote to potentially make California the first state in the United States to legalize marijuana. Currently, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense that carries a $100 fine. If it passes, the new law would make this possession legal for those over 21-years-old. In the meantime, Californians must continue to sort through the complicated drug laws that currently exist.

Remember that if you are facing drug charges in California, it is important to have proper legal representation to help defend your rights. The penalties for a drug crime conviction can be severe. Often Orange County drug crime arrests are made after illegal search and seizure operations by the police. Do not plead guilty to any drug crime charges without first seeing what an Irvine drug crime lawyer can do to help getting your charges thrown out.

Based on a recent OC Register story, the city of Seal Beach settled a lawsuit filed against the police department in which an Orange County resident alleged that the Seal Beach Police Department unlawfully confiscated 40 to 50 medical marijuana plants and coerced him into becoming a drug informant. The City Manager said that the lawsuit was settled for $32,500.

The man says that he legally grew and distributed medical marijuana under California state law. Seal Beach police officers entered his apartment and took photographs of his marijuana plants, despite his having produced documentation showing that he possessed the plants legally. The police department later turned the evidence over to federal authorities.

The man was arrested under federal drug laws and he alleged that he was forced to become a drug informant for the department, providing information about other marijuana providers and setting up drug deals. In spite of the settlement, the police department contends that the plaintiff volunteered to become an informant to avoid federal drug charges; and that he was an informant for the DEA and not for the Seal Beach Police Department.
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San Diego police discovered nearly 18 pounds of cocaine at a checkpoint along Interstate 5 recently, according to an OC Register article. The contraband drugs are estimated to have a street value of roughly $300,000. The checkpoint was conducted last Saturday and federally funded under a Department of Homeland Security grant called Operation Stonegarden in an effort to quell drug smugglers along the freeways. The checkpoint was located near the San Clemente Border Patrol inspection station.

When questioned by deputies, the two men in the vehicle raised suspicion when they gave differing responses about their destination. With the help of drug dogs, police discovered the cocaine in a newer model white Dodge truck. Both men were arrested for drug trafficking and possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

California is the leading state in the nation for arrests for possession of illegal drugs. According to the California Department of Corrections, about 20,000 of the state’s 160,000 prisoners are confined for drug offenses. A California drug offense includes being under the influence of a controlled substance as well as possession, use, sale or furnishing of any drug or relating paraphernalia that is prohibited by the Health and Safety Code law, including cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and ecstasy.
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In the first decision of its kind in California, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the retail sale of marijuana is not permitted under California state law. According to an LA Weekly article, the case was brought against a medical marijuana dispensary that the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office said was targeted because its product was found to have traces of pesticide. The marijuana dispensary was ordered to temporarily shut down. The ruling also stipulated that medical marijuana providers must comply with the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act which requires particular testing, labeling, warnings and product information to be provided to patients.

The California legal system’s treatment of marijuana use and cultivation derives primarily from the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (California Health & Safety Code Section 11357-11362.9), which provides protections from existing federal or state laws criminalizing marijuana use and cultivation for “seriously ill” Californians using the drug for medicinal purposes. The language of the legislation was left intentionally vague so as to allow regional authorities to make reasonable determinations about how to implement the marijuana law.
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Local law enforcement officials seized 1,300 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $1 million. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, four men were arrested in the Ontario, California, home, which officials say was being used by a Mexican drug cartel. Agents apparently discovered about 1,200 pounds of marijuana inside two vehicles that were parked at the home. Another 100 pounds of pot were found inside the home along with scales, packaging materials and other documents that indicated that the pot was being sold. Investigators say the marijuana was grown in Mexico and was to be distributed across the United States.

A California drug offense refers to the possession, use, sale or furnishing of any drug or intoxicating substance or drug paraphernalia that is prohibited by law. Most drug offenses in the State of California are now felonies. The penalties for drug crimes in San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County or Orange County can be extremely severe. The nature or severity of the charges are usually based on the quantity of drugs seized, the intent to sell or distribute, and other factors such as use or possession of weapons, evidence that the drugs are being sold, and possession of large amounts of cash used for drug transactions. Charges also depend on a drug’s classification under the drug schedule and the purpose of the possession – whether it’s for personal use or sale.
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Los Angeles police arrested three people for operating an elaborate marijuana growing operation in a San Fernando Valley industrial building barely 25 feet away from a police station. According to an Associated Press news report, the marijuana was discovered after officers served a search warrant at the building in Canoga Park. The indoor pot farm included lights, automatic irrigation and a ventilation system. Los Angeles Police Department Authorities say the three arrestees are facing multiple drug charges.

The severity of drug or marijuana cultivation charges in Los Angeles depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, and the quantity and type of drugs that have been seized. If convicted of cultivating marijuana, even if you are part of a marijuana “collective”, those facing drug charges could be looking at significant jail time, hefty fines and other harsh penalties. Drug crimes involving possession of large quantities of marijuana or narcotics, possession for sale or transportation, will almost always involve felony charges. In California, a felony drug crime could well become a “third strike,” which could send a defendant to prison for the rest of his or her life.
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