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Pasadena Drug Crime Lawyer

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Southern California is a focal point in the war on drugs. Most law enforcement agencies classify drug crimes as one of the most widespread social problems in our area. Individuals who are accused of a drug crime in Pasadena or throughout Southern California will be heavily prosecuted in the courtroom regardless of whether they have a previous criminal record or not. The prosecutor in a drug case will almost always seek the most severe sentence available under the law, and in felony cases this may include penalties such as life in prison.

The penalties for a drug crime will depend on the type and amount of drugs that are involved. For example, being accused of possession of a small amount of marijuana will result in less severe penalties than being accused of selling large quantities of cocaine. In some cases, suspects are charged with possession with intent to sell because law enforcement found them with large quantities of the drug or drug paraphernalia such as scales and baggies.

Facing penalties under California drug laws? Contact our Pasadena drug crime attorney today.

Classification of Narcotics & Drug Offenses

California's Health and Safety Code 11350 HS defines "Possession of a Controlled Substance" and makes it a felony to possess certain narcotics. Some prescription drugs like Codeine and Vicodin are also illegal to possess if you do not have a lawful prescription. Drugs are classified according to how addictive they are and whether they have any medical use. The penalties for certain drugs such as LSD and heroin are worse than for others.

How to Fight Your Drug Charges in California

Whether you are charged with a drug crime of possession, distribution, cultivation, manufacture or sales, it is vitally important that you know your rights under California drug laws. One of the best ways to protect your rights against an automatic conviction is to remain silent until you have contact a drug crime lawyer in Pasadena. You can't afford to take any chances with your case, and a skilled Pasadena drug crime attorney from our firm will stand by you and give you the support and aggressive representation you need at this time.

Police officers are human, and therefore they are prone to making errors. Some of the most common police errors happen during a drug bust operation where officers "set-up" suspects and violate California's entrapment law. Identifying where a police officer went wrong is one of the best tools for building a strong defense against drug charges, and our firm has extensive experience with investigating these cases.

Possible Defenses to Drug Charges

In California, there are certain search and seizure rules that need to be adhered to by officers to protect the rights of residents. Law enforcement should not be given the right to do just anything since they are not infallible. There are restrictions including when and how property can be searched. Officers may fail to get a warrant or permission from the property owner and can enter the premises and search unlawfully. This may negate the evidence that is found in certain cases.

They may also make exaggerations on the police report rather than relaying just the facts. Sometimes their hopes to make a conviction can cloud their judgment and they may not make a fair assessment. They may also violate the entrapment laws of the state by setting up certain situations. An arrest may also be made when there is not enough evidence that the person taken into custody actually is owns the drugs.

You are innocent until proven guilty so a charge does not mean that you are guilty at this point. The prosecution will need to prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt so building this doubt can be enough to get you off the hook. You may have an alibi or there may be a witness account that can be used. While the best option is to have the criminal accusations dropped all together, this is not always possible, but another option includes seeking to have the charges reduced. This is another important defense option that can lead to significantly reduced penalties. You may be charged for the sale of drugs but it may be possible to bring this down to a charge for possession.

Fighting your drug charges is the only way that you can avoid severe penalties such as:

  • Jail time
  • Steep fines
  • Probation

Talk to a Pasadena drug lawyer and start building your defense today.

California Drug Laws

Drug crimes can vary significantly in the severity of a charge. There are a few aspects that go into deciding how a charge should be made. The first is the type of drug that a person is found to have on them. More damaging drugs, such as cocaine, can come at a higher cost. Next is the amount of the drug that is found in possession. The higher the weight of drugs found, the more the penalties will increase. Another factor that will be extremely important is the type of action with which the drugs are used. In the state it is illegal to possess, distribute, manufacture or cultivate an illicit substance.

Types of Drug Crimes and Penalties in CA

Possession accounts for being found with any form of an illicit substance and having the item knowingly. It is a felony charge to have serious narcotics such as heroin or crack in possession under Health & Safety Code 11350. This can lead to charges of up to three years in a state prison, but there is the possibility of seeking alternative programs instead of serving a sentence. It is an even more serious crime under the Health and Safety Code 11351 HS to have drugs in your possession for the purpose of selling them. Possession may be having the drugs physically with your, having access to them or having joint possession of them with another person.

Since it is not likely that a suspect is going to be the one to say if they planned to sell the drugs they had or not, police can jump to the conclusion themselves and it is not always the right one. They may do this when certain factors are present, such as large sums of cash, scales, a high amount of drugs, people coming in and out of a house or baggies that could be used to separate the drugs. This crime is considered a felony and can result in up to four years in prison and $20,000 in fines. Even having drug paraphernalia can lead to criminal charges.

Sale and Transportation

The sale or transportation of a controlled substance is outlined under Health & Safety Code 11352 HS. This includes selling for profit, giving away, importing or transporting any drugs in the state. These charges are a felony and can lead to up to five years in prison and $20,000 in fines. For those that are found to have transported the drugs over more than two county lines, the penalties can be increased. They will also be elevated when aggravating factors are involved, such as conducting the illegal activity within 1,000 feet from a homeless shelter or treatment center for drugs.

Manufacturing is considered a felony under Health & Safety Code 11379.6 HS. Those that can be tried for this crime will have needed to actually begun the process of creating the controlled substance, rather than only have prepared to do so. A conviction can lead to up to seven years on prison, and this will be elevated if someone is harmed or killed from the manufacturing, or it is done in an area where children are nearby.

Arrested for a drug crime? Contact our Pasadena drug crime attorney to start your defense today!