Los Angeles Drug Attorney
If you have been accused of or arrested for a drug crime, the first things you need to do are to invoke your right to remain silent and contact an attorney. Whenever you are facing criminal charges, you need to get a Los Angeles drug lawyer on your side.
At Spolin Law P.C., an attorney will protect your rights throughout every step of the criminal justice process. We will look for the holes in the prosecutor’s case against you and determine how to respond to increase the chances of obtaining the best possible outcome. We may negotiate with the prosecutors to reduce or have your charges dropped, file a motion to dismiss, negotiate a plea bargain, utilize drug diversion programs, or fight for an acquittal in court.
Whatever the specific goal, you can trust Los Angeles attorney Aaron Spolin to fight hard for you. Contact Spolin Law P.C. online, or call (310) 424-5816 to schedule your free, confidential consultation and to learn more through a criminal defense lawyer.
California Controlled Substances Act
California’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act is found in the state’s Health and Safety Code (HSC) Sections 11000-11651. Within this act are statutes defining and organizing illegal drugs by severity. There are six schedules of controlled substances, and the schedule for the drug you are accused of using, possessing, selling, transporting, or manufacturing may matter to the charge brought against you and the potential penalty.
- Schedule I – Heroin, mescaline, peyote, opiates, and marijuana
- Schedule II – Cocaine, opium, morphine, meth, and numerous narcotics
- Schedule III – Anabolic steroids and many depressants
- Schedule IV – Diazepam, barbital, and other prescriptions
- Schedule V – Medications with low amounts of codeine, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
Schedule I and II drugs are considered the most addictive and dangerous, and they do not have any currently accepted medical uses (other than marijuana). Schedule IV and V are the least addictive controlled substances and many of them are available in prescriptions.
Common California Drug Charges
At Spolin Law P.C., a drug attorney will handle all types drug crime charges. Some of the most common offenses we handle include:
Medical and recreational marijuana are now legal in California, which means there are certain situations in which you can possess specific amounts or types of cannabis products without fear of criminal charges. However, not all marijuana possession and cultivation is legal. If you possess more than eight grams of concentrated cannabis, more than one ounce of marijuana, or marijuana or edibles with the intent to sell, you will usually face misdemeanor charges.
Prescription Drug Crimes
Prescription drugs should only be possessed and used by the person they are prescribed for. If you are found to have illegally used, possessed, possessed for sale, or sold or transported (HSC Section 11352) prescription drugs, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges. The type and amount of the drug will dictate the level of the charge against you. You can also be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for prescription drug fraud.
Possession of Cocaine
Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance in California. Under HSC Section 11350, it is unlawful to possess any Schedule I or II drugs. If you are found in possession of any amount of cocaine, you will be charged with a crime. Typically, you will face a misdemeanor offense. However, if you have a serious violent crime on your record or you are a registered sex offender, you can be charged with a felony. If the police believe you possessed cocaine with the intent to sell it, then you will be charged with a felony.
Possession of Meth
Methamphetamines are highly addictive drugs that are entirely illegal. Per HSC Section 11377, you face a misdemeanor charge for possessing meth without a valid prescription. However, sex offender registration, a previous violent crime conviction, or possession with the intent to sell may lead to felony charges.
Possession of Drugs for Sale
The difference between drug possession and possession with intent to sell charges are significant. If you simply possess a small amount of an illegal substance, you are likely to face misdemeanor charges. If you possess an amount of a drug that indicates you were going to sell it to others, you will likely be charged with a felony. If the police believe you illegally sold, transported with the intent to sell, or offered to sell any controlled substance, you face years in jail or prison and thousands of dollars in fines. To avoid these harsh penalties, contact a Los Angeles drug attorney today.
If you are accused of illegally manufacturing controlled substances or prescription drugs, you need to contact a lawyer right away. Under HSC Section 11379.6, manufacturing drugs or offering to do so is a felony. If you have previous drug convictions on your record, you could have years added to your prison sentence.
If you are accused of planning to sell drugs with the help of at least one other person, this plot is a criminal offense. It is known as criminal conspiracy, and depending on the allegations against you, you could face serious state or federal charges.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Not only can you be charged with a crime for possessing illegal drugs, you can also face charges for knowingly possessing instruments or devices used to consume any illegal drug, including pipes, rolling papers, and needles (though there is an exception for hypodermic needles and syringes obtained from doctors, pharmacists, or a needle exchange program). HSC Section 11364(a) states you can be charged with a misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia possession.
In California, it is illegal to cultivate or manufacture controlled substances unless you are specifically licensed to do so. If you lack appropriate licensing, then the cultivation of illegal drugs will likely result in arrest and state or federal criminal charges.
Trafficking can begin with the manufacturing and cultivation of drugs, and it includes transporting drugs throughout California or the rest of the country, often crossing state borders. You can face California or federal drug trafficking charges even if you are not directly responsible for cultivating, manufacturing, transporting, distributing, or selling the drugs.
The U.S. has very strict laws regarding what can come into the country and how it can travel here.If you are accused of not complying with U.S. importation laws and illegally importing drugs into the country, then you can face federal drug charges.
Smuggling means to move drugs into or out of a country illegally. The penalties for smuggling narcotics can include lengthy prison sentences and vary depending on several factors like your criminal history, the type of narcotic and the quantity involved.
Alcohol is generally legal to purchase and consume if you are over 21 years old. However, if you are underage and found in possession of alcohol or trying to buy it, you can be charged with a crime. One of the most common alcohol-related offenses is driving under the influence (DUI). Most DUIs are misdemeanors. However, a fourth DUI within 10 years is a felony.
The statutory and collateral consequences for the above offenses are serious and can have a great effect on your life. For help in avoiding a drug crime conviction, call a drug attorney from Spolin Law P.C. today.
How Proposition 47 Changed Drug Crime Sentencing
Proposition 47 passed in California in 2014 and altered the charges for numerous crimes. Many non-violent, non-serious crimes were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, including drug possession for personal use. Thanks to Prop 47, if you are found in possession of a small amount of a controlled substance, you may only be charged with a misdemeanor, unless aggravating factors in your situation raise it to the level of a felony.
Statutory Penalties for California Drug Crimes
For a first-time possession of controlled substances (other than marijuana), you may be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Subsequent possession charges can lead to longer periods of incarceration and higher fines.
However, possession of a drug can be a felony if you are a registered sex offender or have a violent crime on your record. In this case, a felony possession charge may be punished with 16 months, two years, or three years of incarceration and fines. If you face a felony for possession with intent to sell, you may be imprisoned for two, three, or four years in prison in addition to hefty fines.
Marijuana penalties are structured differently. Many marijuana possession charges are misdemeanors, particularly if you had more than 28.5 grams. You will likely face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine if you’re found with more than this amount in your possession. However, you could also face felony marijuana possession charges if you sold or tried to sell the drugs to minors. If this is your situation, then you face up to five years in prison.
While some drug possession crimes may seem minor, there are many circumstances in which you may face a serious felony that is punishable with decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Not all drug crimes have become misdemeanors or low-level felonies. Also, certain enhancements can be used to increase your punishment by years in jail or prison. Prosecutors may utilize these enhancements if the prove certain circumstances exist.
Additionally, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony drug offense, you can also be sentenced to probation, community service, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, driver’s license suspension, and other penalties that make it difficult to return to your normal life.
To avoid these life-altering penalties, contact a drug attorney today for help. Call Spolin Law P.C. right away to learn how we can help.
Collateral Consequences of a Drug Conviction
Once you have a misdemeanor or felony drug offense on your permanent record, it can start to hold you back. It can put hurdles in your path that you would not have otherwise experienced. Some of the collateral consequences of a drug conviction include:
- Trouble getting into college or graduate school
- Ineligibility for federal student aid
- Difficulty finding and maintaining a job
- Ineligibility or difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses
- Ineligibility for housing assistance
- Trouble getting approved by landlords for rental housing
- Immigration issues
- Child custody issues
- Loss of gun ownership rights (for felony-level offenses)
The best way to avoid the statutory penalties and collateral consequences of a drug crime is to hire an experienced drug lawyer. An attorney from Spolin Law P.C. will fight for an outcome benefits you in the best way possible.
Defending Against Drug Charges
If you have been arrested or accused of a California drug offense, the first thing you should do is contact a Los Angeles drug attorney from Spolin Law P.C.. A lawyer will protect your rights through an investigation and any criminal proceedings. An experienced lawyer will also be able to review the specific facts of your case and determine the strongest possible defense that may result in the charges being reduced or dropped.
Possible defenses to drug crimes include:
- Unconstitutional Stop – The police cannot stop you on the street or while you are driving anytime they want. They must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, is currently being committed, or will soon be committed. If there is evidence that the police stopped you for no reason or for a discriminatory reason, we will use this to prove you were illegally stopped.
- Unconstitutional Search and Seizure – The U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable and warrantless searches and seizures. If the evidence against you was obtained illegally by the police, we will use this to have certain evidence ruled inadmissible in court.
- Lack of Possession – Prosecutors may argue you had actual, constructive, or joint possession of a drug. Our drug defense attorneys will argue that you lacked any possession of the drug.
- Entrapment – Proving entrapment is difficult. However, if there is evidence that you committed the offense due to coercive conduct by the police, then we may use entrapment as a defense.
Let a Los Angeles Drug Attorney Help You
When you are facing drug charges in Los Angeles, you need to realize how serious your situation is and the harsh consequences you will suffer if convicted. The best way to counter the charges is to hire a lawyer who is experienced in your type of case and who will aggressively protect your rights.
The drug attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. are former prosecutors and award-winning trial attorneys. Our lawyers know how prosecutors think and act. We are not afraid to go to trial, and we will never push you into a plea deal that is wrong for you.