Los Angeles Cocaine Possession Lawyer
The use, possession, and sale of cocaine are not only frowned upon, but it is also illegal. If you are caught with a small baggy of cocaine in your pocket or you are picked up at a party where cocaine was also found, you could face serious repercussions, requiring legal defense from an experienced local Los Angeles cocaine possession attorney familiar with California drug laws.
Whether you face a misdemeanor or felony, a drug conviction would put a permanent black mark on your record. In addition to statutory penalties like jail time, fines, and drug counseling, you may experience a wide range of secondary consequences such as getting turned down for colleges, jobs, rental housing, and loans. A drug conviction could also lead to immigration issues.
To avoid the harsh ramifications of a drug conviction, contact a Los Angeles cocaine possession lawyer from Spolin Law P.C. right away. Call us at (310) 424-5816.
Possession of Cocaine in California
Under California Health and Safety Code §11350, it is unlawful for you to possess any Schedule I or II controlled substance or any Schedule III, IV, or V substance that is a narcotic drug unless you have a valid prescription from a licensed medical professional.
Cocaine is a schedule II drug, which means it is among the controlled substances that are considered to have a high risk for dependence and abuse and have very limited accepted medical use in the U.S. Cocaine is not available in a prescription, which means there is no reason for you to ever have it. If you are caught with any amount of cocaine on your person, in your vehicle, or where you live, you are likely going to face criminal charges.
What is Possession of Cocaine?
If you are charged with possessing a usable amount of cocaine, you need to contact a Los Angeles cocaine possession lawyer right away. Whether or not you had possession of the drugs may be the real question in your case. You and your attorney may put forth the defense that you did not possess the drug. If you can firmly establish this in court, then a judge or jury may acquit you of the charges.
- Actual Possession — You probably think of possession as having something on your person. You possess your wallet when you are holding it, when it is in your pocket, or when it is in your purse or bag that you carry. This is known as actual possession.
- Constructive Possession — This can be less obvious than actual possession, which makes it difficult to argue against. With constructive possession, the drugs only have to be in a place you have easy access to or in a place that is within or under your control. If you chose to, you could retrieve the cocaine from this place and have actual possession of it. For instance, cocaine that is in the glove compartment of your car may be yours through constructive possession. Or drugs hidden in a locker at work or the gym could be yours under the theory of constructive possession.
- Joint Possession — During joint possession, you and at least one other person have actual and/or constructive possession of drugs.
If you are being accused of possessing drugs that were not yours, or you believe were not in your actual or constructive possession, do not hesitate to contact a local cocaine possession attorney in Los Angeles right away.
Penalties for Cocaine Possession After Proposition 47
Proposition 47 was passed by California voters in November 2014, and the changes it made to criminal charges and punishments for drug possession went into effect at the beginning of 2015. Since then, possession of a controlled substance like cocaine is typically charged as a misdemeanor. For a first offense, you can be punished with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
However, Proposition 47 does not apply to all situations. If you are a registered sex offender or have a past conviction for a serious violent crime, then you may face a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you need to contact a cocaine possession lawyer at Spolin Law P.C. When facing a felony, we will do everything we can to have the charges reduced, exonerate you in court, or minimize the potential penalties upon conviction. We will work equally as hard for you when you are charged with a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor drug offense is still a serious crime and we will fight for you to avoid having it on your record.
Diversion Programs for Cocaine Possession
When you are facing a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge, speak with a drug crimes lawyer about the possibility of entering into a diversion program. Some drug diversion programs help you avoid a criminal conviction entirely while others help you reduce the punishment upon conviction.
If you are a non-violent, first-time drug offender, speak with a cocaine possession lawyer about going through a treatment program and completing education requirements in exchange for a dismissal of the criminal charges. This is known as deferred entry of judgment (DEJ). However, you must fully complete the program to the court’s satisfaction. If you drop out or violate any condition of the program then a guilty verdict will be entered in your case and you can be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
If you are on a second or subsequent non-violent drug offense, you may be able to take advantage of Proposition 36. After your conviction is entered into the court, you attend 12 months of drug rehabilitation instead of going to jail. Your time in treatment may be extended and you may also have to abide by the terms of probation.
Additionally, depending on the county in which you are charged, there may be a drug court that offers other alternatives to conviction or incarceration. To learn more about California diversion programs for drug charges, call a cocaine possession attorney today.
Possession With Intent to Sell
Under California Health and Safety Code §11351, it is illegal to possess controlled substances for sale or to purchase them to sell. You may want to argue that there is no way the police or a prosecutor could know whether you intended to sell drugs or not. While it is true that no one can see into your internal thoughts, law enforcement and prosecutors look at a number of factors to determine whether cocaine was possessed for personal use or was meant to be sold to others, including:
- The amount of the drugs obtained by the police
- How the drug was packaged, such as whether they were individually wrapped or bagged for personal use
- Whether one or more scales were found at the same location
- Whether large amounts of cash were found at the same location
- Whether there is evidence that more people than normal came to the location
- Whether multiple cell phones were found in your possession
If you are accused of possessing cocaine with the intent to sell, you will be charged with a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. You need to call a Los Angeles cocaine possession lawyer right away to learn how to protect your rights and defend yourself.
Defending Against Possession of Cocaine
If you are being charged with possessing cocaine for personal use or for sale, call the Los Angeles criminal defense law firm, Spolin Law P.C., as soon as you can. We will thoroughly investigate the case against you and determine the strongest possible defenses. Depending on your situation, we may argue:
- You did not have possession of the drug
- There was not a usable amount of the drug
- You lacked knowledge of the presence of the drug
- Someone else placed the drug in your home or vehicle intentionally
- You lacked knowledge that the substance was an illegal drug
- Law enforcement conducted an illegal search and seizure
Contact Our Los Angeles Cocaine Possession Attorneys Today
You do not have to face cocaine possession charges alone. We are here to protect your rights and fight for you. Once a criminal defense lawyer from Spolin Law P.C. is on your case, you have a legal advocate reviewing every piece of evidence, determining your strongest defenses, and guiding you through the legal justice system. We will explain all of your legal options, including potential diversion programs, plea deals, or defending yourself in court. With your understanding and agreement, we will fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
To learn more about how we can help, call a Los Angeles cocaine possession lawyer from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free consultation.