When it comes to drug crimes, California has some of the harshest penalties in the United States. Couple that with the state's Three Strikes policy, and an Orange County drug charge could get you in hot water very quickly.
Having a drug crime conviction appearing on your criminal record can significantly affect your future. It will appear on background reports for employment, professional licenses, and potential security clearances. And the truth is, any drug-related offenses will put you in a bad light, if not prohibit you from pursuing employment and licensing opportunities.
However, an experienced defense attorney can help you avoid all of that. Learn more about how our drug defense attorneys can help you defend your rights, and reach out to us to schedule a case consultation.
At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we fight for our clients, protect their rights, and ensure they have the best possible outcome for their cases. Our experienced, knowledgeable legal team is aggressive where it counts but compassionate in helping you get the legal representation you need and deserve.
No one should have to walk into the courtroom alone or without a top-notch attorney at their side. When you choose us, we will assign you a drug crimes attorney who will stand by you from the beginning of your case until the end. We will walk you through each step of your case, making sure that you understand each part. We will discuss every legal move we make on your case so that you are a part of the decision-making process. We will spend time with you, answer your questions, and discuss your legal options so you can move forward fully informed.
If you are confronting criminal charges for drugs, call us first. Schedule a free consultation so we can go over your case with you and explain your drug charges as well as potential consequences. Then if you choose to allow us to represent you, we will give you the same personal attention that we give to all of our clients. And we will work tirelessly to represent you.
California's Proposition 47 is a voter-approved initiative on the November 2014 ballot. It reduced specified low-level drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Non-violent property crimes, where the value is not greater than $950, have been made into misdemeanors. Other crimes that have been reduced from felonies to misdemeanors include certain forgeries, bad check crimes, commercial burglary, certain grand theft crimes, and possessions.
If you have never had a previous drug conviction, you could be eligible for California's PC 1000. If you are able to complete this program successfully, you will be eligible to have your charges dismissed. This is a great opportunity for those accused of a drug crime to apply for education, treatment, and rehabilitation instead of incarceration. We can work with you to see if this is an option for your case.
California Proposition 36 is an initiative for criminal sentencing. Non-violent drug offenders, if eligible, are not sent to prison or jail but instead to a drug treatment program. The laws determining who is or is not eligible for the program are very complex. Your defense attorney can work with you to determine if you qualify.
Several laws under the California Health and Safety Code govern drug crimes, including drug possession, possession of controlled substances, possession with intent to sell, transportation for sale of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Drug charges that can still be charged as felonies are often charged to the fullest extent possible as prosecutors crack down on drug crimes in order to set an example and discourage other drug-related crimes in the state.
This crackdown has also resulted in a number of programs that are designed to help people overcome addiction. Some sentences include a requirement for the defendant to get involved with a drug treatment program or sometimes drug diversion programs. Many see this as a very beneficial step in the right direction.
Several Orange County drug crimes are common in the area. Some of these are quite serious.
Drug possession is typically based on the amount of the substance and possible intent to distribute it. All simple possession charges are now misdemeanors under California's Prop 47. It does not matter what schedule drug you might be charged with possessing.
Drug possession with intent to distribute in California is a serious offense that refers to the possession of controlled substances in quantities or under circumstances that suggest the individual intends to sell or distribute them rather than merely possessing them for personal use. The exact penalties vary depending on someone’s prior criminal record, but it could include multiple years in prison.
Under California law, it is illegal to manufacture or cultivate illegal substances. The law covers every point of the drug manufacturing process, from compounding ingredients to mixing a final product. Growing marijuana is also covered. A person 21 years or older can legally grow as many as six marijuana plants in their home. More than that amount is illegal and can incur drug charges.
Unlawful possession of a controlled substance covers prescription and illegal medications. It is illegal to have any usable amount of a controlled substance in your possession. If the substance is a prescription, it must be in your name. It is also against the law to sell prescription drugs even if they are prescribed to you. You also cannot give them away to someone else.
The penalties for drug crimes in Orange County can be pretty steep. For example, you could be charged with a misdemeanor if you have prescription painkillers on your person that have not been prescribed to you. Even a misdemeanor drug possession conviction carries a maximum of 364 days in jail.
Now, under Prop 47, all simple possession cases are charged as misdemeanors, not felonies. It does not matter what schedule the drug is, as long as it was charged as simple possession or another crime impacted by Prop 47.
On the other hand, some drug crimes can still be charged as a felony. For example, certain forms of drug trafficking under HS 11352 can still be charged as a felony. A conviction under this statute could lead to thousands of dollars in fines and multiple years in jail. Past felony drug convictions, having a gun while possessing the drugs, and prior strikes can also lead to sentence enhancements. For these reasons, it is critical to reach out to an experienced Orange County drug crimes lawyer as soon as possible.
Felony drug charges can carry fines of up to $10,000 and may or may not include jail or prison. Misdemeanor drug crimes can incur a maximum fine of $1,000.
The imprisonment penalty for a misdemeanor drug crime is up to 364 days in jail. Felony drug crimes can be much harsher. These crimes carry sentences that are more than a year and can be three, five, or ten years in prison. In some cases, depending on the circumstances of the case, the prison sentence can be much longer, including life.
A person who is convicted of a non-violent drug crime can be placed on probation. This probation can be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the terms of the case. The probation period can last for a year or longer and typically requires completing a drug treatment program.
To complete the forfeiture of assets, the person usually must have a criminal conviction. However, if the defendant fails to appear for the appointed hearing, the forfeiture can proceed without conviction. Property that the government can seize includes anything that is connected to the crime. This can include equipment used to manufacture or distribute, substances needed for making the drug, and gains from drug trafficking or sale.
Most drug crimes may seem to be pretty straightforward. If you have an illegal drug on your person, you get arrested and go to jail. Simple as that.
The truth is, drug crimes are very rarely cut-and-dry situations. Many elements can go into it, and it is your defense attorney's job to tease out those elements and build your defense strategy.
Some of the more common drug crime defenses include the following:
Constructive possession is when you do not have the drug in your direct possession. However, it was where you could reasonably have control over it. For example, you don't have any drugs on you, but there is marijuana in the console of your vehicle. The question then becomes, is it really yours? The burden of proof that it is yours lies on the shoulders of the prosecution. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands how to question the prosecution's case and put forth the strongest possible defense.
If the police want to search your property, they need a warrant, consent, or probable cause. If they do not have a warrant and search your property anyway, they could be guilty of illegal search and seizure. Any evidence that is collected during that illegal search is not admissible in court. Count on an experienced attorney who can defend your rights and protect you against the consequences of an illegal search and seizure.
A violation of constitutional rights can include failure to advise the defendant of his right to an attorney and remain silent. Other violations can include denying the defendant access to their attorney or trying to coerce the defendant into talking and incriminating themselves. We have an in-depth understanding of your rights and can challenge any potential violation of them.
Sophisticated equipment is used to analyze substances and identify them. If law enforcement analyzes the substances incorrectly, improperly identifying something as a controlled substance when it is not, this can lead to the case being dropped. You need an attorney who understands how this equipment works, what has to be done to take proper care of it, and can challenge the results if they are unreliable.
There are countless defenses that we can formulate to provide you with the strongest possible defense. The sooner you reach out to us, the better we can control the narrative of your case. Give us a call today to schedule a case consultation.
If you are facing a drug crime conviction in orange county for controlled substances, you need an experienced, knowledgeable, talented criminal defense attorney on your side. Call The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia today for your free consultation. Once you sign with us, we will work tirelessly to represent you and make sure that you have the best possible outcome for your case.
We will stand with you and walk you through each step, ensuring that you understand each phase of your case so that you can make informed decisions. Call today, and let us work for you.
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