Drug Crimes

Los Angeles Drug Crimes Lawyer

Los Angeles Drug Crime Attorney

 

DRUG CRIMES DEFENDED WITH AN EYE TOWARDS PROTECTING YOUR RECORD!

HOW SERIOUS IS IT IF YOU HAVE A DRUG CASE PENDING AGAINST YOU IN LOS ANGELES?

The answer to this question is of course that it depends on the circumstances of a particular case.  If you are charged with selling, possessing to sell, transporting for purposes of selling, or manufacturing drugs, it is very serious situation that will require you getting a seasoned attorney to defend you.  If on the other hand, you are charged with simple possession for your own personal use, it is not as serious and there are many programs that can be utilized to protect your record.  Law enforcement, the prosecutors and judges in the Los Angeles courthouses are much harsher on those individuals that are charged with selling drugs.  The reason for this appears to be the many issues surrounding the sale and use of drugs that damage society. From addiction to theft and violence, the sale of drugs plays a key role in many crimes. The criminal defense attorney you choose to represent you is in the best position to make the arguments on your behalf that will make a difference and get you out of the criminal system as soon as possible.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE WHETHER SOMEONE WILL BE CONVICTED OF SALES VERSUS POSSESSION OF DRUGS?

Many of the drug cases that we handle day in and day out revolve around the police claiming that the client is selling or possessing to sell and the client indicating that they were not selling, but instead possessed the subject narcotics for their own personal use. There are a number of different factors that judges and juries look at in determining who is correct. If the person found with the narcotics has a scale (to weigh drugs), baggies (to distribute drugs), cash (from drug sales), multiple different types of drugs, multiple cell phones, pay and owes (this is a list of people who purportedly owe them money for drugs) and text messages that support the sale of narcotics, then obviously the prosecutors / police will have a strong case against them. If, on the other hand, some or all of the above indicators of sales are absent, then the defense will be able to prevail. What will usually be the deciding factor, in addition to the strength of the case, is the defense attorneys ability to win a criminal case and litigate the facts most favorable to his or her client.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON WAYS THAT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ARE ABLE TO WIN DRUG CASES IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY COURTS?

Over the course of the past 25 years of litigating drug cases in Los Angeles, I have seen many cases dismissed and believe that I have a good feel for some of the most common reasons why. One big reason that a drug case will be dismissed is because the police illegally stopped and search a person. Each of us is protected by the United States Constitution from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. This basically means that the police can not just stop you and search you because they feel like it. They must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot in order to stop a person on the street or in a vehicle. This is one of the big areas that drug crime cases can be attacked by a savvy criminal defense attorney. Of course the police and prosecutors do not cooperate in the defense of a case. Therefore you must find a criminal defense attorney that knows search and seizure law, has experience in the court that your case is pending and has the skill to win a case that should be won!

Another big area that is ripe to attack the prosecutor’s case relates to search warrants for a person’s home. There are certain rules that must be complied with before a person’s home can be searched by the police. An affidavit must be submitted by the police under penalty of perjury indicating what information they have that establishes that if the judge grants the search warrant, the police are likely to find something illegal in the place to be searched. There are issues of “staleness” of the information provided to the police. In other words, how long ago did the police get the subject information. Also, the use of informants is another area that is litigated everyday in the Los Angeles court system. Depending on the information that the informant gives (these people are sometimes referred to as “confidential informants”) there are motions that can be filed by prepared criminal defense attorneys that can destroy the prosecution’s case.

If you have a criminal case and you believe that you were illegally stopped or searched, please set an appointment to meet with me and we can discuss your options.

WHAT HAS PROPOSITION 47 DONE TO THE LANDSCAPE OF DRUG OFFENSES?

Proposition 47 has definitely changed the political landscape for those that are arrested for offenses that fall under this umbrella.  Many people that were once being shipped to prison for the offenses covered by Proposition 47 are now able to avoid such harsh treatment.  The legislature and powers that be finally determined that a major reason our prisons were so full was because many drug offenders were using time and time again and eventually ended up in prison.

Those individuals that have possession cases and petty theft type offenses are able to avoid major punishment because of the passage of Proposition 47.  However, it does not help persons charged with more serious crimes like strike offenses or drug sales cases.  If you think you fall under it’s provision then your best bet is to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

WHAT IF I HAVE A SALES, POSSESSION FOR SALES OR TRANSPORTATION CASE IN LOS ANGELES?

These type of drug offenses are taken much more seriously in Los Angeles than simple possession for your own personal use cases. There is a policy in drugs sales cases in Los Angeles that the offender will go to jail. The question is simply how long? Hence, having an attorney that has been in the trenches on these type of cases for years specifically in Los Angeles is all important! Any attorney can put together a slick website or claim that they are great because they used to be a prosecutor. However, there are very few attorneys that can actually walk the walk. You must sit down face to face with the prospective attorney to really get a true feel for whether they have what it takes to represent you.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SIMPLE POSSESSION AND SALES OR POSSESSION FOR SALES OF DRUGS?

This a often times a very debated question when it comes to drug cases, because depending on the factual situation, there could be arguments on both sides as to whether a person is selling drugs or just possessing them for their own personal use.  If there is a true issue related to possession versus sales, then the person that is charged should immediately seek the help of a seasoned criminal defense attorney that has practiced in the Los Angeles Court system for a long time.

The types of things that law enforcement and prosecutors will look at is whether the person was actually seen selling drugs. Or whether the person was in possession of a large quantity of drugs verses a smaller amount. Did the person have scales to weigh the drugs, multiple cell phones, a large amount of cash and pays and owes (these are lists of drug clients that owe the dealer money). Most of the evaluation is a common sense type of assessment. As you may guess though, it is not an exact science. Therefore who you have as your defense attorney makes a huge difference in the result you receive.

If the person is guilty of simple possession, they usually have the ability to get certain programs that can protect their record and keep them out of jail.  If, on the other hand, they are guilty of possession for sales, transportation of drugs or sales of drugs in Los Angeles they with usually be looking at jail time, even on a first offense.  If it is a second sales offense, they will definitely be facing prison time in just about every court in Los Angeles County.

To be guilty of Sale, Transportation or Possession for Sales the prosecutors must prove:

1)  The defendant sold or furnished or administered or gave away or transported or imported a controlled substance.  This element speaks about the various circumstances that a person can deal with drugs.  Interestingly, if a person gives drugs to a friend, that is charged as though they sold it to a stranger.  The drug laws are much harsher on the seller than the user of drugs.

2)  The defendant knew of its presence.  This element requires that a person actually knew that the controlled substance was at the specific location that it was found. For example, if it is hidden in a car that does not belong to the defendant, then there may be a good argument that he or she had no idea what they were transporting and therefore can not be convicted of the crime.

3)  The defendant knew of the substances’s nature or character as a controlled substance.  This element seems to be there to protect an innocent that ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time.  There are some circumstances where a person has no idea of what they are dealing with.

4)  The controlled substance has to be a usable amount.  So, if the illegal substance is of such a small amount, that no one could actually use it as a drug, that person can not be charged with the possession or sale of that drug.  An example of this would be some residue that is found on a glass smoking pipe.

Health and Saf. Code 11352, 11379 – Sale and Transportation of Controlled Substance

A party can be charged with the sale and transportation of a controlled substance if the government can prove that…
1. The party sold/furnished/administered/gave away/transported/imported into CA a controlled substance;
2. The party knew of its presence; AND
3. The party knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance.

A party can be charged with offering to sell or transport a controlled substance as long as they had the intent to sell/transport.

Health and Saf. Code 11351, 11351.5, 11378, 11378.5 – Possession for Sale of Controlled Substance

A party can be found for Possession for Sale of Controlled Substance if the government can prove…

1. The party unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;
2. The party knew of its presence;
3. The party knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
4. When the party possessed the controlled substance, they intended to sell it;
5. The controlled substance was in a usable amount.

Health and Saf. Code 11350, 11377 – Simple Possession of Controlled Substance

A party can be found for Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance if the government can prove…

1. The party unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;
2. The party knew of its presence;
3. The party knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
4. The controlled substance was in a usable amount.