San Diego Drug Possession Attorney
Whether it be for fun or profit, it is illegal under California law to use, possess, possess with the intent to sell, transport, or even give away any drug classified as a controlled substance including, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, among others. How serious a particular drug case is depends upon the amount possessed, the type of drug possessed, and the reason for the possession. Possession of a small amount of drugs for personal use will most likely be treated lightly. On the other hand, manufacturing or transporting pounds of a drug like methamphetamine or cocaine will be treated harshly.
A first-time offense of simple possession generally requires that the offender pay a fine, perform public work service, attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, and be placed on informal probation for a period of three years. First time offenders charged with being under the influence face a mandatory minimum of ninety days in jail, work furlough, or possibly residential drug rehabilitation, as well as fines, public work service, and NA meetings.
However, first-time offenders for both possession and under the influence crimes may participate in a drug diversion program in which the offender pleads guilty to possession or being under the influence of drugs and participates in a three month drug education program. If the offender successfully completes the diversion classes and does not violate any other laws in an eighteen-month period following the initial guilty plea, he or she will be entitled to have the charges dismissed and any arrest record erased. In an effort to recognize that drug offenders need help rather than punishment, under California law, even those on probation or parole for a non-violent felony offense may still qualify for probation in a case involving simple possession or transportation.
First-time offenders charged with possession for sale and transportation of a controlled substance face more serious consequences than first time offenders for simple possession and under the influence crimes. Possession of large quantities of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and other illegal drugs are almost always charged with intent to sell allegations. Unfortunately, these felony crimes cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Further, first time offenders charged with possession with intent to sell are ineligible for drug diversion and will very likely serve a substantial sentence in county jail, county work furlough program, or, in more severe cases, state prison. Without skillful legal representation, repeat offenders are looking at state prison sentences.
Transportation of a large quantity of controlled substances and direct sales of drugs, are just as serious crimes as possession with intent to sell. Without skillful legal representation, even first-time offenders may face state prison time.
A skilled lawyer should be able to review the facts and determine rather quickly how to approach any drug case. Often, the prosecution’s case is flawed by weak or circumstantial evidence or there may be a potential illegal search issue. An experienced attorney will be able to use this potential flaw as leverage to negotiate a better deal involving a shorter prison term.
Attorney Stephen G. Cline has been practicing criminal defense for 20 years. His reputation and experience will be the key to the aggressive defense of your Drug Possession or Use charges. Call today at (619) 235-5638 to discuss your specific case!