What You Need to Know About Drug Crimes
Ever since the federal government declared “war on drugs,” the penalties for narcotics crimes have been steep. In fact, California led the nation in jail time for drug offenders throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Possession of drugs (or drug paraphernalia) can be a felony, misdemeanor, or an infraction in California depending on the amount and type of drugs you may possess. Possessing large amounts of drugs, or cultivating or selling drugs, is more likely to be a felony with serious penalties attached.
Minor drug possession charges can be charged as an infraction (including charges for possession of marijuana) or can be punishable with jail time and fines, as well as suspension of your driver’s license.
However, in California, nonviolent drug offenders may have alternatives to jail time and being left with a criminal record. When you hire an experienced criminal defense law firm they can inform you whether your case may qualify for drug diversion or “drug court”.
Drug diversion programs allow those persons accused of more minor drug offenses to be considered for what is called “alternative disposition” in their case. These people approved for drug programs receive treatment instead of jail time. The clients must appear in person or through their lawyer at regular intervals before the court to show their progress in the drug program.
People accused of possessing large amounts of drugs, cultivating or manufacturing drugs, or selling drugs are not generally eligible for Drug Court or diversion. However, Wallin & Klarich drug crime defense attorneys have had significant success in getting diversion or Drug Court for clients accused of cultivation and sales. In more serious drug cases the prosecution will often be asking the court to sentence the defendant to prison.
Under California’s “Three Strikes Law” if you have two prior “strike” prior convictions you may be facing 25 years to life as a possible sentence if you are prosecuted for a new felony drug offense.
When you hire Wallin & Klarich to represent you in your drug case we will always look behind the charges to see if there are legal motions that may be brought to have your charges dismissed. Even if you were caught in possession of drugs, the circumstances leading to that charge may not have been legal. Did the police have probable cause to search you, your car or your home? If not, we may be able to have the judge throw out this illegally obtained evidence, leading to a dismissal of charges.
In many other drug cases there is a major issue as to who had “control” or “ownership” of the drugs found. Even if you were found in a vehicle where drugs may have been found the prosecution must prove that you had “dominion and control” over the drugs and knew the “nature of the substance” found in the automobile was in fact illegal narcotics.
With more than 30 years of experience defending clients facing drug charges in California, we have the skills and knowledge to help you get the best outcome. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.