California has very strict drug laws that hold high penalties. Prosecutors are not worried about drug dealers, and have no problem putting them behind bars. You do not want to be one of these people. If you’re smart, you’ll do your best to avoid jail time at all costs.
Yet, if you do find yourself in this situation for any reason, you want to hire the best criminal defense attorney out there. A good attorney will be able to help mitigate your sentence, and make sure you are not penalized more than necessary for your situation. This is a very serious crime, but if you are in this situation, consider hiring an attorney with experience in this area of the law.
* Possession – The law describes these drug possession charges as being within your control. This can mean it is in your hand or in your pocket, but it extends to other situations as well. In your control could mean sitting next to you, in your car, or at home. Depending on your situation, your attorney can argue that you did not have possession, and it is the prosecutor’s job to prove that you did.
* Intent to sell – The prosecutor has to prove that when you had drugs on you, you had the intention to sell them. The easiest way is if an officer saw you selling it, or was undercover and you sold it to him or her. Yet, there are other indications. For example, the amount of drugs within your possession, the activities surrounding the situation such as people constantly coming and going from your place and only staying a short time, and paraphernalia including packaging materials, scales, weapons and anything else that shows a business being run. This is all evidence pointing to intent to sell, and it is your attorney’s job to dispute these incidents.
* Possession for personal use – Depending on the evidence, you can try to prove that the drugs in your possession were for personal use only, and you did not intend to sell them. Provided the evidence points this way, this can lead to a reduced charge.
* Entrapment – This is much more difficult. This occurs when the police push you into the crime without you having any personal say of your own. This does not mean tricking you, as long as you had a choice to say no, generally it is not entrapment. It can be argued though in your defense.
* Not in your possession – If you were visiting someone’s home or the drugs were not yours, and then your attorney can argue that to get your charges dropped or reduced.
The penalty you will face if convicted of possession with the intent to sell will vary depending on the type of drug, the activities involved, your previous criminal record, and anything that is allowable by California state law.
– You may receive felony sentencing of three to five years.
– If you moved the drugs from one county to another, then your sentence can be increased to three to nine years.
– If you involve minors in any way, sentences can range from three to nine years.
– You may receive a sentencing enhancement if any sale activities occur within 1,000 feet of schools, school-related programs, or playgrounds during operational hours.
– Felony sale of marijuana over one ounce leads to two, three or four years’ imprisonment.
– Selling chemicals used as ingredients to manufacture PCP and methamphetamine or the drugs themselves can carry a sentence of sixteen months to six years.
– For all drug sale crimes, there are increase sentences if you have prior offenses.
The Three Strike Rule
In California, a drug felony is considered a strike under the Three Strike Rule. This rule states that if you commit three felonies considered in the rule, then it carries an automatic twenty four to life prison sentence. Are you willing to risk this? If not contact an attorney to see if your case can be mitigated down to a misdemeanor or if there is evidence showing you did not have the intent to sell.
Contact an attorney to represent you in these cases.