Drug Crimes

Do You Need the Help of an Experienced Drug Crimes Attorney in California?

Facing drug crimes is difficult. If you were caught with drugs on you or under the influence of drugs, then it might seem impossible to defend yourself. It might seem that pleading guilty is the best option. It is not. Your best option is to talk to an experienced drug crimes attorney who can review your case and offer you the advice you need on how to proceed.

The Seriousness of Drug Crimes is Based on the Classification of the Drug

The Federal government classifies drugs into schedules. Which schedule a drug is classified into will determine how serious the state takes these charges, the penalty you are likely to face, and other issues. The schedules are as follows:

  • Schedule I. With no “legitimate medical use,” Schedule I drugs are considered highly addictive and are the most dangerous of all drugs, according to the federal government. Examples include heroin, LSD, mescaline, and yes, despite the fact that it is legal in California, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug at the federal level.
  • Schedule II. These are drugs that the government considers might have a legitimate medical use but are highly abused and very addictive. Examples include cocaine, opium, amphetamines, methadone, and methamphetamines.
  • Schedule III. Drugs with a moderate risk of abuse/addiction and that are determined to be less dangerous, according to the federal government are classified as Schedule III. These include ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, and specific depressants.
  • Schedule IV. Accepted for medical use and considered to be only mildly addictive, Schedule IV drugs include clonazepam, tranquilizers, and sedatives.
  • Schedule V. Considered neither highly addictive nor likely to be abused, Schedule V includes Tylenol with codeine and other similar prescription drugs.

The drug schedules are created by the federal government and might not reflect the ways in which the state classifies various drugs, such as marijuana.

The Many Types of Drug Crimes

Broadly speaking, drug crimes in California are generally in one of two categories: possession and transportation for sale. There are other crimes that fall under these categories, such as:

With the recent passing of Proposition 47 in California, simple drug possession can now only be charged as an infraction, or misdemeanor depending on the type and amount of drugs that you possess. When possession is tied with the sale or cultivation of drugs or other criminal intentions (possession with intent to distribute), the penalties are much harsher and are categorized as felony drug crimes.

  • Drug possession
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • DUI of drugs
  • Sale/transportation of drugs
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Prescription fraud

This is far from an exhaustive list of drug crimes but these are the most common examples. At Simmons Wagner, LLP we can help with these and other types of drug crimes.

Potential Penalties for Drug Crimes in California

Due to Proposition 47, which passed in November 2014, the potential penalties for many drug crimes have been significantly reduced compared to what they were a decade ago. That said, the sentence a person will be given will vary based on their criminal history, the specifics of the crime, the schedule of the drug, and other factors.

You can contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 to get specifics on the particular charge you are facing or likely to face in your specific situation. The basic potential penalties are as follows:

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Due to the passage of Proposition 36 more than 20 years ago, most people charged with possession of a controlled substance are eligible to take part in a diversion program. Prop 47 reduced this charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. In most cases, the maximum penalty for possession of a controlled substance is one year in county jail and fines of up to $1,000.

Possession for Sale of Controlled Substances

The law considers possession for the purpose of sale to be a much more serious crime. This charge does not come with the option of diversion re: Prop 36. The maximum sentence for this crime is up to four years in state prison but sentencing enhancements can make it even longer.

Transportation of a Controlled Substance

California law makes it illegal to sell, administer, furnish, or transport controlled substances. This is a felony that can result in three to five years in state prison. Note that this does not always involve large drug operations – it can be as simple as a person who sells a few leftover pain pills to a friend.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Possession of anything that the state considers to be an item used for injection or smoking a controlled substance can lead to a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Examples include hypodermic needles, cocaine spoons, pipes, or bongs. The maximum sentence is up to six months in county jail, though many people charged with this crime are eligible for a Prop 36 diversion program.

Call Today for a Specialized Defense to Drug Charges in California

There are many potential defense options to these charges. In some cases, the police acted unlawfully in their search and seizure and we may be able to show the judge why any evidence they gathered should not be allowed in court.

We can also challenge the classification of an alleged crime. For example, if you are charged for drug possession with intent to sell, we might challenge the amount of drugs found, which could change the way you are charged. We might challenge the connections the prosecution is making between money, visitors, and packages. We provide a customized defense for each case and invite you to contact us at (949) 439-5857 now for your consultation.