Drug Related Offenses

Drug offenses are the most often used offenses in California and in most states in the Unites States. If you are charged with possession or sale of drugs, other than Marijuana, you are in a lot of trouble. You need an experienced attorney at law to fight for you. We at the Lee Law Group are ready to take on your defense and fight for you. We take you case to the prosecutor and go on the offensive giving you a better chance to either get your charges dismissed, be found “not-Guilty’, or obtain a sentence that involves no jail time. 

Police Misconduct

Law enforcement officers are very aggressive when doing narcotic investigations, sometimes too aggressive. Often times this over-aggressive behavior causes them to be anxious, thereby causing them to either make mistakes or play fast and loose with the rules. Police or narcotic officers often:

- ignore federal and California rules of search and seizure, "set-up" suspects in violation of California entrapment laws
-arrest people without evidence that the drugs actually belonged them
- rely on untrustworthy police informants
- mislead judges in order obtain search warrants, or
- exaggerate or outright lie in their police reports

We at the Lee Law Group are trained in recognizing police mistakes and misconduct and, when found, me often use this activity against the prosecution to our client's advantage. In many cases, we can make a motion to suppress evidence...which, if granted, usually leads to the whole case being thrown out of court.


Some of the most commonly charged drug related offenses we see and defend are listed here, below. Because the penalties and punishments for most of these offenses is complex, we have listed the applicable penalty information under each offense. However, contact the Lee Law Group for a more in depth explanation of the possible penalties for any drug related offense of which you may be charged.


Possession of a Controlled Substance

Health & Safety Code (HS) section 11350

Health & Safety Code section 11350 makes it a felony to possess narcotics such as cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, and prescription drugs such as Vicodin or Codeine, if they're not lawfully prescribed. A person convicted of "possession of a controlled substance" faces up to three years in California state prison. However, if this is their first or often second offense, most people accused of this crime are eligible for Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion programs, or California Drug Courts.

Follow the links above for information on Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion.

California Drug Courts

California "drug courts" offer nonviolent drug offenders the opportunity to resolve their cases outside of the traditional criminal justice system. Drug courts take a special exclusive interest in those who may benefit from drug rehabilitation.  And, as an incentive for participants to do well, successful completion of one's drug treatment program typically results in a dismissal of his/her criminal charge(s).

Penalties for HS section 11350

Health and Safety Code section 11350 California's "possession of controlled substances" law is typically a felony. If convicted of this offense you face either:

- probation and up to a year in county jail, or
- a county jail sentence of 16 months, or two or three years

However, if the drugs you allegedly possessed are a certain type of mild depressants, including gamma-hydroxybutyric acid ("GHB") then the offense may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor at the prosecutor's discretion. Whether or not you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor depends on the facts of your case, and your criminal history.

If convicted of this offense as a misdemeanor you face up to:
- one year in a county jail and
- a maximum $1,000 fine.

Beware. If you are not a citizen of the United States, a conviction for possession of illegal drugs could lead to deportation, denial of reentry and denial of naturalization.


Possession for Sale of Narcotics

Health & Safety Code (HS) section 11351

Health & Safety Code 11351 makes it a felony to possess illegal drugs for the purpose of selling them. This crime is more serious than simple possession under HS section 11350 and does not qualify for Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion programs.

In determining whether a suspect possessed narcotics for the purpose of sales, law enforcement will look to the (1) quantity of the drugs, (2) packaging in numerous separate baggies or bindles, (3) the presence of scales, and (4) weapons and/or large sums of cash. However, unfortunately many innocent people get accused of HS 11351 when, in fact, they only possessed the drugs for personal use.

Moreover, cops often use faulty information, unreliable police informants and even outright lies to obtain search warrants. If it can be shown that a search warrant was improperly obtained, most likely the evidence obtained from the warrant will be suppressed and the entire case dismissed. 

Penalties for HS section 11351

Health and Safety Code section 11351 California's law against possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell it is a felony. A conviction is punishable by either:

- probation and up to a year in county jail, or
- two, three or four years in county jail,
- a maximum $20,000 fine.

And if the prosecution can prove that you intended to engage in multiple sales, these penalties could be imposed in connection with each intended sale.

A conviction under this section could additionally lead to deportation if you are a legal immigrant or legal alien.

Aggravating factors.

In addition to the penalties above, there are a variety of additional factors that, if relevant to your offense, could either result in the highest possible sentence of those listed above or could add time to your overall prison sentence. These factors are known as "aggravating factors" as they tend to aggravate (or worsen) your offense. Some of these aggravating factors include the type of drugs you allegedly sold. For example, if you are convicted of possessing or purchasing cocaine base for sale, you face:

- three, four or five years in county jail, and
- a maximum $20,000 fine.

In addition, if you are convicted of violating Health and Safety Code 11351 HS, and the controlled substance is heroin, cocaine base or cocaine, you face an additional

- three years if the substance exceeds one kilogram by weight,
- five years if it exceeds four kilograms,
- ten years if the substance exceeds ten kilograms,
- fifteen years if the drug weighs more than 20 kilograms,
- twenty years if it weighs more than 40 kilograms, and
- twenty-five years if the substance exceeds 80 kilograms.
- If you receive an additional sentence under one of these weight enhancements, you also face fines of up to $8,000,000.

If you are convicted of possessing or purchasing controlled substances for sale and you have at least one prior felony conviction for another California drug crime that involves more than mere personal use, you face an additional and consecutive three-year term for each prior felony conviction.


Sale, Furnish, Administer or Transport a Controlled Substance into California

Health & Safety Code (HS) section 11352

Health & Safety Code 11352 makes it a felony to sell, furnish, administer, give away, transport or import an illegal narcotic into California. Many of the HS 11352 cases arise out of undercover sting operations in which a decoy officer engages in a "controlled buy." Sometimes, these stings run afoul of California entrapment laws and thereby should be dismissed for that reason.

In some cases, officers claim to have witnessed a drug deal from an observation post or a disguised location. But in reality, many suspects arrested for "selling drugs" were really just the buyers, or were not even involved in a drug deal at all.

  Penalties for HS section 11352

Health and Safety Code section 11352, California's law against the sale, furnishing, administering or transportation of a controlled substance into California is a felony, punishable either by:

-probation and up to one year county jail, or
-three, four or five years in county jail,
- a maximum $20,000 fine

However, if you moved the drugs across more than two county lines, the sentence increases to:

- three, six or nine-years in jail, and/or
- the same potential fine of up to $20,000.

In addition, a conviction under this section could lead to deportation if you are a legal immigrant or legal alien.

• Aggravating factors

In addition to the penalties above, there are a variety of additional factors that, if relevant to your offense, could either result in the highest possible sentence of those listed above or could add time to your overall prison sentence. These factors are known as "aggravating factors" as they tend to aggravate (or worsen) your offense.

Some of these aggravating factors include (1) the type of drug transported such as heroin, cocaine or cocaine base, (2) if you were drug trafficking in certain locations, such as on the grounds or close to a drug treatment center, "detox" facility or a homeless shelter, (3) your prior criminal history, (4) If you are a wholesaler and (5) the character or attributes of the person you allegedly sold or furnished, etc., illegal narcotics, (e.g. a minor, pregnant woman or a violent criminal).

Penalties that apply in these circumstances are varied and complex. Contact the Lee law Group for an explanation of the specific penalty that may apply for each aggravated factor.

Additional aggravating factors apply if you were transporting the drugs to be used in mass sales involving specific drugs such as heroin, cocaine or cocaine base. In these instances you face an additional

- three years  if the substance exceeds one kilogram by weight,
- five years if it exceeds four kilograms,
- ten years if the substance exceeds ten kilograms,
- fifteen years if the drug weighs more than 20 kilograms,
- twenty years if it weighs more than 40 kilograms, and
- twenty-five years if the substance exceeds 80 kilograms.
- If you receive an additional sentence under one of these weight enhancements, you also face fines of up to $8,000,000.


Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Health & Safety Code (HS) section 11364

Health & Safety Code 11364 makes it a misdemeanor to possess "an opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking a controlled substance." This includes hypodermic needles, pipes, bongs and cocaine spoons.

A conviction for 11364 HS carries up to six months in the county jail. But this offense usually qualifies for a diversion program under Proposition 36 or PC 1000 , or in California Drug Courts. Moreover, these devices are often confiscated through an improper police search and seizure in which case we may be able to get the entire case dismissed by way of a 'motion to suppress'.

Penalties for HS section 11364

Possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.

In addition, a conviction for Health and Safety Code 11364, or for that matter, even an arrest for this section, could lead to professional repercussions for those who hold professional licenses. This is because convictions and even arrests can affect California professional licenses. For example, teachers who are accused of violating this law may be placed on an immediate leave of absence pending the resolution of the charge(s).


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Possession of Methamphetamine

Health & Safety Code (HS) section 11377

Health & Safety Code 11377 makes it a crime to possess methamphetamine (also known as meth, crystal meth or speed). This offense may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor at the prosecutor's discretion.

The prosecutor usually decides this based on (1) the amount of methamphetamine involved, and (2) the person's criminal history. A person accused of HS 11377 typically qualifies for Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion, or the California Drug Courts.

 Penalties for HS section 11377

Health and Safety Code 11377 HS California's law against possession of methamphetamines may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor at the prosecutor's discretion. The prosecutor usually decides this based on
(1) the facts of your case, and (2) your criminal history.

If convicted of HS section 11377 as a misdemeanor, you face:

- up to one year in a county jail, and/or
- a maximum $1,000 fine.

If convicted of this offense as a felony, you face:

- 16 months, or two, or three years in county jail, and/or
- a maximum $10,000 fine.

Convictions for possession of methamphetamine for sale or for transporting into the state sale under HS sections 11378 and 11379 HS are straight felonies. A "possession for sales" conviction under HS section 11378 subjects you to:

- 16 months, or two, or three years in prison, and/or
- a maximum $10,000 fine

A "sales/transportation" conviction under HS section 11379 subjects you to:
- two, three, or four years in jail, and
- a maximum $10,000 fine.

If, however, you are convicted of transporting meth across more than two counties, the possible jail sentence increases to:

- three, six, or nine years.
- And if you are a legal immigrant or legal alien, a conviction for any of these drug crimes could additionally lead to deportation.

• Aggravating factors

In addition to the penalties above, there are a variety of additional factors that, if relevant to your offense, could either result in the highest possible sentence of those listed above or could add time to your overall prison sentence. These factors are known as "aggravating factors" as they tend to aggravate (or worsen) your offense.

Some of these aggravating factors include (1) If the weight of the meth that you are convicted of possessing exceeds one kilogram, you face an additional three to fifteen years in prison. (2) if you were drug trafficking in certain locations, such as on the grounds or close to a drug treatment center, "detox" facility or a homeless shelter, (3) your prior criminal history, (4) the character or attributes of the person you allegedly sold or furnished, etc., illegal narcotics, (e.g. a minor,  pregnant woman or violent criminal).

Penalties that apply in these circumstances are varied and complex. Contact the Lee Law Group for an explanation of the specific penalty that may apply for each aggravated factor.


Manufacturing Drugs & Narcotics

Health & Safety Code (HS) section 11379.6

Health & Safety Code 11379.6 HS makes it a felony to manufacture, produce, compound or process a controlled substance. Common examples include operating a meth lab in California, or compressing marijuana resin into hashish. To be liable for this offense, the person must actually have begun the process of making the illegal drug, rather than merely gathering supplies and preparing to do so.

 Penalties for HS section 11379.6

A conviction for HS 11379.6 carries the harshest sentencing of any California drug law, up to 7 years in state prison. The sentence can increase substantially if large volumes are involved, children are near the processing location, or someone is injured or killed in the process.

 Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS California's law against manufacturing controlled substances is a felony. Penalties include:

- three, five or seven years in county jail and
- a maximum fine of $50,000.

In addition, offering to manufacture drugs is also a felony, subjecting you to a sentence of three, four or five years.

• Aggravating factors

Aggravating factors, or circumstances that tend to aggravate or worsen your offense include, but are not limited to:

- Whether children are present or are harmed in the location where you manufacture narcotics, you will face an additional and consecutive term of up to five years.
- The type drugs you allegedly manufacture such as a large quantity of a substance that contains PCP, methamphetamine, or GHB.
- Whether the drugs you are convicted of manufacturing are methamphetamine or PCP, and these drugs cause another person to suffer great bodily injury or death.
- If you have certain drug-related prior convictions, or
- If you are involved in activity that triggers other related offenses.


Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance

Health & Safety Code (HS) section 11550

Health & Safety Code 11550 makes it a misdemeanor crime to "use" or "be under the influence of" a controlled substance. This includes illicit narcotics such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and GHB. It can also include prescription drugs such as Xanax or Valium, if the person does not have a valid prescription.

Penalties for HS section 11550

A conviction for HS 11550 carries a mandatory minimum penalty of a sentence of 90 days in county jail. But most people charged with this offense qualify for Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion or the California Drug Courts.


California Marijuana Laws

Marijuana is a harmless substance with legitimate and proven medical benefits. Nevertheless, California marijuana law still makes it a crime to cultivate, sell, possess or use the substance. Proposition 215 provides limited exceptions. The penalties for possession of a small quantity of marijuana are light, and often merely entail a small fine. But cultivation, sale or transportation of marijuana are serious felonies in California, and can cause a person to be sentenced to state prison.

The Lee Law Group strives to get marijuana charges reduced or dismissed.

 

Possible Defenses

Contact the Lee Law Group if you or someone you know is accused of a narcotics-related crime. We will fight your drug related charges, whether you are charged with a simple possession or with the transportation and, or a large conspiracy to sell charges. Out attorneys will investigate the facts and circumstances of your investigation and arrest and will search for law enforcement mistakes and misconduct. Law enforcement officials often use faulty information, unreliable police informants and even outright lies to obtain California search warrants.

As the facts allow, the Lee Law Group may be able to show that a search warrant was improperly obtained. In many situations where this has occurred, we will be able to get the evidence against you excluded and the entire case dismissed. We may be able to help you get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Similarly, we may be able to show that some other irregularities existed in your investigation or arrest and likewise have your case dismissed.

These are just some of the initial ways that we at the Lee Law Group strive to ensure that you at least have an even chance if you are charged with a drug related offense and are not handicapped by police mistakes and misconduct.

There are many additional possible defenses and thereby they cannot be listed here. Each possible defense depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. However, we have listed a few general legal defenses herein below.

- Illegal search and seizure.
California law provides that any evidence that is illegally obtained must be excluded from your case. The practical effect is that your charges will be significantly reduced if not entirely dismissed. If we find police misconduct we will move to have the evidence excluded and your case dismissed.

- Lack of Knowledge
You can only be convicted of possessing, selling, transporting, manufacturing, etc., a controlled substance if you knew you were possessing, selling, etc., the drug and knew that it was, in fact, a controlled substance. If we can prove your lack of knowledge, your charges will be significantly reduced if not entirely dismissed.

- Lack of Intent/ Lack of Intent to Sell, etc.
If you are accused of possessing, manufacturing or offering to sell, transport, furnish, etc. a controlled substance, then your lack of intent could serve as a defense. This is because you can't be convicted of any of these offenses without the specific intent to fully execute the offense. Thus, if you did not have the requisite intent your charges will be significantly reduced if not entirely dismissed.

- Lack of Possession
While this defense seems obvious, and possibly even ridiculous, it's neither. Officers routinely arrest people for drug possession when these people had neither actual nor constructive possession over the seized drug(s). For example, two men who have never previously met are passengers in the back seat of an automobile. They are the sole passengers in the back seat area. The car is legally stopped by the police and searched. Drugs are found in a fingerprint free container stuffed down in in the back seat. As a consequence, the police arrest both men. Logically, one of the men is innocent. Whose drugs are they? Due to the policeman's zeal, the charges must be dismissed against both men because no one can state, beyond a reasonable doubt, which man was guilty of possessing the drugs.

- You Held a Valid Prescription
If you held a valid prescription for the drug, you are excused from a violation of Health and Safety Code 11350 HS as long as your possession of the controlled substance was consistent with the purpose of the prescription.

- Mistaken Identity/False Accusations and Innocence
If you are falsely accused of selling or manufacturing drugs or are the victim of mistaken identity due to revenge, a so-called friend's desire to escape one's own criminal culpability, through a dishonest police informant, or because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, the Lee Law Group will conduct a thorough investigation to prove your innocence and clear your name. 


Contact the Lee Law Group for additional information on penalties for drug related offenses.



LEE LAW GROUP
8515 Chloe Ave,#229,La Mesa, California

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