Accusations of selling drugs or possessing them with the intent to sell can easily impact your life for years. The Drug Enforcement Agency arrests more than 30,000 people annually for the alleged sale and possession of narcotics. More than 32% of all inmates in state prisons across the country were under the influence of or in possession of drugs when arrested; in federal prisons, it is above 25%. Cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are three of the most commonly seized drugs.
Under California law, a person found in possession of an ounce or less of non-concentrated cannabis could be charged with a minimum $100 fine. Selling illegal drugs (or intending to) usually involves increased fines and jail times. For possession, the type of drug is a factor. Penalties for these crimes also depend on how much was confiscated in addition to other circumstances. For example, jail time may increase if you are accused of intent to sell near a school. Depending on the situation, possession with intent to sell may be a felony.
If you are accused of drug sales or possessions to sell, contact our Riverside drug sales attorneys today for a free consultation to build your case today.
Generally, the state of California establishes punishment for drug possession based on the type of drug and amount found on the person or property. However, sentencing regarding drug charges changed dramatically in 2014 when California voters passed Proposition 47. Under this new law, many drug possession offenses are misdemeanors and subject to lesser penalties.
Under California law, a defendant facing possession of any controlled substance with intent to sell could face up to 4 years in jail and fines up to $20,000. Crimes regarding crack cocaine carry harsher punishments – up to five year’s prison time.
Under Prop 47, however, possession with intent to sell may reduce to a misdemeanor charge under California law by adjusting the crime to simple possession. Defendants may also be eligible for a drug diversion program, which was previously impossible.
This does not automatically apply, however. Only a criminal defense attorney can help defendants navigate the legal process and advocate for reduced sentencing. Proposition 47 makes lesser sentencing possible, but defendants still require the help of a lawyer.
The provisions of Proposition 47 also apply retroactively, which means a person currently serving jail time for possession with intent to sell may be able to have his or her sentence reduced retroactively, even to time served in some cases. If you’re facing criminal charges for possession with intent to sell, your first step is to contact a Riverside criminal defense attorney to learn more about your legal options under Prop 47.
In some cases, a defendant may be able to enter a drug diversion program in lieu of traditional courts. Also called drug court, these programs seek to take the load off an overwhelmed criminal justice system and help identify those who might be vulnerable to substance abuse. California drug courts can divert defendants from the traditional justice system into a system that provides counseling, treatment, and other options to those related controlled substance related charges.
Drug diversion courts can help defendants avoid the social stigma of the traditional criminal justice system. This makes re-entering society easier, as well as finding employment. Those who struggle with substance abuse can also find essential resources like rehabilitation, counseling, and learn positive coping mechanisms. An experienced criminal defense attorney like Graham Donath can help defendants explore their legal options and rely on drug diversion courts over the mainstream criminal justice system whenever possible.
In 2016, California voters also decriminalized marijuana under Proposition 64, also called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Under the law, anyone over the age of 21 may consume or possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana in a private residence or any establishment that has a valid license. However, it is still unlawful to possess more than this amount, and discovery of excess amounts of marijuana may still lead to possession with intent to sell charges under California law. People may grow up to six plants for personal use in their homes, but more could lead to criminal charges. Penalties may be harsher when possession with intent to sell occurs on the grounds of a school, daycare center, or other areas where children are present.
If you’re facing drug-related charges like possession with intent to sell, you have options under California law. Propositions 47 and 64 fundamentally changed the way the criminal justice system handles these offenses. However, taking advantage of them requires the assistance of an attorney. Contact Riverside criminal defense attorney Graham Donath today to discuss your legal options.
At the law offices of award-winning defense attorney Graham Donath, our Riverside drug sales lawyers’ job is to defend you so an accusation has the least negative impact possible. There are several defensible reasons why individuals may be carrying drugs at the time of their accusations. These include:
Do not destroy evidence. If you face charges of possessing drugs or intending to sell them, trying to destroy evidence could make you look suspicious and increase the charges and penalties you face. For example, destroying evidence could upgrade an alleged crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. Do not voluntarily submit to drug tests or other testing, and do not communicate with law enforcement officials unless an attorney is present. Gather any documents that might help your case, such as a written statement from your doctor testifying to the medical necessity of the drugs in question.
If you face charges of drug possession or intent to sell in Riverside or Orange County, contact our Riverside drug sales attorneys immediately. Donath is a board-certified specialist in criminal law – one of only a small number in California – and he has successfully defended many drug-related cases.