Aggressive Representation From Start to Finish
If you are facing criminal charges for drug possession in California, you probably have questions and concerns about your legal rights. Being charged with an offense related to controlled substances can be frightening and stressful, but having an experienced drug crimes attorney standing by your side at every step of the way can help tremendously. The knowledgeable Irvine drug possession lawyers at the Law Office of Pilchman & Kay, A Professional Law Corporation, are former prosecutors who understand that quality legal representation can make a big difference in a criminal case. We can help you understand the charges against you and vigorously protect your rights.
Call (949) 558-0042 to get started with a free, confidential consultation!
Defending Against a Charge of Drug Possession in California
Although California Proposition 36, also referred to as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000, changed the way that the State of California prosecutes certain drug crimes, a conviction of a drug possession offense can still result in serious consequences. Prop 36 only applies to those offenders who are convicted of qualifying drug offenses, which are nonviolent drug possession offenses that do not include illegal activities beyond the simple use, possession, or transportation of drugs for personal use. If a defendant is accused of manufacturing, producing, or selling drugs, he or she does not qualify for Prop 36. The same is true for defendants who are charged with possessing drugs while armed or with using fraud or forgery in order to illegally obtain prescription drugs.
California Drug Diversion Program
There is some good news for people who qualify under Prop 36. These defendants may be able to enroll in a drug diversion program and avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction. This does not happen automatically, however. It is essential to discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you with the various steps of diversion, including an expungement of your record, if necessary. In some cases, a defendant also may be eligible for a deferred entry of judgment under California Penal Code § 1000, which is similar to but has fewer restrictions than Prop 36.
Defenses for Drug Possession
For those who do not qualify for Prop 36 or PC § 1000, there may be other viable defenses to a drug possession charge. Each case is unique, but there are several defenses that are relatively common in these types of cases.
- The police ignored the defendant's constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
- The defendant may have been set up or entrapped.
- The authorities may have used unreliable information (perhaps from an alleged informant) to obtain a warrant on false grounds.
- The drugs in question did not belong to the person accused of possessing them.
Unless the State can prove all of the elements of drug possession (actual or constructive possession, knowledge, and a quantity sufficient for use) beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant may be acquitted.
Penalties for Drug Possession in California
A conviction of a drug possession offense may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors involve jail time of up to a year and a fine of up to $1,000. In contrast, felony drug possession offenses may involve up to three years in prison, or possibly more in cases in which there are enhancement factors and fines in excess of $1,000. Registered sex offenders and people with a previous felony conviction generally face stiffer penalties than first-time offenders.
Contact a Drug Possession Lawyer in Irvine, CA
Facing drug possession charges is difficult for both the person accused of the crime and his or her family. Uncertainty and worry can quickly escalate, especially when the defendant does not fully understand his or her legal rights. As former prosecutors, we understand how the system can be used against people who do not have someone standing up for them in court. We represent people in cities such as Irvine, Garden Grove, Costa Mesa, Westminster, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Orange, Fullerton, Mission Viejo, and Newport Beach. The sooner you call, the sooner you can rest assured that your case will be defended to the fullest extent of the law by a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
To schedule a free consultation with a compassionate yet aggressive drug possession lawyer in Irvine, call the Law Office of Pilchman & Kay, A Professional Law Corporation, at (949) 558-0042 or contact us online.