Drug Offense Defense Attorneys in Southern California
In the state of California, prosecution and sentencing for drug offenses are tougher than ever, with new laws and enhanced penalties. To avoid jail time—for even a minor possession charge—it is extremely important to have an experienced, aggressive San Bernardino and Riverside drug defense attorney by your side. The law firm of Greenberg & Greenberg has more than 50 years of criminal law experience in Southern California. Greenberg & Greenberg has developed an aggressive defense strategy for individuals accused of committing a drug crime. Most drug crimes are serious felony offenses, with many carrying mandatory minimum sentences.
Prison sentences for drug crimes in the state of California can start at sixteen months, increasing dramatically for high-level or repeat offenses. Our law firm includes former deputy district attorneys with the tenacity and legal skills to help protect you, your rights, and your future. At Greenberg & Greenberg, our San Bernardino and Riverside drug defense attorneys are committed to avoiding prison or jail time for all drug offenders. Client satisfaction is always our top priority, and we know the steps to take in developing an aggressive defense strategy against:
- Drug Possession—Drug possession can be charged as a misdemeanor, however, there are situations where possession of a controlled substance can lead to felony charges. Drug possession for personal use—often known as “simple” possession—is a violation of California Health and Safety Code 11350. Simple possession is usually charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000, up to one year in jail, and community service. Second or subsequent convictions for simple possession can double the fine and possibly increase other penalties as well. Drug possession that would otherwise be a misdemeanor can become a felony when the defendant has a prior conviction for a sex offense for which sex offender registration is required or has a prior conviction for a serious felony (Arson, Attempted Murder, Bank Robbery, Assault with Intent to Commit Rape or Robbery, Carjacking, First Degree Burglary, Kidnapping, Murder, Robbery, and Voluntary Manslaughter). Since marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in the state of California, it is now legal to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use—unless the defendant is under 18, the possession occurs on school grounds, or the defendant possesses more than an ounce of marijuana.
- Prescription Drug Crimes—California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 prohibits the possession of any usable amount of a controlled substance, whether an illegal drug or a prescription drug that is not lawfully prescribed. In November 2014, in the state of California, Proposition 47 downgraded certain drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. A conviction for those misdemeanors can still result in up to a year in jail, although offenders who qualify could potentially avoid jail time if they are eligible for—and successfully complete—a California drug diversion program. The possession of controlled substances for the purpose of selling them is a felony charge, regardless of the amount of drugs in question and regardless of whether those drugs were lawfully prescribed. It is a misdemeanor to use or be under the influence of a prescription medication such as codeine, morphine, or hydrocodone without a valid prescription. Prescription drug fraud can be charged for those who “doctor shop.” This means a person obtains or attempts to obtain a prescribed controlled substance from a medical professional through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact or makes a false state in or to obtain a prescription.
- Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute—It is a felony in the state of California to possess certain controlled substances with the intent to sell the substance. To be found guilty of this offense, the defendant must have had intent, however, a jury can find intent was implied by the amount of the controlled substance in possession. Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute is punishable by two, three, or four years in county jail, and a fine as large as $20,000. Marijuana possession is a felony in the state when the defendant is at least 18 years old and sells or delivers marijuana to a minor who is between the ages of 14 and 17 (penalties range from three to five years in prison), or when the defendant is at least 18 years old and sells or delivers marijuana to a minor under the age of 14 (penalties range from three to seven years in prison).
- Cultivation and Manufacturing of Marijuana and Other Illegal Substances—Recreational marijuana use, and possession became legal in the state of California on January 1, 2018. Under these new laws, adults over the age of 21 may cultivate up to six marijuana plants for their personal use, although the marijuana must be grown in a secured area indoors or in a secured area outdoors, where legally permissible. Cultivating more than six marijuana plants remains a crime in the state; the offense is a misdemeanor which carries up to six months in county jail and/or a fine up to $500. That being said, it is a felony offense to cultivate more than six marijuana plants for those who are registered sex offenders, have violent felonies on their records, have two or more prior convictions for cultivating more than six marijuana plants, or who have violated specific California environmental laws during the cultivation. California also prohibits the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Operating an illegal meth lab in the state is a felony offense, punishable by up to seven years in a California state prison. This penalty increases if you are producing crystal meth, are manufacturing meth in the presence of children, have prior drug-related convictions, or your meth manufacturing operation causes another person to suffer bodily injury or death.
- Drug Trafficking—Drug Trafficking in the state of California, is an extremely serious offense which can result in prosecution under both California and federal laws. A conviction for trafficking methamphetamine can result in two to four years in jail, and/or a $10,000 fine. If you are trafficking within 1,000 feet of a drug treatment center, a detox facility, or a homeless shelter, one year can be added to your sentence. If you are selling, transporting, or otherwise distributing drugs across two or more California counties, you can be sentenced to up to nine years in prison. If the amount of methamphetamine you possessed was substantial, 3-15 years could be added to your sentence. If you solicit, hire, encourage, intimidate, or otherwise induce a minor to sell, transport or distribute, you could face an additional three, six, or nine years in prison. If you are suspected of trafficking an unusually large amount of methamphetamine, the federal authorities could get involved, and your penalties could greatly increase. Your sentence will depend on the amount of methamphetamine in your possession.
- Marijuana DUI—Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The criminal charges you could face, depend on whether this is your first or subsequent DUID offense. If it is your first offense, you could potentially get probation and community service in lieu of jail time, however, if this is your second or subsequent DUI or DUID, you could serve some jail time, pay steep fines, and have your driver’s license suspended for six months to three years.
Defenses to Drug Crimes in California
While your defense to a drug crime will depend on the circumstances surrounding the crime, some of the potential defenses your Greenberg & Greenberg criminal defense attorneys might use include the following:
- Challenging unlawful collection of evidence;
- No probable cause for a traffic stop;
- No reasonable suspicion to justify the arrest;
- Other types of police misconduct;
- Test results are compromised;
- Arrest made on inaccurate CI informant information;
- Constitutional violations;
How Greenberg & Greenberg Drug Crimes Lawyers Can Help
Our Riverside and San Bernardino drug crimes lawyers will carefully scrutinize your case for any possible police mistakes or misconduct and will exploit any potential problems in the prosecutor’s case. When possible, we will file a motion to suppress evidence, and if this motion is granted, the case could be dismissed. Drug crimes carry serious consequences; with more than 50 years of combined experience, the Greenberg & Greenberg attorneys know how to approach the individual facts of your case for the maximum chances of success. We are a father and son team who are former district attorneys. Client satisfaction is our top priority—if you have been charged with a drug crime in the state of California, contact Greenberg & Greenberg today.