Drug Charges Lawyer in Atascadero, California
Aggressive Representation In San Louis Obispo County Drug Crime Cases
Drug crimes are serious offenses in California. A drug crime conviction can harm your employment, finances, and personal life. It carries heavy penalties including a possible jail sentence and a criminal record. Therefore, it is important to have a qualified Atascadero drug charges lawyer who will fight for you.
At 805 Law Group, we represent clients facing all types of misdemeanor and felony drug charges:
- Drug possession (marijuana possession, cocaine possession)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Drug sale and distribution
- Drug trafficking
- Prescription drug offenses
- Drug distribution to a minor
- Medical marijuana-related charges
It is not unusual for police to overstep their boundaries and arrest people who have a legitimate right to use marijuana for medical purposes. Our Atascadero drug crime attorneys have the experience to sort through and resolve medical marijuana-related drug charges efficiently and effectively.
What is a Controlled Substance?
When a federal or state government classifies a certain substance as “controlled,” it generally means that the use and distribution of the substance are governed by law. Some drugs are made legal for limited purposes, while others are more restricted. As a result, there are a variety of laws addressing the misuse of controlled substances. A knowledgeable Atascadero drug charges attorney can help you navigate and understand the California drug laws.
The control applies to the way the substance is made, used, handled, stored, and distributed. Controlled substances are often classified at different levels or “schedules” under federal and state statutes. It includes opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids.
What are the Common Drug Charges?
In both the federal and state criminal justice systems, most drug-related cases stem from charges of possession, manufacturing, or trafficking of controlled substances. Drug offenses range in severity from misdemeanor offenses like possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia to felony crimes such as drug trafficking and the sale of narcotics. If you’re accused of committing a drug-related crime, working with a credible Atascadero drug charges lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
The most common drug-related offense in California is Possession of a Controlled Substance. A person in possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances may be charged with simple possession or with an enhanced charge based on the quantity of drugs possessed or proof of intent to distribute the drugs.
This type of drug charge does not require proof of intent or proof of ownership. It can be based on actual or “constructive” possession. Constructive possession means that even if the accused doesn’t own the illegal drug, a possession charge is still possible if the accused had access to and control over the place where the drugs were found. Merely holding onto someone else’s marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other illegal drugs can result in criminal charges punishable by up to one year in county jail.
To be convicted of possession of a controlled substance charge, the prosecution must prove that:
- You knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance
- You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance
- There is no valid prescription
- The amount of the controlled substance is sufficient for personal use or sale.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
The term “paraphernalia” refers to any object or device used to inhale, smoke, ingest, inject, or consume a controlled substance. Whether an item is prohibited almost always depends on how and where the drugs are being used. Being found in possession of these objects, even without any actual drugs, may be enough for a person to be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Examples of drug paraphernalia include but are not limited to:
- Syringes and injection kits
- Pipes and bongs
- Rolling papers
- Baggies, scales, cutting agents
Drug Distribution and Drug Trafficking
Drug distribution means that a person is accused of selling, delivering, or providing controlled substances illegally. This type of drug offense is usually charged as a felony and becomes more serious when a large amount of drugs is involved, or when a person’s death results from the drugs being trafficked.
On the other hand, drug trafficking relates to the intention or purpose of physically making the drug available to others, regardless of ownership. Trafficking an illegal drug requires that you have the intention or offer to transfer, deliver, give, administer, or sell the illicit substance. The most common trafficking charge is the sale of narcotics to an undercover police officer. It involves a major police investigation when undercover police officers pose as drug purchasers. In most cases, sentences for distribution and trafficking range from three years and a significant fine to life in prison, with trafficking carrying higher sentences.
The severity of the consequences of a conviction for distribution and trafficking is based on:
- the type and amount of the controlled substances involved
- the criminal history of the defendant
- the location where the defendant has been apprehended
This type of drug crime involves any step of the cultivation and production process of a controlled substance listed in the drug schedules unless otherwise permitted by law. Cultivation means growing, possessing, or producing naturally occurring elements to make illegal controlled substances. If convicted, those involved in running a drug manufacturing operation may face hefty fines and lengthy prison terms.
Many states allow drug diversion for nonviolent, first-time drug offenders charged with simple possession of illegal drugs as an alternative to jail time. Diversion allows offenders to maintain a clean criminal record by pleading guilty to a simple drug possession charge. However, drug crimes sentencing will be delayed pending the defendant’s completion of an 18- month drug treatment program.
If the treatment program is completed, the charge is dismissed. If the defendant fails to complete the program, the defendant will be sentenced on the drug possession charge and face a lengthy jail sentence.
Defer & Defeat Drug Charges
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will understand the range of options available to help someone overcome criminal charges. In drug crime cases, those options may involve looking at the root cause. If you are in trouble because you are addicted to marijuana, meth, heroin, cocaine, or even a prescription drug, the option may exist to go through rehabilitation instead of jail. This is just one example of how we work with the district attorney, the judge, and the judicial system to find real solutions for people accused of drug crimes.
Get the personal attention you deserve in your drug case – call our firm and schedule an initial consultation.