Posted on October 26, 2015
Defending “Cocaine” Sales Charges │ Los Angeles Drug Defense Attorney
In November 2014, the California voters approved Proposition 47 which makes all simple drug possession charges a misdemeanor. Since Prop 47’s enactment, there has been a rise in the amount of drug sales charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. All drug sales cases are straight felony offenses and cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor. Therefore, if you’ve been arrested / charged with possession with the intent to sell, you could face a lifelong felony conviction on your record.
Like all drug investigations, police officers will question you about the substance and why you were in possession of the substance. The police will be attempting to gain incriminating statements to use against you in court. Perhaps the prosecutor can be proving you intended to sell the substance simply based on your statement to police – e.g., “I sell it to my friends on occasion.” Giving any statement to police can have devastating consequences. The more you talk to police, the more you limit your options in creating a defense later in court. If law enforcement attempts to speak with you, decline to give any statement and demand the presence of an attorney.
California Health and Safety Code § 11351 governs the unlawful sale of a controlled substance – including cocaine. In order to prove that you’re guilty of possessing cocaine with the intent to sell, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) you were in possession of an illicit drug – cocaine; 2) you had knowledge of its presence; 3) you knew of the substance’s character as being an illicit drug; 4) the illicit drug is a usable quantity; 5) and while you were in possession, you had the intent to sell it.
If you’ve been arrested for any drug offense in Los Angeles, then contact Attorney John Rogers at the cases earliest juncture. The best approach to defending any drug charge is early intervention. Moreover, the longer one waits to retain counsel, the more liable critical pieces of evidence can be lost, destroyed, or deleted. For instance, if you were pulled over and the police officers committed an unlawful search of your vehicle, then there could be crucial video surveillance footage capturing the incident from adjacent business. Those businesses must be contacted early on and placed on notice to preserve any video evidence before it’s deleted as it may be pertinent in a criminal case. In addition, there could be civilian witnesses who captured the incident on their mobile device or personally observed the incident – in both cases – they must be contacted / found early on before their memory fades. In sum, there is no reason to wait when you’ve been arrested, contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers right away.
There are a number of defenses to drug sales charges. For instance, the police officers could have committed an illegal search & seizure which may require the evidence be suppressed and not used against you in court. In the event the police obtained a search warrant to search your home or apartment, the contents of the warrant must be carefully reviewed for any constitutional technicalities. Additionally, if you did not know you were in possession of cocaine, then you lacked the requisite knowledge and therefore you are not guilty of this offense. Furthermore, you may have not possessed the cocaine for the purposes of sale but instead for personal use. Lastly, if you gave a statement to police that was a violation of your Miranda rights, then your attorney can file a motion to suppress your statements in an effort to deem them inadmissible against you in court.
Since any drug sale charge is a straight felony, the consequences for a felony conviction can be severe. If convicted, you face 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison. If you’re granted probation, the court will place you on probation for at least three years, impose court fines, drug counseling classes, and require you to register as a narcotics offender.
If you’ve been arrested, charged, or are under investigation for possession of cocaine with the intent to sell under H.S. § 11351, then contact Los Angeles Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.