Orange County Drug Crimes Lawyer
Have you been charged or under investigation for a drug crime in Orange County? Retaining an experienced Orange County drug crimes lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you make. Drug charges can carry significant punishment in both state and federal court. Even a small quantity of a controlled substance can carry life changing consequence. Drug cases are very unique and always have a different set of facts and circumstances. Give us a call today to discuss your case and how we may help defend you and minimize the consequences.
Overview of California Drug Charges
California has a history of the toughest drug laws in the United States. However, recent revisions in the law have lowered prison exposure and allowed sentencing judges greater discretion in ordering a fair sentence. In many cases, drug treatment programs, probation or conditional sentences are now options. Accordingly, you need an experienced and reputable drug defense attorney in Orange County handling your matter to ensure you’re not subjected to great punishment than necessary.
- Possession of Methamphetamine – Health & Safety Code 11377 HS
- Possession of a Controlled Substance – Health & Safety Code 11350 HS
Drug Charges in Federal Court
Federal crimes are drastically different than charges in California state court. All clients need to understand that the federal government has unlimited resources and when it comes to drug charges the deck is strongly stacked against them. Therefore, it is imperative that you retained an experienced Orange County federal crimes attorney to handle your matter. It is not uncommon for the government to charge our client with conspiracy and money laundering thereby expanding the scope of a client’s exposure. Accordingly, you need an attorney that will fully investigate the facts, file the appropriate motions, and devote the time and resources to fully representing your rights.
Federal drug charges ordinarily carry severe consequences because of the mandated mandatory minimum sentences. For instance, possessing methamphetamine with the intent to sell over 50 grams carries a mandatory minimum of five (5) years in federal prison. High exposure is usually dependent upon how dangerous the substance is; the quantity; and your prior criminal record. Other aggravating circumstances may be relevant that could drastically increase your sentence.
Complexity of Drug Cases
Drug charges are often underestimated especially by attorneys who do not often represent those charged with narcotic offenses. Ordinarily, the government utilizes confidential informants in support of obtaining search warrants for home searches and telephone wire taps. This is especially true in cases where there are multiple persons and transactions occurring. Consequently, this requires a very specific analysis to determine whether the warrant contains sufficient probable cause to be issued in the first place or whether the law enforcement misled the judge in any way. Furthermore, drug sentencing laws are extremely complex. Retaining an attorney who is familiar with the drug sentencing guidelines is essential to ensure you do not receive greater punishment than necessary. Attorneys who are unfamiliar with drug cases may unfortunately be doing a disservice to their clients by exposing them to greater punishment.
Drug Crime Penalties
Drug charges can carry significant penalties if convicted. Job prospects, owning or possessing a firearm, immigration status, or occupational and professional licensing may be on the line. Punishment will be different depending whether you are convicted in state or federal court.
In federal court, drug charges are usually subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 to 10 years in federal prison. The penalties can be harsher depending your prior criminal history and whether firearms were involved. A small portion of defendants are eligible to participate in the C.A.S.A. program that allows them to complete drug treatment in lieu of prison.
In state court, felony drug charges usually carry a maximum jail term of 3 to 4 years. However, most drug charges can be diverted. Moreover, drug treatment programs are usually options for first-time or second-time drug offenders. For those who have a history of drug crimes, probation is available but it carries an assortment of terms and conditions.
Defending You for Drug Charges
- Constitutional Violation: You have a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures from the police. In the event the Police violated your Fourth Amendment right, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence – i.e., substance. If the court grants the suppression motion, the substance cannot be used as evidence and the prosecutor will be unable to proceed with the case against you. Suppression issues are normally specific to search warrants and home entries.
- Usable Amount: In order for someone to be found guilty of a drug possession or sales charge, the substance must be a usable quantity. Mere residue will not suffice.
- Possession: Establishing possession can be more burdensome than some would think. There are two types of “possession” – actual and constructive possession. The challenge of prosecuting someone if the substance was not discovered on their person becomes burdensome because the prosecutor must find additional evidence to connect the accused to the drugs. For instance, methamphetamine was found in shared bedroom drawer.
- Knowledge: If someone does not know they’re in possession of a substance or paraphernalia, then they are not guilty of a drug offense. For example, a friend left heroin in the backseat of your vehicle without your knowledge.
- Lack of Sales: The government ordinarily attempt justify sales charges, when in reality, the amount was consistent with personal use. Common indicia of sales include pay-owe sheets, large sums of cash, scales, narcotics in individual bags, or confidential informants in controlled buys. Absent these common sale scenarios, the prosecutors effort to prove sales is much more burdensome.
Contact an Experienced Orange County Drug Crimes Lawyer
Being charged with a drug crime can be particularly stressful if you feel you have been wrongly charged or that there are additional circumstances that must be considered. The Law Offices of John D. Rogers is here to help you and mount your defense against the government’s case. We have a proven track record of success in determining the best way to resolve drug cases. Contact us today to speak with a reputable and experienced Orange County drug crimes lawyer to discuss your options and guidance in the best way to move forward.
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