Drug Crimes Attorney in San Diego Handling Possession, Sales and Trafficking Charges
The State of California severely punishes those convicted of drug possession, and doles out harsher punishment for those convicted of possession with intent to sell.
If you have been charged with a drug crime or drug possession, it is critical that you immediately hire a qualified San Diego drug crimes attorney to begin investigating your case. At Ozols Law Firm we are available 24/7 to take your call.
Contact An Experienced Drug Crimes Lawyer
Alex Ozols has extensive experience in dealing with all types of drug crimes. From possession to possession with intent to sell, Mr. Ozols knows what you’re up against and we’ll fight to protect your rights. Drug crimes cases often involve unreliable witnesses and tainted evidence, but you’ll need a lawyer with a proven track record to spot and highlight the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Common Drug Charges in San Diego County
A common drug charge in San Diego is possession of drugs. If one has any type of illegal drugs on them, then they can be charged with possession. An elevated charge to drug possession is possession for sale, also known as possession with intent to sell.
For controlled substances and marijuana, to be convicted of possession with intent to sell (HS 11359) one needs to have:
- Possessed the item
- Knew of its presence
- Knew of the nature or character of the substance, and
- Intended to sell the item
Possessed the item
Possession in a drug crimes case doesn’t have to be actual possession; it can be constructive possession as well. This means that one does not actually have to have the item on their person.
For example, assume John was sleeping and the police came in with a warrant and entered John’s room. At this point they are looking for things in John’s possession. If John has a controlled substance on the table next to his bed or anywhere in his room, then the police will argue that he has constructive control over that item.
Knew of its Presence/Character Substance
The word “knew” is always a tricky one in the field of law. It is tough for a prosecutor to prove BEYOND a reasonable doubt what someone was thinking. Without any admissions or any statements from the defendant, a skilled lawyer should be able to show that there is absolutely no proof that their client knew of its presence or the substance.
For example: If John got pulled over in his vehicle and subsequently got arrested for DUI, the police would have the right to search his vehicle. If they found a controlled substance in his vehicle they would argue that it was constructive possession. The problem they have here is that someone could have borrowed John’s car, someone could have been in John’s car or John may have not known that this substance was illegal.
Intended to sell the item
Again, with intent it is very hard to prove a mental state. The police here will look to set up a sting or look though ones phone or email for evidence that the accused had the intent to make a sale. A skilled attorney can negate this intent and show that the accused had no intent whatsoever to make a sale.
It should be known that in California it is also against the law to sell a substitute substance that is not actually a drug, for example selling sugar or baking soda and pretending it to be cocaine. This is Health and Safety Code 11355, and one can be convicted of this for pretending to sell a controlled substance and actually making the sale.
Simple Possession of Drugs – HS 11357
A lesser offense than that of sale, a “simple” possession charge (California HS 11357) just means that they the individual was in possession of a controlled substance or marijuana and they were not legally entitled to possess it.
The outcome of these cases are usually hinge on issues of probable cause and whether the search was legal or not.
Everyone has a 4th Amendment right under the Constitution to not be subject to illegal search or seizure and no one can be searched without probable cause. For more on this please see the section on DUIs titled “Motion to Suppress.” If someone is illegally searched that means that all evidence as a result of the illegal search must be suppressed.
Common examples of this are when an individual gets pulled over for a traffic stop and with no other evidence or consent the officer starts searching the individuals person or the individual’s vehicle. This would be classified as an illegal search.
Often these cases can be fought and can be won. Police officers are notorious for illegally searching people, places, and things without a search warrant and experienced criminal defense attorneys can see this illegal search and work to get your case dismissed.
Transporting or Giving Away Marijuana – HS 11360
Compassionate Use Act
A very good defense when it comes to drug crimes, the compassionate use act allows an individual to transport marijuana to someone who is in need of medical marijuana and who is licensed to possess medical marijuana. The people have the burden here to prove that the individual was not allowed to transport this marijuana for medical purposes, if they cannot prove this then the jury must find the defendant not guilty.
For example: Person A may get pulled over for speeding and their car smells very strongly of Marijuana, lets say that the individual tells officer that they can search the vehicle. The officers find Marijuana. Person A doesn’t say anything. Now in this scenario person A could legally work at a dispensary or they would legally be a transport driver contracted by the dispensary. Person B could be someone who has a medical marijuana card or believed they ordered the drug from a legitimate source. Without saying any incriminating information, it is very tough for the prosecutors to prove this offense and a skilled San Diego criminal attorney can show that there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Planting Marijuana Health and Safety Code 11358
The planting or growing of marijuana can also be a convictable offense if the individual knew what they were growing and knew the substance was a drug. Once again though the defense is the Compassionate Use Act where one has a medical marijuana card that has been prescribed by a licensed physician.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, you need an experienced criminal defense team on your side. Call Ozols Law Firm today for a free consultation.