“It’s just a misdemeanor.” “It’s only pot.” “You can get it dismissed.” These are some of the things people might say to you if you’ve recently been charged with a drug-related crime. Charges for possession of even “recreational” drugs such as marijuana, however, can have lasting consequences on your future.Many people do not understand the severity of possession, intending to distribute, or traveling with illicit substances, whether it be marijuana or heroin.
Drug Crimes in California
The general categories of drug crimes can be divided into the following:
- Simple possession of drugs
- Possession of drugs with intent to sell
- Transporting drugs
- Growing drugs (marijuana)
- Making drugs (meth, etc.)
- Filling a prescription and selling it to someone else
Each of these drug offenses has varying levels of severity, determined by quantity, substance, and circumstances. Marijuana is by far the most commonly prosecuted drug crime, as it is the most widespread. This is particularly true given that medical marijuana is legal in California, that is, people suffering from certain medical conditions may be eligible to obtain a medical marijuana license that allows them to purchase marijuana for personal use only. These licenses are very often abused and can lead to severe consequences if used improperly, or used to purchase marijuana for others.
Moreover, these offenses range from misdemeanors that can be dismissed for first-time offenders in certain circumstances to felonies that require years of jail time. In late 2014, voters approved laws lessening sentences for many types of drug possession, while sale and distribution still lead to more stringent sentences. Any subsequent offenses will also lead to additional penalties being imposed upon the offender.
First time and “lower level” offenders may have opportunities for dismissal following drug treatment programs, diversion programs, and/or probationary periods, but these programs are a privilege and not a right. Most often, a person, will have to pay the fines and fees required by the court, submit to probationary terms, and/or serve a jail sentence.
The best way to avoid the hassle, embarrassment, and expense of being convicted of a drug crime is to hire an attorney immediately upon your arrest. You have rights that you can enforce as soon as you are placed in police custody, and a knowledgeable attorney will ensure the police do not violate your rights when arresting you and that your rights are protected during court proceedings.
Contacting a San Diego Drug Crime Defense Attorney
Though future efforts in the legislature may change California’s drug laws, the law is clear regarding possession, use, and distribution of drugs. Experienced San Diego drug crimes attorney Alex Ozols has the expertise and knowledge necessary to navigate all types of drug offenses. With experience in dealing with a wide range of drug offenses, the Ozols Law Firm will determine the best defense for your unique situation and will non-judgmentally and confidentially ensure your best interests are advocated for in Court. He is always available to hear about your case; contact his San Diego office as soon as you have been charged with a California drug crime to ensure your legal rights are being exercised.