DRUG OFFENSES

Drug crimes occur frequently.  Unless you take steps to defend yourself against a drug charge, you can suffer severe penalties to include registering as a drug offender and having a conviction on your criminal record forever. A criminal record will show up whenever you are required to pass a background check for employment, state licensing, housing or credit.

There are a variety of drug offenses including but not limited to,

Simple possession of a Controlled Substance

Possession for sales of Controlled Substances

Transportation or sales of a Controlled Substance

Cultivation of Marijuana and Manufacturing  

Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance

Possession of Paraphernalia

Drug offenses are determined and identified under the various controlled substances in the California Health and Safety Codes where there are schedules (I through IV) of the various drugs.  Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, heroin, methamphetamine as well as drugs requiring a prescription such as opium, codeine, hydrocodone and vicodin are some of the scheduled controlled substances.

Most narcotics offenses are felony crimes with only a few permitted to be charged as misdemeanors.  However, depending on your situation, you may be eligible for a diversion program or alternative sentencing under the PC 1000 Drug Diversion program or Proposition 36.

Also known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, Proposition 36 allows first and second time simple drug possession offenders the chance to receive substance abuse treatment  and potential dismissal of charges instead of conviction and incarceration.  Often times, with effective representation, even when a person is charged with possession for sale of a drug such as heroin, marijuana or cocaine, Michele can urge the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a “simple” possession for personal use, thereby allowing a defendant now to become eligible for a drug treatment program.   Maintaining contact with your attorney will help you to successfully complete a Proposition 36 program that will ultimately result in a dismissal of your drug charges. 

Also falling under the umbrella of Drug Offenses can be DUI charges that allege “under the influence” of Drugs rather than Alcohol while Driving a motor vehicle.  These are usually difficult cases for the prosecution to prove in that drugs do not define a level by which one can be impaired such as the measurement of the .08 level to determine a blood alcohol level.

 

Michele also represents landlords in Los Angeles who are leasing their properties to Medical Marijuana Businesses.  It is not uncommon for the City Attorney to also name the Landlord as a defendant in Proposition D criminal prosecutions, Prop D being a Los Angeles Municipal ordinance regulating medical marijuana businesses (MMB’s) where marijuana is cultivated, processed, distributed, delivered or given away to qualified patients or primary caregivers. With the City Attorney pursuing civil and criminal prosecutions, a Landlord could be subject to penalties and a criminal conviction if the MMB is not compliant with Proposition D. 

 

However, the law does allow first time offenders charged with these violations to enter into a Diversion program. After complying with certain terms and conditions not to exceed a 12 month period, the charges will be dismissed which will reduce the stigma that is often associated with a criminal record.  While the prosecutor is not always in favor of allowing a dismissal of such charges, an experienced attorney like Michele will advocate on behalf of her client in moving the court to allow the imposition of a diversion program.   So even if the prosecutor is objecting, the court has the discretion to grant diversion and with a timely and appropriate argument can be convinced to do so. 

At the other end, serious felony drug offenses generally carry a prison sentence.  It is important in any narcotics case to obtain zealous, knowledgeable representation.  Some of the more sophisticated drug operations carry harsh punishments often times prison sentences even on first offenses.  Possible consequences can become aggravated depending on the type of drugs involved, the quantity and whether any firearms are involved. 

While experience and familiarity with the courts and prosecuting agencies can assist in a favorable outcome to your case, drug offenses will often require attacking the probable cause of why law enforcement stopped you or your vehicle or entered your home to search it.  

Under most circumstances, the Fourth Amendment requires police to get a warrant before they make forcible entry to your home prior to searching it.  Finding out whether police officers had the requisite material information to support probable cause for a search warrant is essential.  If not, your rights could have been violated.   So too, the police officers need probable cause to stop your vehicle and subsequently search it.   

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Los Angeles County to include Pasadena, West Covina, Pomona, Alhambra, East Los Angeles, it is important to consult with an experienced and effective attorney like Michele Ferroni to discuss the fine details of the charged offense.  As a drug crimes defense attorney, Michele has the knowledge, skill and experience necessary to obtain the best result in drug cases and provide a quality defense whether your case is a simple possession of drug paraphernalia to a more serious allegation involving transportation or possession for sale.  Call Michele Ferroni today, 818.203.8300, for a free and private consultation regarding the merits, facts and defenses of your case.

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