Learn the Best Strategy to Deal with a Drug Crime Case in Los Angeles
Drug crime cases in Los Angeles have been prosecuted for many years. However, recently I believe the legislature and the community are of the opinion that drug crime cases should be taking a back seat to violent crime cases where people are actually getting hurt and victims are being treated in a very bad manner. The police only have so much manpower and there’s so many different segments of the society using drugs, that it’s almost impossible to keep up with it. Also, another big thing is that they see, especially in California, that a lot of drug offenders are in the prisons and in the jail system so that’s why it’s over-crowded and they don’t have room for violent offenders.
Hence, the legislature, the people, the prosecutors, the police and the judges now have given some breaks to people who commit drug crimes. So, if you’re in the unfortunate position of being charged with a drug crime, having a good attorney on your side in Los Angeles can mean the difference between getting the harsh consequences that drug crimes used to carry and now being able to get an opportunity to get your case dismissed, avoid prison and a host of other things can be avoided that used to be a foregone conclusion in the past.
The Health & Safety Code of California
Controls Drugs Crimes in Los Angeles
You will see that most drug crimes are charged under the Health & Safety Code. For example, possession of most drugs will be charged under Health & Safety Code Sec. 11350 and prosecuted that way. This section many times will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor and not a felony and the person can at a lot of times, especially if it’s a first offense, get some sort of a diversionary or deferred entry of judgment program and avoid any type of criminal conviction whatsoever. Hence, having the right attorney who has handled many crimes in Los Angeles County is crucial when it comes to the defense of these type of cases.
There are Defenses to Drug Crimes in Los Angeles
Many of the drug crimes that the police are getting people for are defensible. This means that there’s motions that can be filed to stop the prosecutors from being able to prosecute somebody dead in their tracks. For example, if they illegally stop you in your car, on the street and they search you and they don’t have probable cause that there’s some sort of criminal activity afoot, then a lot of times I’m able, over the course of the last twenty-five years of defending drug crime cases, to get my client’s case dismissed. We have Fourth Amendment rights pursuant to the Constitution of the United States that protect against unreasonable stops, searches and seizures by the police. So, if we’re able to show that a stop of a person or a vehicle was unreasonable under the circumstances, then the evidence that is found, typically the drug, will be suppressed and then the prosecutors will have to dismiss the case because they won’t have the gravament of the crime – the drug. As far as other defenses that are available, if the police come into your home then they’re going to need a search warrant in order to get into that home, otherwise anything they find in there will be suppressed and they won’t have a case against you. So, if they find drugs in your home, they didn’t have a search warrant and they just came in because they thought there might be some drugs, or based on a hunch, anything that’s found – drugs, guns, money – will all be suppressed and they won’t be able to be used against you.
However, there are some circumstances when the police can get in your home. One big one that a lot of people don’t realize is that if you let them in and tell them, “sure, go on in and search, I don’t have anything in there,” and then they come in and find drugs inside your home then you’re going to be prosecuted because you consented to the search. Another example of when the police can get into your house is what’s called exigent circumstances, meaning there’s some sort of emergency – the house is on fire, somebody’s in danger inside the house, if they chase a fleeing felon into a house they can probably go in and apprehend that person and they happen to see drugs along the way running in there – then they can prosecute the person who owns those drugs.
Another big example of when the police can get inside somebody’s house is if that person is on probation and has search terms. So, if you’re on probation and you have a probation officer and they want to come in there and look for drugs, then they’re going to be able to do it. This is a warning to all people who let probationers into their home knowing they’re on probation, then you too could be subject to search and seizure. Technically, the police or probation officers can only come in and search the person who’s on probation for drugs. However, I can’t tell you how many times I see once they’re in there, the next thing you know, they’ve caught somebody else for drugs inside the house. So, you really put yourself in jeopardy if you let a probationer in your house especially one that’s doing drugs, selling drugs or has any type of weapons or anything that’s illegal.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Los Angeles
When it comes to drug crimes, penalties can range from a small fine to some sort of a diversionary drug program to a live-in program, to an out-patient program, to county jail, to prison, to community service, Caltrans, community labor – there’s so many different variations that can be negotiated depending on the circumstances of the drug case in Los Angeles County. Obviously, from this you can see having an attorney who has experience in Los Angeles in defending and negotiating drug crimes is a huge advantage to somebody who’s charged with one of these crimes in L.A. The best criminal defense attorneys know which prosecutors will negotiate, which judges are the toughest when it comes to drug crimes, what type of an outcome they can get under a given set of circumstances, who to talk to. Another big thing that I do is sometimes I have to either file motions to try to take the case away from the prosecutors or sometimes I have to do the preliminary hearing and attack their witnesses and police officers and their civilian witnesses and show them – look, your case is not a slam dunk. You’re going to have some problems here and you could lose the case altogether, so you better be reasonable with my client.
I think the biggest thing that I do is I get my client’s version of events across to the prosecutors and to the judge, so they know the other side of the story. I can’t tell you how many times and how frustrating it is when the clients are not heard, they’re not listened to. They’re just shoved in the back of a police car and told that they’re being charged with possession, possession for sale, sale or transportation of drugs and are looking at many years in prison, and the police neve bothered to get their end of the story. Of course, you usually don’t want clients talking to the police, especially ones that may be guilty. However, sometimes having your attorney talk for you is the best of both worlds, because you’re able to get your version of events across without risking further prosecution, because obviously the attorney’s going to know what to say and what not to say.
What I do is, I have you come in and we go over everything in the privacy of my office. Even if you don’t hire me everything is still protected by the attorney-client privilege, and we come up with a game plan on how we’re going to deal with your drug crime case. And the game plan is not going to be based on willy-nilly stuff, it’s going to be based on my experience of having done thousands of these cases over the course of the last twenty-five years won them, negotiate them and seeing what it takes to get the results to preserve someone’s rights, their record, their freedom and their reputation.
In the State of California, depending on the type of drug crime you are accused of, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges. Some of the drugs that are illegal and are considered to be a controlled substance or narcotic by the United States government include cocaine, marijuana, LSD, ecstasy (MDMA), methamphetamine (speed), heroin, PCP and morphine. Also, in some instances drug crimes may even involve legal or illegal prescription drugs.
A drug crime is a very serious offense and can have dire consequences if you are convicted. You could be facing anywhere from up to a year in jail to a lifetime behind bars, including fines, probation, community service, counseling and parole. Hiring a criminal defense attorney may allow for you to avoid the severe penalties that can be imposed, and can also allow for the possibility of alternative sentencing set forth by California Penalty Code 1000 and/or Proposition 36.
The Los Angeles drug crimes attorneys at the Hedding Law Firm are very familiar with all areas of drug crimes cases. Our lawyers have established outstanding relationships with law officials over the years, which is beneficial when developing defense strategies for your case. It is our recommendation that if you are involved with a drug crime that you hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
- What Are The Common Drug Offenses That You Handle?
- What Happens When Someone Is Pulled Over on Suspicion of Using Drugs?
- Can Someone Refuse A Drug Test In A Drug DUI Investigation?
- What Are The Penalties In DUI Drug Cases In LA County?
Did your drug arrest involve being under the influence while driving? This can have serious implications on your driving privileges, ability to obtain work, and long term insurance rate increases. In the state of California, driving under the influence of drugs is punishable under the same laws as alcohol, and is prosecuted as a DUI charge.
The following are considered drug crimes in California:
- Under the Influence
- Marijuana Cultivation
- Drug Possession
- Drug Distribution
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Drug Manufacturing
- Possession for Sale
- Drug Trafficking
- Prescription Drug Fraud
Excellent Felony and Misdemeanor Defense
Often when imposing penalties for a drug crimes case, a judge will look at whether or not your drug crime involved children, whether you have prior offenses and whether any other misdemeanor or felony crimes were committed. If these apply, you can expect to receive enhancement penalties when receiving your sentence. An enhancement penalty is a harsher penalty for your actions and can add time to your sentence.
In making drug busts, officers generally violate search and seizure laws, set up the suspects violating entrapment laws, rely on false tips from informants, mislead judges to obtain search warrants, and arrest people without having sufficient evidence.
Our Los Angeles drug crime lawyers know how to contest the case authorities are trying to bring against you. We assert any and all defenses applicable to your case and fight aggressively on your behalf.
At the Hedding Law Firm, we can explain to you what you should expect for your drug crime accusation and we can also provide you with answers to any questions that you may have. In many cases that involve a drug crime, we have been able to have sentences reduced or charges dropped entirely. Contact us today to speak to a knowledgeable lawyerand determine what the next step should be in protecting your rights and your future.
Need a professional Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer? Contact us today!
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