There are a number of different factors that determine whether someone is possessing cocaine or heroin for the purposes of selling it versus for their own personal use. This topic has been debated for decades. Some of the factors have to do with the amount of the narcotics involved. The more you have, the stronger the argument is that you're selling it to other people. Another factor is how you are possessing the drugs. If you have it in a bunch of different baggies, it would certainly be indicative of trying to sell it. Other factors would be whether you have scales to weigh the narcotics, whether you have a bunch of cash from selling the drugs, whether the police observe you selling the drugs, and whether you have multiple types of narcotics.
Sometimes, sellers have evidence on their phone of people texting and calling them, trying to buy drugs from them. They also keep what's called pays and owes, which is a record of people who owe them money or people they sell to. You're not going to be able to just look at one factor to determine whether someone had the intent to distribute. You are going to look at the totality of the circumstances. That's why it's so important to consult with an attorney. I can give you an accurate idea of the likelihood of prosecutors being able to get a conviction for sales versus for possession in your case.
What Are The Potential Penalties For A Conviction Of Possession With Intent To Sell Charges?
There's a huge difference between the punishment for possession with the intent to sell and simple possession of any drug. The authorities believe that people who sell narcotics are much more dangerous than those who are buying them. If you are selling drugs, you're looking at prison time. If you have a gun and you're selling drugs, you're looking at even more prison time. A lot of times, people are sentenced to prison in Los Angeles County for drug sales but they don't end up actually going to prison. They end up serving a prison sentence in the county jail. Whether that's easier or not is debatable because county jail is pretty rough in Los Angeles County; it's overcrowded and there is a lot of gang activity.
When you're selling drugs, they put you in a different category than someone who is just using drugs. Users can avail themselves of programs and can avoid conviction. Society, judges, and prosecutors are much more apt to give users a break than someone who is selling drugs. People who are selling narcotics are viewed as dangerous and as people who are hurting other individuals in society, so judges go out of their way to punish those individuals. If you're charged with the sale of a drug, you're going to want to talk to an attorney as soon as possible, so they can start to turn the tide in your favor.
What Can An Experienced Defense Attorney Do If I've Been Charged With Possession For Sale Of Cocaine and Heroin?
One thing that can be done, if you've been charged with selling narcotics, is humanizing you. We can get some information about you and your background. Maybe you've got a job, a family, or other things in your life that are not necessarily things we would think someone who sells drugs would have. Perhaps you've done some community work and you get a letter written from a pastor. What I'm trying to do, when I meet with the prosecutors and judges, is to show them that my client is a person who has value to society. I may want to explain to them why or how you've gotten yourself into this type of activity.
There are also situations where someone might have a defense and be able to argue that it's a straight possession case versus a sales case, or that there was an illegal stop or an illegal search. What we need to do first is identify what type of a case this is and what your defense is going to be. Then, we can start to put the pieces together in order to give you a good defense or to mitigate the damage. When it comes to those types of offenses, the authorities are much harsher on individuals they view as a danger to society versus someone who is an addict and is in need of help.
How Much Heroin Or Cocaine Is Enough To Charge Me With Possession For Sale Versus Simple Possession?
The question of whether a person will be charged with possession of a drug versus intent to sell that drug depends on how much someone would use as either a casual user or an addict. Once you have an idea of that, you can start to evaluate whether the amount of drug that was found on a particular person is indicative of sales or straight possession. Typically, individuals who are selling drugs are also going to have other items related to sales, like scales or packaging materials.
Can Deferred Adjudication Be a Possible Outcome In My Cocaine And Heroin Possession Case In LA County?
Deferred entry of judgment is something that came into play quite some time ago in an effort to try to help individuals who are using drugs. When it began, deferred entry of judgment was one of the only things that was available versus getting a conviction and having a criminal record. What the court is determining in this type of a scenario is whether the person is eligible to avail themselves of this type of program. They're going to look at their criminal record and whether or not they've used deferred entry of judgment within the past five years.
After determining the person's eligibility, the court will look at the person's suitability. If the person is using drugs and they are selling drugs to support their habit, they might not be a person who is suitable for deferred entry of judgment. They don't want drug dealers taking a program alongside people who are trying to get help to get themselves get clean. The benefit of deferred entry of judgement is that if you can successfully complete the program, you're going to be able to take back any guilty plea. The court will enter a not guilty plea and dismiss the case. If you plead guilty, you start to do the program, and then you start using drugs again, you may not get another chance on deferred entry of judgment. They can simply put you in jail.
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