When you're looking at whether or not someone should be charged and convicted of a sales of drugs charge in Los Angeles for example, you have to look at certain key factors.
What the judges look at, what juries ultimately look at if a case is going to go to trial, is a number of key factors related to the case.
For example, was the person actually seen selling drugs to somebody? Obviously, that would be a pretty strong indicator that they are a seller versus a user of drugs.
Don't forget, even if you're both a seller and a user, you can still be convicted of selling drugs and the prosecutors treat that typically just the same as somebody who is just selling drugs.
The biggest problem they have is they're trying to protect addicts and users from becoming hurt, having issues related to what can happen when you ingest drugs.
A lot of people overdose. They become addicted. Their lives are ruined, and that's really what the prosecutors, police and judges are looking out for.
Did Suspect Have Scales to Weigh Drugs?
Another factor that would be indicative of somebody who's selling is if they had scales to weigh the drugs. A lot of my clients will argue that they have scales because I'm a user and I want to make
sure that I get the right amount of drugs for my money.
I certainly get that argument, and if all you have is scales and nothing else, then you might be able to get away with that argument.
But if you have other factors that are indicative of selling drugs, it's going to be a pretty tough roach to hoe, to just say that you're trying to weigh your drugs.
Obviously, prosecutors are cognizant of that argument and they're going to try to argue against that. They're going to try to bring other factors against you.
“Pays and Owes” – Drug Ledger
Another indicator that someone is selling drugs versus just a straight possession of drugs would be what we call “pays and owes.”
That's basically, a little ledger and the police will usually find this when they execute a search warrant, or on their person or in their car, which indicates who owes them money for drugs.
Obviously, if you're a drug seller, you're going to have to keep track of money that might be owed because users don't always have the ability to pay everything right off the top.
So, a lot of times sellers will have to keep pays and owes so they can keep track of people who owe them money. So, if they find pays and owes, that would certainly be indicative of someone who is selling drugs.
Cell Phone Text Messages
Another big thing that I see in today's society is they grab the alleged drug dealer's cell phone and try to look for evidence that they're selling.
Texts from people who are asking for drugs and also upon arrest, a lot of times if someone leaves their phone on, people will start to call them and text them asking for drugs.
Obviously, that would be an indicator that you've got someone who's selling drugs versus just using drugs for their own personal use.
So, drug activity on their phone — whether it be from phone calls or text messages, is another way to show that someone is selling drugs versus using them.
Amount and Weight of Drugs
Multiple drugs would be an argument for the prosecutors in drug crime cases. If someone is found with multiple drugs, typically they're not going to be using all of those drugs.
They're probably going to be selling them to various people, depending on what the individuals want, drug-wise. So, multiple drugs would be a factor in making an argument that someone is selling versus using.
The amount and weight of drugs found, in other words, if you have thousands of dollars' worth of drugs on you, you're going to have pretty tough argument to say you're going to use all that for yourself.
The prosecutors are going to argue that the reason you have so much is so that you can sell it. So, the amount of drugs is certainly another indicator that someone is selling drugs versus using them for their own person use.
Of course, all these things I'm mentioning can be refuted, can be argued against, depending on what evidence the defense can bring to bear to try and argue against some of these things that the prosecutors are going to bring up.
Defenses for Drug Sales Cases in California
First, you have to know how they're going to attack you and then you can start to build a defense to potentially argue that you're not a seller; you're a user.
Why is that important some people might ask? Because getting convicted is much more serious than getting a straight possession case.
Because there's a lot of Propositions and things used and set up to help people who are addicted to drugs — help them clean their record, help them stay out of jail, help them stay out of prison.
So, that's why it's so important if you can, to try and differentiate someone who is selling from someone who is using. The user is going to get treated much better than the seller.
So, we're always looking to try to utilize that argument if possible. Sometimes it's not possible; and sometimes you're going to have to take the hit on the sales case.
But, certainly looking at all of these factors is something that will help us make a decision and best defend you in a criminal case where you're charged with sales, possession for sales or anything related to that, like for example, transportation of drugs for the purpose of sales.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.