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How Can You Defend Crimes Committed Inside a Jail or Prison?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Jul 04, 2022

Many crimes are generated where someone is in custody, either at Los Angeles Men's County Jail, Wayside, Twin Towers, or one of the surrounding prisons.  They commit some offense in jail or prison, then they're sent to court.

Defending Crimes Committed Inside a California Jail or Prison

Whether it be stabbing somebody with a shank, attacking somebody physically, doing something to one of the deputies, or moving drugs in the jail is one that occurs all the time.  I've also seen people doing other things who work inside the prisons.

I've defended people charged with crimes inside the jail, whether it be the inmates, the deputies, or any support staff.

I'm very familiar with how these procedures work, what it takes to defend the case, how to get evidence to defend your client, and how to work out resolutions with prosecutors if that's the right thing to do.

So, if you or a loved one is charged with a crime in one of the county jails in Los Angeles or is in one of the courts in LA and is looking for an attorney because you're being accused of committing a crime within one of the jails or prisons, you've come to the right place. Our Los Angeles criminal lawyers will review this topic further below.

Bringing Contraband into a Jail – Penal Code 4573.5 PC

There are numerous items that inmates housed in jail or prison are prohibited from possessing. Some are for safety reasons, while others are not allowed due to the inmate's punishment.

Bringing Contraband into a Jail – Penal Code 4573.5 PC

Bringing prohibited items into a jail or prison can result in criminal charges for illegal contraband under California Penal Code 4573.5 PC. This felony offense could lead to prison time and hefty fines.

Contraband is described as alcohol or any drugs other than controlled substances and includes over-the-counter medication. Controlled substances are illicit drugs that the regulated by the government.

Anyone can face a charge of bringing contraband to a jail or prison regardless of who they are, such as a jail guard bringing drugs into jail to sell to inmates.

PC 4573.5 applies to anyone that often enters California jails or prisons, such as visitors to a prison, guards who work there, and prisoners in a correctional facility.

Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense if you are charged with delivering contraband to a prisoner. These laws apply to any jail, prison, or facility operated by the California Department of Corrections or local county jails.

What Are Some Related Crimes?

Some of these related criminal offenses are listed below:

  • Penal Code 4573 PC: Bringing drugs into a jail or prison. This law is specific to controlled substances like heroin, cocaine, and oxycodone. If convicted, you are facing a felony that carries up to four years in state prison.
  • Penal Code 4550 PC: Rescuing a Prisoner. This is the statute used by prosecutors if you help someone escape prison, jail, or from the lawful custody of an officer. If the prisoner faced the death penalty, they could be sentenced to two, three, or four years in state prison. All other scenarios include up to one year in county jail.
  • Health and Safety Code 11350 HS – possessing a controlled substance,
  • Health and Safety Code 11351 HS – drug possession for sales,
  • Health and Safety Code 11377(a) HS – possess methamphetamine,
  • Health and Safety Code 11378 HS – possess meth for sale,
  • Health and Safety Code 11379 HS – sale or transportation of meth,
  • Health and Safety Code 11173 HS – prescription fraud,
  • Health and Safety Code 11364 HS – possess of drug paraphernalia,
  • Health and Safety Code 11352 HS – sale or transportation of drugs,
  • Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS– manufacturing a controlled substance,
  • Health and Safety Code 11370.9 HS – money laundering in drug crimes,
  • Health and Safety Code 11550 HS – under the influence of drugs.

Initial Strategy Meeting to Review the Details

If our law firm is retained early in the case process, it might be possible to start negotiations with the District Attorney's Office to convince them not to file formal criminal charges in the first place.

This is commonly known as “prefiling intervention” and entails advocacy with law enforcement detectives and the filing prosecutor to get the charges reduced or entirely dismissed before the first court date.

In any prefiling intervention, timing is crucial as we have to intervene with the people who make the decisions before a formal filing. If you or a family member has been accused of a crime involving jail or prison in California, contact us to review the details and legal options.

Pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  If you're a family member, we can meet and discuss the case and get everything together.  If you d decide to hire me, I'll go out and see your loved one, get all the discovery in the case, talk to the prosecutor, and get their version of events so we can get a strategy together.

But, judges and prosecutors take these jail and prison cases where crimes are committed very seriously.  So obviously, you want an attorney who is familiar with dealing with these cases and knows how to deal with the prosecutors because usually, the prosecutors who deal with these cases in jail or prison are the ones that that's all they do.  They don't do any other crimes.

It's a special unit within the DA's office in LA county, so you want to make sure you have an attorney who is familiar with dealing with that unit and knows some of the defenses that can be deployed when crimes are purported to be committed inside a jail or prison.

You need a defense lawyer with experience, a good track record, and who knows how to deal with the judge or prosecutor related to this particular case. So, if you need help, pick up the phone now.  Make the call now.

Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding if you have a case related to a crime in a jail or prison in LA county. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, California, and we offer a free case consultation by phone or using the contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.