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Penalties for Selling Drugs in Los Angeles

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Oct 10, 2019

What exactly are the punishments for drug sales in Los Angeles? This has been a constant question over the course of the last twenty-five years of me handling drug-related offenses.

People get caught for selling drugs or possessing drugs to sell them, which is kind of under the same category and under the same umbrella of California's drug laws, and obviously they're worried about going to prison or jail and what their fate is going to be.  Obviously, this is a very scary thing.

Do You Have a Prior Criminal Record?

As far as whether or not you're going to get any custody time, it depends on a number of different factors.  For example, whether you have a criminal record.  If you have a completely clean criminal record, that's at least the beginning of making the argument that you shouldn't have to go to jail or prison.

For at least the last twenty-five years that I've been defending drug cases in Los Angeles, the standard sentence for a first-time possession for sales or sales case is 180 days in county jail and then you would do a percentage of that depending on how crowded the county jails are.

We have seen sentences though that are below that.  We've seen people getting no jail time under the right circumstances, and obviously, in more serious cases, we've seen the prosecutors wanting prison time.

The types of factors that will cause prosecutors to want prison time or to deviate from the standard 180 days on a sales case, is if there's a weapon involved, if there's large quantities of drugs involved, and if there's sophistication involved in the sales or possession for sales case.

How Much and What Type of Drugs are Involved? Weapons?

Basically, they're going to look at how dangerous the person is and how immersed they are in the drug business in deciding how they want to deal with that person.  Sometimes if the case is serious enough, if the case is big enough, if there's enough drugs involved, then the federal government can become involved and the person can be looking at federal custody.

Penalties for Selling Drugs in Los Angeles

There's a chart at the federal level depending on how much quantity of drugs a particular has where they could be exposed to a ten-year mandatory minimum in federal prison.

So, you can see some of these sales cases can get very serious.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, now a law has been passed that if you're selling marijuana illegally that's a misdemeanor, not a felony.

So, obviously in that circumstance you wouldn't be looking at prison time, you'd just potentially be looking at county jail time.

Whereas, some of the other drugs you could be looking at more serious penalties depending on what type of drug it is, how much of the drug you had, whether you're just possessing it to use it or whether you're possessing it to sell it.

Also, whether or not you have a gun or knife in your possession — these are all factors that the prosecutors are looking at when they are given a sales of drugs case in one of the Los Angeles courts.

Los Angeles Drug Sales Defense Lawyer

Prosecutors have their policies, but obviously those policies are tempered against the person's criminal record and exactly what the circumstances are when the person was arrested.  So, your best bet if you're charged with sales is to find an attorney who has handled sales of drugs cases

Especially in the particular court and in front of the particular judge that your case is pending because that attorney will be best suited to see what the parameters are of what you're looking at.

You want to obviously look at the low-end of what you're looking at and also the worse case scenario and you want an attorney that can get you that low end or even get a dismissal if there's an illegal stop, an illegal search or some other illegal activity related to the police seizing the subject drugs that you're being accused of selling or possessing to sell.

So, you need information quick.  Information is power in these type of cases.  Pick up the phone.  Make the call.  I meet with people all the time and help them get through their possession for sales or sales of drug case in Los Angeles county.

Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436
(213) 542-0979

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.