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Severe Penalties for Drug Trafficking Cases in California

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Feb 11, 2020

Why are Criminal Defendants Facing So Much Time on Drug Trafficking Cases in Los Angeles?

Both the state and federal authorities in Los Angeles and across the country are trying to stamp-out those people who distribute illegal drugs throughout LA and throughout the country.

To give readers a better understanding on why defendant's are receiving a substantial amount of jail time for drug trafficking cases, our criminal lawyers are providing an overview below.

Health & Safety Code 11370.4 – Drug Weight Enhancement

One of the big weapons that they have is what is referred to as a weight enhancement.  In other words, if you're transporting narcotics for the purposes of sales, depending on how much drugs you're moving, that will give you an idea of what your sentence is going to be. See CALCRIM 2300 – Sale, Transportation, etc., of Controlled Substance.

Health & Safety Code 11370.4 talks about some of the weight enhancements that can apply in a particular case.  For example, if you have over 10 kilos of cocaine, you could be looking at a 10-year weight enhancement which means you would get an extra 10 years on top of whatever sentence you would get for the underlying offense which is usually Health & Safety Code Section 11352 – Possession for Sales of Drugs.

California Health & Safety Code 11370.4 - Drug Weight Enhancement

There's also a 15 year weight enhancement if you have over 20 kilos of cocaine.  These weight enhancements can obviously change the complexion of a case and cause the person to get a lot more time than they normally would for just selling a small amount of narcotics. See CALCRIM 3200 – Controlled Substance: Quantity.

The sad thing about it is, people who are acting as mules in a narcotic trafficking business are looking at these huge sentences even though they're not profiting nearly as much as the individuals who are selling the drugs, the individuals who are manufacturing or growing the drugs, and ultimately, the individuals who are making the big money on these drug crime cases.

Federal Mandatory Minimum Penalties

Sometimes people are paid as little as $1,000 to $1,500 to move drugs worth many thousands of dollars.  They get caught and are hit with these weight enhancements in Los Angeles county related to drug charges and they're looking at huge sentences at even the state level.

The federal level has the same issue with people looking at a 10-year mandatory minimum for having over 5 kilos of cocaine for example.  So, you start to get an idea in Los Angeles county if you get caught moving large amounts of drugs you're facing many years in prison and you're going to want to get the best criminal defense attorney you can find.

These weight enhancements and Health & Safety Codes that mandate huge prison sentences are not only found in Los Angeles; they can be found across California.  People are getting prosecuted in Orange County, San Bernardino county, Bakersfield and all over the United States for moving large amounts of drugs.

Harsh Penalties for Large-Scale Drug Transactions

The reason behind this is because law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, the legislature have decided that the only way to stop big amounts of drugs that are filtering into communities across the United States is to hand-out harsh sentences.

That way, people who are involved with these drug transactions realize the risk involved with moving drugs and putting drugs in the community.

So, if you're charged with a major narcotics case in Los Angeles county, San Bernardino county, Bakersfield, Orange county or any of the counties in California and you need someone who has experience — having done this for 26 years — pick up the phone.  Make the call and we'll start the process of getting your drug-related offense resolved.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (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.