Are you facing drug possession in Los Angeles? In California, the law applies to a variety of drugs, and this criminal offense can be tried as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. This means you may be facing jail time, and it would benefit you to speak with a drug possession defense attorney in LA.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we have fought some of the harshest criminal charges and won. We excel in creating a solid defense, challenging the prosecution, and helping you avoid harsh consequences. Consult with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to start building your case.
Get Help Understanding Your Drug Crime Charges
Drug possession is defined by California’s Health & Safety Code Section 11350. Under that law, unless you have a legitimate medical prescription, it is illegal to:
- Have a controlled substance on your person (in a pocket, hidden on your body, etc.) or
- Under your control (such as in your car, home, gym locker, or otherwise in your possession)
However, just being near the drugs does not count as drug possession, even if you have access to them. For example, if officers arrest you on a park bench and drugs are hidden under the bench, it does not count as possession unless someone sees you put them there.
Our drug possession defense lawyers in Los Angeles can review your case for free to go over your legal rights and determine your best defense.
For a free legal consultation with a drug possession defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
How Criminal Defense Legal Representation Impacts Your Case
Navigating complex criminal allegations without legal experience rarely leads to positive outcomes. Constitutional rights become vulnerable without proper counsel. Well-intentioned admissions made to police officers under pressure can prove reasonable suspicion and jeopardize your case.
It is the role of your experienced criminal defense attorney to adeptly protect you at every phase, providing invaluable legal advice and advocacy. We guide clients to avoid self-incrimination missteps through silence and ensure procedural rules are followed.
Illegal searches and faulty lab testing won’t stand a chance. We exploit technical errors to suppress damning evidence, dismantling the state’s case. Our courtroom skills and negotiation tactics aim to uncover doubts and inconsistencies to achieve charge dismissals or plea bargains limiting penalties.
Los Angeles Drug Possession Defense Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Exploring the Legal Process for Your Drug Possession Charges
Facing drug possession charges sets off an arduous legal process in criminal court. Successfully navigating each stage requires experience and diligence.
- After arrest, police reports go to prosecutors, who file formal charges, leading to an arraignment and plea entry.
- Following pretrial motion hearings challenging evidence for drug crimes, cases typically end through guilty pleas and negotiated plea agreements.
- If no plea deal is made, your case may advance to jury selection and trials, where skilled cross-examination aims to create doubt around alleged crimes.
- Guilty verdicts lead to sentencing hearings establishing penalties.
Having an advocate guide you through each phase is invaluable, as the justice system overwhelms unassisted individuals. We translate legalese and explain every proceeding while fighting for your best interests. Before entering any plea with lasting consequences, your attorney will gauge prospects at trial versus plea bargain outcomes to inform decisions.
Trust us to handle communication with the judge, prosecutors, and probation officers for you while standing by your side during each court appearance. Justice moves slowly, but with knowledge and dedicated counsel, you can emerge on the other side of this painful chapter stronger and looking ahead.
Understand the Penalties for Drug Possession in California
Despite changes to drug possession laws in California, the penalties are still harsh if you are convicted. Penalties for drug possession include:
- Up to one year in county jail
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Having a criminal record
Unfortunately, you may encounter more severe penalties. If you have previously been convicted of a crime, drug possession may violate the terms of your probation. You may be sentenced to stricter terms or have your probation revoked.
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Legal Defenses Used Against Criminal Drug Possession Charges
Our possession defense attorneys in Los Angeles can discuss your situation to establish what defense best suits your case. There are several strong defenses, such as:
- You didn’t know the drugs were there: Drugs found in your car or home may not have been yours, for example, if a friend borrowed the car or you had a house party recently. It is not a possession if you didn’t know.
- You didn’t know what the drugs were: This is possible if there were pills in your home, but you didn’t know what they were, or a friend asked you to hold onto something for you without telling you what it was.
- You didn’t possess the drugs: Being found near drugs is not a crime. If they were not under your control, you can’t be convicted.
- You had a valid prescription, even if the prescription was not with you at the time you were arrested.
- The drugs were found in an illegal search: If the police committed an illegal search and seizure, it doesn’t matter what they found—our Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
Unfortunately, you can’t simply claim that this is what happened and expect to walk free. If you are facing a drug charge, nothing is more important than having a legal professional on your side. The Simmrin Law Group knows how to assemble the evidence, argue your case, and construct a legal basis for the defense.
An Alternative to Avoid a Conviction For Possession of Drugs
Alternative programs like drug court, probation, and deferred entry of judgment can lead to dismissed charges for those meeting rehabilitation requirements.
You could also qualify for a “drug diversion.” This means that you can go to drug treatment instead of jail, and your jail sentence will be waived if you complete treatment. You should ask your lawyer if this is a possibility for you.
FAQs With Drug Possession Attorneys
We encourage all questions to be answered in the initial consultation to fit the details of your unique case. Our Los Angeles drug crimes attorneys have decades of experience and legal knowledge to help you during this chaotic time.
What Is Considered a Controlled Material in Los Angeles?
The law defines many substances as “controlled” substances, even though some are not nearly as harmful as others. This may include legitimate medications if you don’t have a prescription for them.
Some controlled substances include:
- Depressants, such as amobarbital, PCP, PCM, lysergic acid
- Hallucinogens, including mescaline, peyote, psilocybin (mushrooms), GHB, cocaine, or cocaine base
- Opiates and their derivatives, such as codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), psilocybin, etc.
- Steroids of any kind, such as testosterone, andro isoxazole, nandrolone, ketamine
- Stimulants, such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, dimethylamphetamine, benzphetamine, MDMA/ecstasy
Depending on which substance you supposedly had, you may be charged with a generic drug possession charge or a specific drug charge. For example, possessing stimulants such as methamphetamine will result in a specific methamphetamine charge.
Does Having Marijuana Count as Drug Possession in California?
In most cases, having marijuana will not count as drug possession. Technically, marijuana is still a controlled substance, but it has been decriminalized in California. You should not face a drug possession charge if you:
- I had only a small amount of marijuana (one ounce of leaf or eight grams of concentrate)
- You have a medical marijuana card and were following the rules for medicinal use
However, you can still face serious legal consequences if you are accused of growing or selling marijuana or if you are charged under California’s concentrated cannabis laws. And you’ll need to speak to a Los Angeles drug possession defense attorney for guidance.
Is Drug Possession Always Charged as a Felony?
When California’s drug possession law was originally passed in 1970, it set possession as a felony for nearly all cases – regardless of the amount, your criminal history, or the circumstances of the case. It also mandated a maximum felony sentence.
This law resulted in terrible injustices and unfair incarceration. It was a disaster for the state of California, and we continue to see many of its effects today.
Now, although the punishments for drug possession still outweigh the crime, the law has been reigned in – thanks to a 2014 referendum known as Proposition 47. This allows most drug possession charges to be treated as misdemeanors.
In most cases, you can only be charged with a felony if you have previous convictions for:
- Sexual assault or other sex crimes
- Manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, or similar violent crimes
- Gun crimes
A lawyer from our law firm can explain more about how drug offenses are determined to be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Is It Necessary to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Simple Possession?
You may be charged with simple drug possession if you are found with a small amount of drugs apparently for personal use, not for distribution. This charge is a misdemeanor, and as such, some people don’t bother to hire a lawyer.
However, a misdemeanor charge should still be taken seriously. Hiring a Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer may allow you to avoid fines and jail time. Working with our legal team can benefit you by:
- Allowing you to participate in a drug diversion program
- Having your charges reduced or dismissed
- Getting your charges resolved in court
Protect your future with legal assistance. Teaming up with an experienced attorney will ensure your case gets the full consideration it deserves.
How Effective is a Public Defender in a Drug Possession Case?
The effectiveness of a public defender in a drug possession case can vary. Public defenders are dedicated legal professionals, but their heavy caseloads and limited resources often impact their results. With a criminal defense law firm by your side, you will receive comprehensive legal support tailored to fit your interests at all times.
Talk to a Los Angeles Drug Possession Lawyer for Free
A drug possession conviction could upset your life for years to come. Consult with a drug possession defense lawyer in Los Angeles from the Simmrin Law Group. We don’t believe California’s drug laws are fair—and we will work to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Let our team put our knowledge to work for you. We offer complimentary case reviews to help you get started. Please fill out our online form or call us 24/7 to schedule your free consultation today.