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Drug Related Crimes FAQ

If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of drug related crimes, don’t wait for charges to be filed. Call Dan E. Chambers now for help. Dan can answer all your questions about drug related crimes and penalties. We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions and answers here, but feel free to contact Chambers Law Firm if you require additional information or guidance.

What types of drug charges could I face in California?

The California Health & Safety Code defines many different types of drug crimes including:

  • Possession—having any type of narcotic such as cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, meth, marijuana, opium—or any prescription drug that you do not have a prescription for—on your person or within your control
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia—having items such as an opium pipe, bong, needle, or cocaine spoon
  • Possession for Sale—having sufficient quantity of an illegal drug and/or drugs packaged in such a way that indicates intent to sell
  • Sale or Transportation—actually selling drugs or bringing drugs into California in any way
  • Manufacturing—creating drugs such as meth, PCP, or hashish
  • Use—being under the influence of any illegal drug or a legal drug for which you do not have a prescription
  • DUI of Drugs—driving while impaired by the use of any illegal or legally prescribed drug

Isn’t marijuana legal in California?

Although in some respects California drug law has been relaxed with respect to marijuana, it is still illegal to possess this drug unless you have a medical marijuana prescription or are the official caretaker of someone who does. Even with a prescription, you may still end up facing drug charges if you grow too many plants or have more than half a pound of processed marijuana in your possession, unless you can prove this is medically necessary. You can also face drug charges for crimes like driving while under the influence of marijuana or smoking too close to a school zone even if you have a prescription.

What if I only have a little bit of marijuana?

For individuals without medical prescriptions, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana will be considered an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor. This means that there is no penalty other than a fine which may not exceed $100.

Will my conviction lead to jail time?

Not necessarily. Drug court and drug diversion programs like Prop 36 and PC 1000 provide the option of alternative sentencing to offenders who are convicted of certain nonviolent drug related crimes. In many cases the conviction can actually be dismissed in exchange for completing an eligible drug treatment program.

I think I am the victim of entrapment in my drug case. How do I prove it?

Entrapment is a possible defense in some drug cases, particularly those involving sales of drugs. To establish entrapment, the defendant must show that the law enforcement officer (or his or her agent, such as an informant) engaged in conduct that would cause a normally law-abiding person to commit the crime. Examples include badgering, persuasion by flattery, coaxing, repeated and insistent requests, or an appeal to friendship or sympathy. A successful entrapment defense is highly dependent on the facts, and a thorough analysis of the facts by a skilled drug crimes defense attorney is required.

What drug crimes are covered by Prop 47?

Health and Safety Code sections 11350 (possession of certain controlled substances, usually cocaine), 11357 (possession of concentrated cannabis) and 11377 (possession of certain controlled substances, most commonly methamphetamine).

What is Prop 36?

Prop 36 is a sentencing scheme that went into effect in 2001 and is contained in Penal Code sections 1210 and 1210.1. Prop 36 applies to persons convicted of “nonviolent drug possession offenses” as that term is defined in the Penal Code. If eligible, a Prop 36 defendant must be given probation at the time of sentencing. A jail sentence is not permitted. The focus of Prop 36 is rehabilitation and treatment for drug users. However, the statute has many exceptions, and is a complicated law. Consult Chambers Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case with a skilled drug crimes defense attorney and to determine your eligibility.

Which is better, Prop 36 or PC 1000?

While Prop 36 is very beneficial because it opens the alternative sentencing options up to more offenders, in general if you have a choice between Prop 36 and PC 1000 you should choose PC 1000. While PC 1000 will result in an automatic dismissal after completing the treatment program, in a Prop 36 case the judge gets to decide whether or not to approve a dismissal. Plus, Prop 36 may carry formal probation with all the restrictions that entails.

What is “deferred entry of judgment” or “diversion” in my drug case?

Deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) or diversion is a mechanism that allows defendants charged with certain drug offenses to enter a guilty plea, enter and complete a program and, once completed, allows the defendant to withdraw his or her guilty plea and have the case dismissed. The defendant can then state that he or she has never been convicted of a crime. The program generally lasts about 6 months, and the defendant is eligible for a dismissal in 18 months. The offenses that are eligible for DEJ are simple possession for personal use, possession of drug paraphernalia, being under the influence of a controlled substance, and several other drug offenses. In order to take advantage of DEJ, the defendant must meet several criteria, such as no previous drug-related convictions, no prior felony convictions within the previous five years, no previous grant of DEJ and several other requirements pursuant to Penal Code section 1000(a). Contact Chambers Law Firm for further details on eligibility.

Do the police need to show you a search warrant when they serve it on you at your house?

No, they do not. There is no legal requirement that the police show you the warrant they are serving at the time of the search.

What is a DRE?

DRE stands for Drug Recognition Expert. It generally refers to a police officer who has received special training concerning investigations involving drug use and being under the influence of controlled substances. The designation is the subject of much controversy because the training that is received has certain flaws that can be exposed during cross-examination of that officer.

How do I know if I’m at risk for DUI of drugs?

While there is a legal limit for the amount of alcohol you can have in your system while driving, there is no specific limit for legal or illegal drugs. If a blood or urine test establishes you have drugs in your system, you could be charged with DUI of drugs, especially if you have displayed any behaviors that would lead an arresting officer to believe you are using drugs.

How can a drug crimes defense attorney help?

An experienced attorney can help make sure you take advantage of any drug diversion programs you are eligible for. They can also help to seek a reduced sentence, the dropping of charges, or a not guilty verdict by undermining the prosecution’s evidence against you. This may include activities like scrutinizing police procedure during arrest & evidence gathering for violations of entrapment or search and seizure laws, as well as contesting the results of any drug testing that may have been done in a DUI case.