Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
As you might expect, drug trafficking is a serious offense under California law. The particular drug you are alleged to be trafficking in, as well as the nature of your actions and other factors, will make a difference in the specific statute under which you are charged. Those factors will also affect the potential penalty if you are convicted. The first step, though, is to define what is meant by drug trafficking.
What is Drug Trafficking in California?
Drug trafficking under the California Health and Safety Code includes the manufacture, sale, giving away, offering to import or transport certain controlled substances, or any attempt to do so. If you are arrested for drug trafficking, you will be charged with a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison if you are convicted.
In terms of sentencing, under HSC 11352, there are variations in the potential punishment. For example, if you are convicted of transporting a controlled substance from one county in the state to another “noncontiguous” county, the penalty could be up to 9 years in prison. In either case, you could be fined up to $20,000. Moreover, you could receive a longer sentence based on the presence of aggravating factors. Those factors include, among others:
- Transporting relatively large amounts of some drugs.
- Selling or offering to sell drugs to a minor.
- Selling or offering to sell drugs near a school zone.
Other factors could also increase the severity of the sentence imposed for drug trafficking.
To summarize, you can be convicted of felony drug trafficking by selling certain drugs, transporting them with intent to sell or distribute, giving them away, administering a controlled substance to another person, or an attempt to take any of these actions.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Even absent the presence of drugs, it is illegal under HSC 11364 to possess what is commonly referred to as “drug paraphernalia.” This includes a number of devices that may be used for injecting and smoking various controlled substances. Some of these devices include glass and metal pipes, spoons, and bongs. It specifically includes any “device” or instrument used with narcotics. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor under California law. Unlike the law in some states, California does not consider fentanyl testing strips (to detect the presence of fentanyl) to be drug paraphernalia.
Defenses to Drug Sale and Trafficking Charges
The fact that you have been charged with possession and/or trafficking in certain illegal drugs is by no means the end of the story. The state has the burden of proving every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether the charge is simple possession, sale, transportation or other related offenses, there are a number of defenses that may apply in your case including, among others, the following:
- Charged with transporting drugs in violation of HS 11352. Although drugs may have been found in your car, you may assert that they were for your personal use.
- The police failed to advise you of your rights, leading to an illegal search and seizure. Anything found during that illegal search will be inadmissible at trial, including any drugs seized as a result of the search.
- Drugs may be discovered in your vehicle or your home, but you were unaware that someone had placed them there.
- The arrest was the result of a police sting, but the actions of the police actually caused the commission of the crime. In other words, the police actions led to conduct on your part which you would not have undertaken otherwise.
Other defenses may also apply, depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case.
Los Angeles Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer
A drug sale or trafficking charge carries serious consequences if you are convicted. These are felony offenses in California and can lead to a sentence of many years in prison. In addition, any drug charge, but particularly drug trafficking, involves more than the risk of being sentenced to prison. A conviction will affect your family, your future employment, and just above every aspect of your life.
To make sure that all your potential defenses have been explored, and that any and all weakness in the prosecution’s case are discovered and developed, contact Chris Bou Saeed at CBS Law in Los Angeles. Chris will provide you with the benefit of his experience in defending drug charges. He may be able to have your case dismissed or, in an appropriate case, arrange a plea leading to informal or formal probation. Call Chris for a free consultation at (213) 800-8005