The prosecution of drug cases has increased dramatically over the last two decades. Despite the complete failure of the "War on Drugs" prosecutors continue to prosecute drug crimes in increasing numbers.
I have successfully represented my clients in drug cases involving:
- Possession of Drugs
- Possession of Drugs for Sale
- Manufacturing of Drugs
The crimes listed above are included in various criminal statutes found in the Health and Safety Code. Possession of cocaine, for instance, is found in a different section than possession of methamphetamine. Each crime (possession, possession for sale, distribution, transportation, etc.) has a different section depending on the drug involved. If you have any questions regarding the charges in your drug case or the drug case of a loved one, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Following is a list of some illegal drugs:
- Crack Cocaine
- Ecstasy (MDMA)
- Hashish (and Hashish Oil)
My Strategy in Drug Cases: Pretrial Motion to Dismiss
The first thing I look for in a drug case are mistakes. Mistakes that the police made. I ask myself: did the police have the legal right to stop my client? Was the detention too long under the circumstances of the stop? Did the police have the legal right to search my client? Did the police have the legal right to arrest my client? Did the police violate my client?s Miranda rights?
There are many other questions and issues that I analyze in preparing each of my cases. If I think we have any chance at being successful I will file the motion and try to get the evidence excluded and the charges dropped. Sometimes, when I cannot convince the Judge to drop the charges after the motion, the DA realizes how weak their case is and I can get a better disposition for my client.
There have been many drug cases I have had dismissed. There also have been many cases where I have convinced the DA to reduce a felony possession charge to a misdemeanor.
If I am not able to get evidence suppressed or the case dismissed, then I actively negotiate for a settlement that includes an alternative to jail.
Alternatives to Jail
There are many alternatives to jail in certain drug cases. I actively seek out any jail alternative for my clients. Most drug crimes, including being under the influence of a controlled substance (HS 11550), carry a mandatory minimum of 90 days in county jail. The more serious the crime the more serious the penalty. A case involving possession of a gram of cocaine is treated less serious than possession of a kilogram. Possession of cocaine is treated less seriously than possession of cocaine for sale or transportation of cocaine. In a case where the charges cannot be dismissed I look for jail alternatives so that my clients do not have to go to jail and so that they can deal with their drug addiction.
Depending on the charge in your case you may be eligible for some of the following drug programs:
Diversion: PC 1000 - This program includes counseling and some drug testing. If the program issuccessfully competed, the case is automatically expunged. This program is only available for certain crimes. It is also favorable to Prop. 36 because this results in an automatic expungement.
Prop. 36: This is a court supervised drug abuse treatment program. In this program you have to go to individual and group drug counseling. You also have to do random weekly drug testing along with weekly court review hearings. Successful completion of the program results in no jail time. Violations of the rules of the program result in jail time. There is no automatic expungement of this conviction upon successful completion. This program is available to more criminal drug charges than Diversion
Drug Court: Drug Court is not available in some counties. To get into drug court you do not have to plead guilty first. In Diversion and Prop. 36 you have to plead guilty. In this program, if you successfully complete the requirements, the charges are dismissed and there is never a conviction. In a Diversion program you are convicted while you are in the program but the conviction is later expunged (erased).
Penalties for Drug Charges
Penalties for Drug Crimes can be very serious or can be nothing at all. It is difficult to generalize and say what the penalties for drug crimes are. An important factor in determining the severity of the charge is the type and quantity of the illegal drugs involved. Another factor in determining the seriousness of the charge is whether the drugs are for personal use or for sale. A drug offense may be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the quantity and type of drug found by law enforcement. Another very important factor is whether or not you have a prior criminal record. A person charged with a drug crime who has a prior criminal record could receive a greater punishment than a person without a criminal record.
There are cases where criminal defendants charged with drug crimes never do a day in jail. There are other cases, involving selling and transporting large quantities of cocaine/heroin/methamphetamine where criminal defendants are serving long prison sentences. Because the potential penalties are so serious, it is critical to obtain a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact The Law Office of Joshua Webb today to arrange a free consultation to discuss your case.