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Los Angeles Drug Crimes Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyers Aggressively Defending People Facing Drug Crime Charges

In California, drug crimes are one of the most frequently prosecuted crimes on both the state and federal level. Eisner Gorin aggressively defends people who are facing charges of drug possession, transportation, manufacturing, sales and being under the influence of drugs. 

Have you been accused of a drug crime in Los Angeles County dealing with the possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, or ecstasy?

Perhaps you are under criminal for dealing with prescription drugs. See related information: Solicitation to Commit a Crime.

Regardless of the type of case, you will need an experienced Los Angeles drug crime lawyer to take charge of your case as soon as possible. California has some of the most complex controlled substance laws in the country.

You can be charged for a variety of activities involving illegal drugs. This includes drug possession, sales, distribution, transportation, cultivation, and manufacturing. Some drug crime cases are a "wobbler," meaing they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony crime.

The Los Angeles County prosecutor will charge a drug case based on the type and quantity of drugs, whether they were for personal use or for sale, and your criminal history.  

If arrested, there is a good chance you will have to appear for an arraignment, which is the first court appearance. We can help you decide whether to accept a plea bargain in your case and help you at the sentencing hearing.

If you or a family member is facing a drug-related case, contact the criminal defense law firm of Eisner Gorin LLP immediately.

We understand the most common defenses in California criminal cases. We can help you with a bail reduction motion in California criminal cases.

Our attorneys know how to defend serious drug trafficking and sales cases in local and federal courts and will aggressively fight to the best possible outcome, including having the charged reduced or dismissed through pretrial motions

One way to resolve a criminal case in California State courts is through a diversion program, known as deferred entry of judgment, which allows get you charges dismissed with no conviction. We can also determine if you are eligible for a California drug court.

See related: Alternative Sentencing in California and Electronic Monitoring as a jail alternative. Let's examine the most common drug crimes cases in Los Angeles County below.

Possession of Marijuana 

California Health and Safety Code 11357 is the most common drug charge is Los Angeles. Most recently, Proposition 64 radically reshaped the illegality of marijuana-related conduct as well as the penalties associated with unlawful marijuana-related activity.

Having a prescription for medical marijuana is a defense to marijuana possession charge.

The unlawful possession of marijuana is punished based on the age of the defendant, the amount of the controlled drug substance involved, and the setting in which the alleged possession occurred. 

California Health and Safety Code 11360 defines the crime of unlawful marijuana sales or transportation. Vehicle Code 23222(b) VC makes it a an offense for a driver to operate a motor vehicle while in possession of an open container of marijuana. 

Each marijuana possession case is fact-specific and crafting the best possible defense will require a careful examination of the particular circumstances of your case. Call our experienced Los Angeles drug crime lawyers to review your case.  

Possession of a Controlled Substance 

California Health and Safety Code 11350(a) covers the possession of controlled substances, which includes illegal drugs and prescription drugs, unless you have a valid prescription.

In order to be convicted, the prosecution has to be able to prove specific elements of the crime beyond any reasonable doubt. The elements for drug possession include:

  • (1) You illegally possessed a controlled substance;
  • (2) You knew about the presence of the drug;
  • (3) You knew of the illegal nature of the drug;
  • (4) There was enough of the drug such that it could be used.

Possession of a controlled substance case involves any drug that is illegal, such as methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, or LSD. It can also involve prescription drugs, unless prescribed, including Vicodin, Codeine, Xanax or Adderall.

If you were in possesion of an operable firearm, you could be charged with possession of a controlled substance while armed under California Health and Safety Code 11370.1.

If convicted of violating HS 11350(a), the legal penalties include up to one year in county jail. Proposition 47 reclassified Health & Safety Code Section 11350 from a felony to a misdemeanor, which means that if you were convicted of a felony before November of 2014, then you might be currently eligible to have your sentence reduced to a misdemeanor.

California Health and Safety Code 11377(a) defines the crime of possession of methamphetamine. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm for more information on the process.

Drug Possession for Sale

California Health and Safety Code 11351 covers possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, which has the same elements of the crime as drug possession, but adds that you had the specific intent to sell the illegal drug, and there was enough of the drug such that it could be used. 

There are two types of possession: constructive and actual.

  • For actual possession, you must have physical control over the illegal drug.
  • For constructive possession, you can have control over the illegal even if it's through another person.

Contact our Los Angeles drug crime lawyers for more information about your specific drug case. A case for possession of sale of illegal drugs can involve a person who is pulled over and has a bag of cocaine in their car, along with scales and plastic baggies.

Another case can involve someone who is running a meth lab. Officers often look for circumstantial evidence that you intended to sell the drugs in your possession, such as baggies, large amounts of cash, scales, pay-owes, and any text messages confirming sales.

Possession of an illegal drug for sale is always a felony offense, although the punishment depends on the drug involved. Typically, possession for sale of drugs for which a prescription can be obtained have a maximum punishment of three years incarceration.

Possession for sale of drugs which cannot be obtained even with a prescription (LSD, cocaine, ecstasy) has a maximum punishment of four years incarceration. California Health and Safety Code 11378 defines the crime of possession of methamphetamine for sale.

This crime is more serious than simple possession, and does not qualify for Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion. The way to attack a case of drug sales is by demonstrating that you did not intend to sell the drug.

We could argue that the amount of drugs in your possession was only for personal use. Are you the victim of police misconduct? Our law firm could file a California Pitchess motion to challenge the credibility of the police officer.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

California Health and Safety Code 11364 makes it a misdemeanor crime to possess any paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking a controlled substance, which might include such items as pipes, bongs, cocaine spoons, and hypodermic needles.

A conviction carries up to six months in the county jail, but it might qualify for a reduction in sentence under Prop 36 or Penal Code 1000. For the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia the elements are:

  • (1) You had possession of the paraphernalia/device;
  • (2) You were aware of the paraphernalia/device;
  • (3) You knew the paraphernalia/device was for using illegal drugs.

The main way to attack a case of possession of drug paraphernalia is to challenge the elements of the drug offense. Our lawyers can argue that the object that appeared to be drug paraphernalia was in fact not and had a different usage. Our lawyers might be able to argue that the drug paraphernalia did not belong to you. 

Cultivation of Marijuana

California Health and Safety Code 11358 covers a range of situations from someone growing marijuana in their backyard to someone operating a warehouse with a large number of marijuana plants.

If you have a physician's recommendation to use marijuana, and you were cultivating a reasonable amount for personal use, then you would have a defense to the charge. Cultivation of marijuana is a felony offense.

If convicted, you can be sentenced up to three years in state prison. The primary challenge to a cultivation of marijuana charge by our Los Angeles drug crime lawyers is that the cultivation was for legal medical purposes. For the drug crime of cultivation of marijuana, the elements of the crime are:

  • (1) You planted or cultivated a marijuana plant;
  • (2) You knew it was a marijuana plant;
  • (3) The cultivation was not immunized by law.

In some cases, our law firm may be able to argue that Fourth Amendment violations were committed during the search and seizure. If successful, the evidence could be suppressed. 

We also help clients charged with violating Los Angeles Municipal Code 104.15, which is the criminal enforcement against landlords whose tenants operate illegal marijuana businesses.

Sale or Transport of Marijuana

California Health and Safety Code 11360 covers situations involving the sale or transport of any usable amount marijuana to another person for any amount of cash.

A conviction of this offense can result in a sentence of up to four years in state prison along with substantial fines.

If, however, the offense involved less than 28.5 grams of marijuana and was only transporting or giving away, then the offense is a misdemeanor with a punishment of a maximum fine of $100.

For the drug crime of sale or transport of marijuana, the elements of the crime are:

  • (1) You sold, transported, furnished, administered, gave away, or import, or offered to sell, transport, furnish, administer, give away, or import marijuana;
  • (2) You knew about the illegal nature of the marijuana.

Related offenses are offenses that can sometimes be charged together or sometimes charged instead of one another. For the crime of sale or transport of marijuana, related offenses are:

  • California Health and Safety Code 11357.5: Selling synthetic cannabis,
  • California Health and Safety Code 11359: Possession of Marijuana for Sale,
  • California Health and Safety Code 11361: Sale of Marijuana to a Minor,
  • California Health and Safety Code 11361(a): Employment of Minor to Peddle Marijuana.

If the sale was to undercover officers, entrapment can be argued by our Los Angeles drug crime lawyers, meaning that you would not have otherwise committed the offense had you not been pressured into it by the undercover officer.

If you were transporting a reasonable amount for personal use and have a physician's recommendation, then you are immunized from the law.

Other California Health & Safety Codes

California Health and Safety Code 11352 covers the sale or transportation of an illegal substance and makes it a felony to sell, furnish, administer, give away, transport or import into California an illegal narcotic.

This drug offense could also include drug trafficking, drug transportation, operating a drug house, forging or altering a prescription for narcotics, possession of drug money, excessive prescribing of drugs, and prescription drug crimes.

California Health and Safety Code 11377 covers the possession of methamphetamine, which qualifies as a misdemeanor under Proposition 47

California Health and Safety Code 11173 covers doctor shopping and prescription fraud. California Health & Safety Code 11162.5 covers counterfeiting a prescription blank

California Health and Safety Code 11379 covers the sale or transportation of methamphetamine

California Health and Safety Code 11370.9 covers money laundering involving drug sales

California Health and Safety Code 11361 defines selling marijuana to a minor.

California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 covers manufacturing drugs & narcotics and makes it a felony to manufacture, produce, compound or process a controlled substance.

To be liable for this offense, the person must actually have begun the process of making the illegal drug, rather than merely gathering supplies and preparing to do so. 

However, a conviction for this offense carries the harshest sentencing of any California drug law, up to 7 years in state prison. The sentence may also increase substantially if there are any aggravating factors, like someone is killed in the process of making it. You could also face asset forfeiture is serious large-scale drug cases.

California Health and Safety Code 11550 covers being under the influence of a controlled substance, which makes it a misdemeanor crime to "use" or being under the influence of” a controlled substance, which can include but is not limited to illicit narcotics such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and GHB or even prescription drugs such as Xanax or valium, if the person does not have a valid prescription.

Most people charged with the offense do qualify for Proposition 36 or drug diversion under PC 1000.

Contact a Los Angeles Drug Crime Attorney

At Eisner Gorin LLP, a Los Angeles drug crime lawyers engage in tenacious representation of our clients, where we examine each case based on its facts and flush out specific defenses and successful defense strategies, which help us to dismiss charges altogether or plead down to a lesser charge based on any available legal defenses. Call our office, 24/7, at (877) 781-1570 for a free immediate response.

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