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Drug Crimes

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Clients Throughout the Dublin Area

The State of California aggressively prosecutes drug crimes, and for those individuals facing investigation or charges for drug possession, sale, manufacturing, transportation, or distribution, a skilled Dublin drug crime lawyer can help make clear your legal options. At times, there may be a conflict between California and federal law concerning drug use or possession. For example, in California the use or possession of medical marijuana or cannabis has largely been decriminalized, however, the federal government continues to treat cannabis as a controlled substance, like heroin or cocaine. Attorney John W. Noonan understands these nuances affecting drug crimes. He has devoted his legal practice to criminal defense, and as a former prosecutor he brings over 55 years of experience to protecting the rights of those facing criminal charges for drug crimes. In many cases there may be options such as drug treatment programs, as well as other sentencing alternatives to prison time.

California Drug Laws Target Use and Distribution of Controlled Substances

California has modeled their drug laws after the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. section 801 et seq. The categorization of drugs, ranging from Schedule 1 to 5, lays a foundation for making the possession, use, and distribution of certain drugs illegal. Generally, the prosecutor brings charges against an individual for a drug crime depending on the type of drug, the amount, and whether the drug was intended for personal use or sale. The individual's past criminal record also factors into the charges. Some common drug-related charges brought under the California Health and Safety Code include section 11350, Possession of Controlled Substance, section 11351, Possession for Sale of Narcotics, and section 11352, Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance.

The crime of possession for sale of narcotics is considered more serious than possession of drugs not lawfully prescribed. Whereas possession may be charged as a misdemeanor, and some defendants may be eligible for drug diversion or other alternatives to prison, possession for sale is a felony. Several factors determine whether a suspect has possessed drugs for the purpose of sales. Police and the prosecutor look at the amount of narcotics, the packaging, and whether there were sales or weapons present at the time of the arrest. It is important to note that any evidence that has been obtained unlawfully may not be brought against the suspect. A skilled drug crime attorney serving Dublin can assess whether a search warrant was properly obtained, for example.

A conviction for manufacturing drugs and narcotics, according to Health & Safety Code section 11379.6, is a felony. Manufacturing, processing, or producing controlled substances, for example, by running a meth lab, is a serious offense in California. The punishment is up to 7 years in state prison and can be longer if large amounts of drugs are involved.

Another type of drug crime is driving under the influence of drugs. According to California Vehicle Code section 23152(a), it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An individual may be arrested and charged with violating this law if their driving ability has been impaired by drugs.

Defenses to Drug Crime Charges

Police misconduct, and unlawful search and seizure may form the basis of a strong defense to a drug charge. Police must have probable cause to make an arrest, and they must also have consent to do a search. Lacking either probable cause or consent when searching or making an arrest for a drug charge may be deemed a violation of an individual's constitutional rights. Further, any evidence gathered in an unlawful search will not be allowed in court.

One defense to the charge of drug possession with intent to sell, for example, may involve challenging the quantity of drugs found. The defendant may also challenge the connection between cash, visitors, or packaging. If the evidence indicates that the amount of drugs may fall within the limit for simple drug possession, this would be a less serious offense than intent to sell. A knowledgeable Dublin drug crime lawyer can help you identify the strongest applicable defenses in your case.

Alternatives to Prison Time May Include Attending a Drug Treatment Program

Penalties for drug crimes depend on the specifics of the case, including the amount and type of drug, whether the drugs were intended to be sold, and whether the individual has a prior criminal record. Some individuals may be eligible for Penal Code section 1000 relief. This pretrial drug diversion helps those facing charges for simple possession, for personal use. It should be noted that there are limits on the application of this relief, which mandates that the offense cannot involve violence, and there cannot be a felony conviction in the previous five years.

Discuss the Details of Your Drug Crime Case with an Experienced Dublin Attorney

Criminal defense lawyer John W. Noonan understands the importance of assessing the specific facts of every case, guided by the goal of keeping clients out of jail. Mr. Noonan’s extensive legal experience helps him recognize the weaker aspects of the prosecution’s argument, providing the opportunity to set forth defenses that help clients dismiss or reduce charges. Our office is ready to discuss your case with you at no cost. Contact John W. Noonan by phone at (877) 463-3390 or reach our office online. We proudly help clients in Manteca, Pleasanton, Stockton, Hayward, Fremont, the East Bay, and the Tri-Valley area.