SACRAMENTO CRIMINAL LAWYER
Drug crimes and how best to handle them are a hot topic of debate in the political arena these days and California has seen some significant changes to their drug laws in the last decade. While prosecutors have moved their focus away from users and possessors and have softened penalties for individuals convicted of these crimes, that focus has moved towards getting tough on drug manufacturers, distributors and traffickers.
Common Drug Crimes
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Transportation / Distribution of a Controlled Substance
- Manufacture / Cultivation of a Controlled Substance
Drug possession charges are the most common drug charges filed in the state, and processing these charges and housing convicted inmates represents a significant cost. To alleviate the situation, California passed Proposition 47 in November 2014, reducing penalties for simple drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors and creating a framework to remove individuals convicted of these charges from state prisons. This represents a shift away from penalizing drug users and a move toward targeting drug production and distribution.
Possession vs Intent to Distribute
With the increased focus on the production and sale of drugs, some experts say prosecutors and police have become “trigger happy” bringing charges of production and sale. Often times, it is the amount of a given drug that determines whether you are charged with “possession” or with “possession with intent to distribute”. Intent to distribute charges may also be brought if suspicious amounts of cash, containers/bags, or equipment used to weigh or package the substance were found. In California, the difference between these charges is especially important because possession charges are a misdemeanor offense, while intent to distribute charges are a felony offense.
Distribution, Transportation and Manufacturing
The most serious drug charges that can be brought against an individual involve transportation, distribution and manufacturing of a controlled substance. Drug distribution charges carry more severe penalties than intent to distribute charges and are usually brought against individuals with alleged involvement in large-scale operations. Transportation charges are brought against individuals who knowingly transport a controlled substance and can draw Federal drug trafficking charges if the substance crossed federal or state lines, or if there was intent to cross. Distribution and manufacturing charges can result in severe penalties and require the immediate attention of an experienced drug defense attorney, please call our Sacramento criminal lawyer today.
In November 2016, California passed Proposition 64, which completely decriminalized recreational use and possession of Marijuana for individuals 21 and older. This proposition has huge implications for individuals serving sentences for crimes related to Marijuana. Many activities that were considered illegal have now been made legal retroactively, meaning that the passing of this proposition may enable you to expunge your record and/or be released from prison!
If you are being charged with a drug related crime, contact our Sacramento criminal lawyer immediately for a consultation.