Alameda County Drug Penalties
The laws in Alameda County and throughout California are harsh against drug crime. Drug crimes often result in felony convictions or exposure to incarceration, financial penalties such as fines and fees, and forfeiture of any money and proceeds from drug trafficking or drug sales. In Alameda County and throughout the state of California, trafficking and sales are treated more severely than simple possession.
Because engaging in the distribution of drugs for purposes of financial gain is generally treated more severely than possessing drugs for purposes of feeding an addiction, it is especially important that you contact a lawyer right away if you are facing charges of dealing or trafficking narcotics. Alameda County’s drug penalties can have serious consequences ranging from jail time to deportation, so fighting with a well-practiced lawyer on your side might be the best way of mitigating or avoiding these consequences.
Misdemeanor Versus Felony Penalties
If a person is found guilty of a misdemeanor drug possession charge, they will likely face some sort of treatment program, an order prohibiting them from owning, using, or possessing drugs, and the destruction of any contraband that was found. Upon conviction, a person may face probation, fines and fees, and possibly drug testing along with treatment.
For felony offenses, especially those related to sale and distribution, or manufacturing and cultivation, the consequences are much more severe. They may see their bank accounts frozen and any assets that are considered to be illicit profits may be seized. Felony drug offenses will also lead to incarceration, potentially for many years.
First and Repeat Drug Offenses in Alameda County
Usually, with any type of crime, the severity of the penalties increases when the individual is a repeat offender, especially if that person is already required to register as a drug offender. If somebody must register as a drug offender because they have been previously convicted, placed on the registry, and then they commit new crimes, they will likely face harsher consequences because of their prior convictions.
In some particular cases, a first-time offender with a simple possession charge may be able to be diverted through a drug diversion program and have that matter dismissed and ultimately sealed. However, after multiple convictions for drug possession or possession of a controlled substance, then those options of collaborative court or drug diversion will be limited in Alameda County.
Aggravating Factors for Drug Offense Penalties
Oftentimes, the factors that can influence the harshness of a drug penalty depends on the nature of the crime. If it is a small quantity possessed for purposes of personal use, then typically the penalties are going to be less harsh than larger quantities of drugs possessed for purposes of distribution or sales.
Possession for personal uses is considered a victimless crime because the person is only harming themselves versus somebody who is selling and distributing drugs into the communities which is considered a public safety concern.
Also, different types of drugs have different types of penalties in Alameda County and throughout California. Possession of heroin or cocaine, schedule one and two drugs respectively, are treated more seriously than possession of marijuana for the purpose of sales. Although marijuana is legal for certain purposes, it is still illegal for unlawful distribution. However, the stigma of being in possession of marijuana is much lower than many more serious substances.
Of course, a person’s criminal history could affect the potential penalties of the crime. First-time offenders have more options for resolution and diversion in collaborative court than repeat offenders, especially repeat offenders who have prior felony convictions or prison priors.
Let an Attorney Help Mitigate Drug Charge Consequences
Oftentimes, an attorney can help dismiss a case or reduce penalties by applying their experience from similar cases. An experienced drug defense attorney could have access to and the ability to negotiate with the district attorneys who are making the decisions on what penalties should be imposed.
Having an attorney may help lessen Alameda County drug penalties by helping you avoid the pitfalls in trial and fighting on your behalf. To get the legal help you need, call a lawyer today to schedule an initial case consultation.