Oakland Drug Lawyer
Changes in the laws regarding possession of marijuana and controlled substances have lulled many people in Oakland into a false sense of complacency concerning drug crimes. However, the penalties related to other drug offenses remain severe, and even a “minor” drug conviction could result in consequences that cause difficulties for years to come.
A drug conviction on your record may cause you to lose a job or professional license or make it difficult to convince banks or landlords to trust you. In light of this, it is worthwhile to fight vigorously against almost any drug charges, no matter how inconsequential they may seem in comparison with other crimes. An Oakland drug lawyer who knows how to handle crimes involving controlled substances may be able to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. To get started on your defense, call and schedule a consultation with an Oakland defense lawyer today. En Español.
What are the Categories of Drug Offenses?
Under California Health and Safety Code §11350, anyone found in possession of a controlled substance may be sentenced to up to one year in county jail and be required to pay a fine. This law applies to illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine, as well as prescription narcotics if they have been obtained without a valid prescription. If the individual charged has prior drug convictions, they may be subject to more severe penalties for a possession charge.
Cal. Health and Saf. Code §11550 provides similar penalties for those found to be using or under the influence of a controlled substance, and §11364 provides misdemeanor penalties for those found to possess prohibited drug paraphernalia.
Marijuana is treated differently under California law than other substances. Possession of less than an ounce is not generally prosecuted, and possession of up to 28.5 grams is an infraction punishable by a fine, as well as drug education and counseling for those under age 18.
Possession of more than that amount is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Penalties for sale, possession with intent to distribute, and cultivation of marijuana are similar unless the individual involved has certain prior convictions or attempts to distribute marijuana to minors under the age of 18. In either of those cases, the offense becomes a felony. In all cases it is important to remember that marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law and can be punished as a federal offense.
Drug offenses involving more than simple possession or substances other than marijuana are treated substantially more harshly in Oakland courts. For example, the following actions are all considered felonies with penalties that may include several years in prison:
- Possession for sale of narcotics
- Sale or transportation of a controlled substance
- Manufacturing drugs and narcotics
Knowledgeable attorneys understand that there are a number of defenses that may be applicable in certain legal situations, including various charges involving controlled substances. To begin with, every criminal offense in Oakland consists of certain elements which must be proven in order to obtain a conviction. Therefore, showing that there is insufficient proof regarding one of these elements frequently forms the backbone of an effective defense.
For instance, many offenses require the individual charged to be aware of the nature of a substance or device before they may be convicted of having it in their possession illegally. In other cases, it could be argued that police violated someone’s rights or otherwise failed to follow proper procedure during an investigation or arrest. They may have failed to follow search and seizure rules or obtain a legitimate warrant, violated entrapment laws, or made an arrest without sufficient evidence.
If evidence is obtained in violation of the law, an attorney could make a motion to suppress that evidence, which may, in turn, lead to the dismissal of a case. A drug lawyer in Oakland could provide further information about what defenses may apply to an individual case.
Even minor drug offenses can have major consequences down the road. If you are facing any type of criminal charges involving marijuana or other controlled substances, you should consider talking to an Oakland drug lawyer who could explain your options for protecting your rights and your reputation. The consultation is free, so call now to find out how an attorney with knowledge and experience in local drug law could help.
The Nieves Law Firm values giving back to local community members. This is why we’re proud to have been sponsors of the Alameda Running Festival, proceeds from the event went to the Alameda Education Foundation and Alameda Meals on Wheels. Visit our Alameda Running Festival page to learn more about the event.