Oakland Drug Distribution Lawyer
Drug distribution involves giving or selling narcotics to large numbers of people in the community, which makes drug use and possession more pervasive within the community. Because it is a felony, it also carries stiffer penalties such as more prison exposure, so it is taken more seriously not only by law enforcement on the street but prosecutors, the District Attorney’s Office, and criminal defense attorneys. In addition, your assets could be frozen, and if convicted, you could be forced to register as a narcotics offender under Health and Safety Code §11590.
If you have been accused of drug distribution, you should contact a diligent drug attorney who can aggressively defend you against these accusations. An experienced Oakland drug distribution lawyer understands the tactics used by the police and prosecution and could work with you to craft an effective defense.
Aggravating factors that increase the severity of a drug distribution charge include the quantity of drugs on a person charged with distribution. The greater the amount, the potential for higher prison time. If the accused individual has a prior conviction for distribution, they are also looking at enhanced penalties, which means more time in prison.
In some instances, where the distribution itself takes place may increase the severity of the charge. If it happens within close proximity to a school, for example, it may carry harsher penalties. It is also of great concern when a firearm is involved – drugs and guns found at the same time sets the prosecution on high alert and can ultimately result in an aggravated sentence.
Law Enforcement is Cracking Down on Drug Distribution in Oakland
Law enforcement in Oakland is cracking down on drug distribution, more so than even simple possession primarily because it is a felony charge and which carries harsher penalties and it impacts the community in a greater way than simple possession. When people are distributing drugs or narcotics throughout the community, it is going to be of more concern not just to the community but to law enforcement and the prosecuting agencies.
Are There Constitutional Issues in Drug Distribution Cases?
The most common constitutional issue in drug distribution cases is the question of whether the search and seizure of the person who was arrested and charged with narcotics distribution was lawful. If there are problems with the search, an effective defense attorney can file a motion to suppress any evidence that is received. If that motion is granted, the case falls apart significantly for the prosecution. An Oakland drug distribution lawyer is always looking for issues involving unlawful searches or seizures of the charged individual and ways to incorporate those issues into the defense’s argument.
There is also the potential in some cases for law enforcement to use confidential informants. This sometimes presents constitutional issues, and an aggressive attorney will file motions to disclose the identity of the confidential informant. If that motion is granted, typically law enforcement is reluctant to turn over the name of the person they have been using as a confidential informant, which means the case will then go away or be dismissed.
What Evidence is Used to Prove Distribution?
As an Oakland drug distribution lawyer might explain, the most common form of evidence used to prove drug distribution charges is an observation by law enforcement of the actual distribution. Undercover officers or even officers in uniform may observe an individual distributing, selling, or giving away narcotics. Then they move in and make the arrest.
Often times, law enforcement will go undercover, act as a buyer, and purchase drugs from someone who is subsequently arrested and charged with distribution. Testimony from the undercover officer will be the key in that case, but sometimes, law enforcement will use confidential informants.
Highly Contested Elements in Trials
Elements of the crime that tend to be highly contested at trial include whether or not the drugs found on a particular person were in fact possessed with the intent to distribute. The amount of drugs may not be in and of itself sufficient, so aggressive attorneys will try to establish that. In the instance where a sale or distribution is observed, it is going to be harder to contest, but there are many times in which a person is prosecuted without any observed transaction or distribution. The highly contested portion at trial is going to be the testimony of law enforcement that the mere amount and the way that the narcotics were packaged is sufficient to prove it.
How to Select an Oakland Drug Defense Attorney
In a drug distribution case, a person should look for a defense attorney who has handled these kinds of cases for an extended period of time in multiple counties. The attorney needs to be familiar with the practices of the prosecution, in terms of how they present the case, and the practices of law enforcement on the street, such as how they seize and obtain evidence. An attorney who has been handling these cases with various narcotics task forces will be familiar with police tactics and how to best formulate a defense.
If you have been charged with drug distribution, you could face serious penalties including heavy fines and jail time. Oakland police and prosecutors take these offenses very seriously and will aggressively pursue your charges in court. Contact an experienced Oakland drug distribution lawyer who can analyze the case and fight on your behalf.