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Drug Crimes

Los Angeles Drug Crimes Attorney

Drug offenses are vigorously prosecuted in California state and federal criminal courts. The strength of a case, however, may depend on the actions of arresting officers, investigators, and prosecutors.

At the law office of Cron Israels & Stark, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers work with private investigators, lab technicians, and forensic experts to expose mistakes in the collection of evidence, execution of a search warrants, unconstitutional car stops, and questionable interrogation techniques.

When guilt is not in question, our attorneys are effective negotiators who understand how to work with prosecutors to reduce the charges or mitigate the sentences received by our client.

Often times an arrest is symptomatic of a more serious drug or substance abuse problem. If that is the case, we work with experienced professionals and treatment facilities to get help for our clients so that they can address any substance abuse problems they may have.

By addressing their underlying substance abuse issues, clients are often able to turn their arrest or conviction into a positive, life-changing event.

Common Drug and Narcotics Charges

Regardless of the amount of drugs involved, an individual can still face drug-related charges either at the state or federal level. There are several factors involved to determine how a drug crime will be charged.

This includes the amount of drugs, such as whether they were for personal use or for sale. Drug possession is covered under California Health & Safety Code 11350(a). Drug possession for sales under California Health & Safety Code 11351. Possession and sale of marijuana under California Health & Safety Code 11359. 

A defendant's prior criminal record, especially any previous drug crime convictions, can also be used to determine the severity of the charge.

The prosecutor will use all these factors to decide if they will pursue the case as a misdemeanor or felony offense, jail time, fines, any drug enhancements, and possible eligibility for a sentencing alternative, such as Proposition 36, Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ), or Drug Court.

California has complex controlled substances laws that include illegal drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, crystal meth, cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy.

It also includes the use of prescription drugs, including Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, Valium, Percocet, and Xanax. Our criminal defense lawyers have years of experience handling the following types of drug and narcotic offenses:

Federal and state law allows the government to seize any assets or property it believes were acquired with proceeds from illegal drug activity. When a forfeiture proceeding is initiated, your assets may be seized and your bank accounts frozen.

Consequently, criminal forfeiture can cause substantial problems for people trying to pay household bills, and also finance their defense.

Our attorneys will act to immediately challenge criminal forfeitures, consulting forensic accountants of our own who can challenge the allegations of the government.

Drug Paraphernalia Arrest

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, drug paraphernalia is any legitimate equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Generally, drug paraphernalia is broken down into two categories:

  • User-specific products, such as bongs, freebasing kits (cocaine), marijuana grow kits, roach clips, and certain types of pipes.
  • Dealer-specific products, such as vials, baggies, and scales. Items associated with the use of tobacco, such as pipes and rolling papers are not considered drug paraphernalia.

Under the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, which is a part of the Controlled Substances Act, it is considered illegal to sell, transport, possess, or export drug paraphernalia. Many states have also put laws into action that forbid drug paraphernalia.

Conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia in California can carry serious penalties, including imprisonment for up to three years in a state prison. A person or business can be prosecuted for possession even if the item(s) are not being actively used to take drugs. Any business found to be carrying, selling, or displaying drug paraphernalia can have its business license revoked and the shop owner charged as well.

Legal Defenses Against Drug Crime Charges

A critical part in preparing a legal defense against drug offenses is to thoroughly examine the details of the arrest and how the drug were seized by the police. Our drug defense lawyers will review all aspects of the investigation that led to your arrest.

Did the police officer have valid probable cause or reasonable suspicion before the search and was the arrest lawful? Did they properly handle the evidence? Did they possess a valid search warrant issued by a judge?

Did they conduct their search without violating your constitutional rights? It has been our experience that illegal searches and seizures are not uncommon in drug cases. If police illegally obtained evidence and it can be proven in court, the judge may rule it inadmissible and dismiss the charges.

After the preliminary hearing, but before a case proceeds to trial, your criminal defense lawyer and prosecutor will appear in front of the judge and make their pre-trial motions.

Sentencing Alternatives

When guilt is not in doubt for a drug offender, we are skilled at pursuing alternative sentencing for our clients. This program is an alternative to county jail or prison time that includes drug rehabilitation and treatment programs. Further, you may be eligible for a drug court.

In Los Angeles courts, you may be eligible for Proposition 36, Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ), or drug treatment program under California Penal Code 1000 PC. 

  • California Proposition 36 – The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 (Prop 36) changed the state law allowing qualified defendants who have been convicted of a first or second non-violent drug possession offense to get substance abuse treatment instead of jail time. This sentence requires drug treatment for up to one year. If the defendant fails to complete the program or violates the terms of their probation, they can have their probation revoked and required to serve additional sentence that could include time in jail.
  • Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) – With DEJ, the defendant has to enter a guilty plea, but the court will not enter a judgment and the conviction is not final. For a period of 18 months, the drug case will be placed on hold while the defendant attends drug education classes. During this time, the defendant must not be arrested for another offense. If all the requirements are met, the original drug offense is not entered on their criminal record, and the charges are dismissed.

Contact Our Law Firm for Help

If you or someone you love has been arrested or under investigation for a drug-related crime, you need to act quickly to avoid a conviction and the severe legal penalties. Our dedicated law firm will work aggressively to protect your future and freedom.

Over our decades of experience in criminal law practice, we have helped countless clients in the Los Angeles area who were facing any type of drug offense, including simple misdemeanor drug possession charges to major felony drug cases.

When you retain our legal services, we will keep you informed at every stage of the court process. We know how the prosecutor will attempt to build their case against you.

Our drug defense attorneys will create an effective defense strategy and have the experience to handle all aspects of your case, from pre-trial investigations to courtroom litigation.

Contact the lawyers at Cron, Israels & Stark today to schedule a free, confidential consultation about your case.

We are certified specialists in criminal law and are available to provide you with the information you need 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our law firm is ready to assist you with an effective legal defense for any drug crimes you have been charged with.

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