Cases involving drugs are some of the most common in the criminal justice system, but the consequences are far from trivial. Depending on the charge and the type and amount of the illegal substance involved, you could face years behind bars in California state.
Amy Chapman represents individuals arrested or charged in Sonoma County for drug-related offenses. If your case involves marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, crack, OxyContin, prescription drugs, ecstasy, designer drugs, or any other controlled substance, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer who is experienced in defending drug cases. Amy Chapman has been advocating successfully to judges, prosecutors, and juries for two decades.
Some of the most common drug cases in Sonoma County are:
- Simple Possession: Under Health and Safety Code 11350 and 11377, it is a misdemeanor to be in the unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Penalties for drug possession include a fine of up to $1000 and imprisonment for up to a year in the county jail.
- Drug sales: The sale and transportation of controlled substances is prohibited under Health and Safety Code 11351, 11352, 11378, and 11379. It is regarded as one of the most serious drug crimes and punished accordingly. If convicted, you could spend years in jail or prison and pay a fine of up to $20,000.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing a controlled substance is a violation of Health and Safety Code 11379.6. Anyone found guilty of manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, deriving, processing, or preparing a controlled substance can spend up to seven years in prison.
- Being under the influence of a controlled substance: If you are charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance, which is a misdemeanor offense under Health and Safety Code 11550, you could spend up to a year in a county jail and put on probation for up to three years.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia: According to Health and Safety Code 11364, possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
The punishment for possession of drugs depends on the type of drug possessed, the amount possessed, the criminal history of the accused, and the alleged purpose of the possession.
- Fines: Depending on the charge, you could be ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines.
- Loss of your driver’s license: If you are under 21, you risk losing your driver’s license, which can hinder travel and employment.
- Probation with random drug tests: Failing a drug test is a probation violation in California, with potentially serious consequences.
- Residential drug treatment: The court may order you into a residential drug treatment program if it believes that you have an addiction problem.
- Forfeiture of property and cash: Conviction for a drug crime can result in asset forfeiture. Seizable assets include vehicles, cash, and real estate.
If you or a loved one are arrested on a drug charge, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney who will investigate your case, run any applicable motions to get the case reduced or dismissed, determine if you are eligible for sentencing alternatives, and argue your case persuasively to a jury. Depending on the charge and prior criminal history, you may be eligible for a diversion program, alternative sentencing to treatment under Penal Code section 1210, or Drug Court.
Illegal searches could result in a dismissal
If the police searched you in any way, you need an attorney to determine if you were legally detained and searched.
- Did law enforcement have a good reason to stop you in the first place?
- After the initial encounter, did they have a legal reason to search you, your property, or your vehicle?
- If the police had a search warrant, was it valid?
If law enforcement violated your constitutional rights during the search, you may be able to ask that the evidence obtained be suppressed, which often results in a dismissal of the charges. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer can identify the issues that could make the difference in your case.
Drug treatment instead of incarceration
Oftentimes those arrested on drug charges are struggling with addiction. An arrest could be the wake-up call an addict needs to finally make a change. In some cases, a judge could order drug treatment instead of incarceration in jail or prison. These are not easy arguments to make. To be given an opportunity at rehabilitation, you need a well-known criminal defense attorney who the judges will listen to, respect, and be persuaded by to spare an addict from jail time.
If you are facing drug charges in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, or anywhere in the North Bay, you need legal advice and representation you can trust. Contact the Law Office of Amy Chapman at (888) 570-3024 or online today.