A Brief Overview Of Drug Charges And Terminology
Drug trafficking is a term has come to encompass any activity which furthers the sale of illegal narcotics. This will typically encompass several different drug-related crimes at various stages of the sales process. Possession for sale and maintaining a place for drug sales are crimes that occur early in the drug trafficking process which involve the storage or preparation of narcotics prior to their actual sale. Transportation is an intermediate stage that involves the movement of the drugs from one location to another. Actual sale or distribution involves the final stage where the drugs are transferred from one person to another.
Simple possession is the charge most low-level offenders will face. This is serious on its own, but consequences can quickly escalate if prosecutors attempt to include any of the charges above.
Depending on the facts of your case, our attorneys at the Law Office of James McGee may be able to help you seek pre-trial diversion or have your case heard in drug court. We can discuss these options with you during a free initial consultation.
What To Know About Marijuana Possession
Marijuana, “pot” or “weed,” is one of the most commonly used drugs for both recreational and medicinal purposes in California. Its legal status can be somewhat confusing but is spelled out in the state’s Health and Safety Code section 11357.
There are no penalties for adults over the age of 21 years old who have less than 28.5 grams of marijuana or up to eight grams of hashish, also known as concentrated cannabis. However, penalties will be charged for having marijuana anywhere on a school campus that teaches students in grades kindergarten through 12.
Penalties will be assessed for minors under 21 years old who are carrying pot. For minors, first offenses may include mandated community service hours and four hours of drug education or counseling. Multiple offenses come with harsher penalties. People over 18, but under 21, will also face a monetary fine for possession of an amount under the legal limit.
For those 18 years and older, possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana or eight grams of hash is a criminal offense. Penalties depend on the amount possessed. The law concerning possessing pot for personal use depends on multiple factors, including the amount possessed, what is possessed, and where it is possessed.
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for violating it. If you’ve been charged with a marijuana offense because you simply made a mistake, do not hesitate to seek the advice of a good attorney.
The Numerous Legal Aspects Of Drug Offenses
Drug cases often include the elements below:
Conspiracy charges: Drug conspiracies involve two or more people agreeing to some sort of drug trafficking and committing at least one overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. These drug conspiracies can take place in low-level cases where the amounts involved are small, all the way up to cases that involve multiple pounds or kilos of drugs (Penal Code section 182).
Wiretaps: A wiretap case arises when a law enforcement agency obtains a lawful court order to listen to the phone calls and read the text messages of a person that is the target of the investigation. Most wiretap cases are centered around people that are trafficking large amounts of drugs (3 pounds or more). These wiretap cases typically result in criminal charges that have weight enhancements which add significantly more jail time onto a potential sentence (Penal Code sections 629.50, 629.52, 629.56, 629.68, 629.70, 629.80, 629.82).
Asset forfeiture: Under certain circumstances, a person’s property (money, cars, home) can be seized. This is referred to as asset forfeiture. In drug-related cases, law enforcement has to be able to show that the property that is being seized was obtained as a result of the illegal drug trafficking or was used in illegal drug trafficking. A conviction for possession for sale, actual sale, transportation or a conspiracy to do any of those crimes, may result in law enforcement being able to successfully seize personal property through the asset forfeiture process (Penal Code Section 186.11).
Law enforcement has powerful tools and tactics at its disposal. Even if you believe your drug charges are minor, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced attorney like those at our firm.
Factors That Can Lead To Enhanced Sentences
There are numerous sentencing enhancements that add years onto a drug sentence depending on the circumstances of the offense or based on prior drug convictions of the defendant. A few of those enhancements are as follows:
- Selling illegal drugs within 1000 feet of a school (add three to five years)
- Add three years for each prior conviction for possession of controlled substance for sale
- Possession for sale or sale of controlled substance weighing more than one kilogram (add three years)
- Possessing over $100,000 to purchase illegal drugs (add two to four years)
These can be found in Health and Safety Code sections 11353.6, 11370.2, 11370.4, 11370.6. Prosecutors will try to seek the maximum charges and sentences they can obtain. You need someone fighting just as hard to protect you from these charges and enhancements.
Learn About Your Rights And Legal Options In A Free Consultation
The Law Office of James McGee serves clients in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. To speak to one of our knowledgeable defense lawyers about your case, contact us to schedule a free consultation. You can reach out online or call 1-888-873-0383. Se habla español.