Los Angeles Cocaine Crimes Lawyer
Cocaine crimes in California have severe penalties attached to them. Including jail time for certain types of possession, cocaine crimes can result in harsher penalties for possession of cocaine or cocaine base, intent to sell cocaine derivatives, selling cocaine, or transporting cocaine. With the harsh penalties associated with cocaine crimes, it is imperative that you seek representation from a California cocaine criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about the handling of such cases.
Possession of Cocaine and California Laws
According to California Health and Safety Code Section 11350, it’s a crime to possess non-prescription cocaine. A successful prosecution of a possession of cocaine crime mandates that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You were in possession of cocaine; either on your body or in a quantity enough to have control over it.
- You were fully aware that you possessed the cocaine.
- You were in possession of a usable amount of cocaine, meaning more than just a trace amount.
If you are convicted for simple possession of cocaine, you have committed a felony, which has the potential of you being sentenced to up to three years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines. However, under certain circumstances, a simple possession of cocaine conviction may qualify you for the California Drug Diversion Program, a program that allows you to avoid jail by completing the program and having the cocaine charges dismissed.
Possession of Cocaine for Sale
Possession of cocaine with the intent to sell it to another is a felony under California Health and Safety Code Section 11351. As a felony, possession of cocaine for sale can result in penalties of $20,000 in fines and up to four years in prison. Additionally, if you are arrested for intent to sell cocaine close to a school, drug treatment facility or homeless shelter, or possess or sell cocaine base in an amount greater than 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram), penalties can increase to up to 25 years in prison.
Prosecutors and police are aggressive in the prosecution of cocaine base possession and possession with intent to sell and are more likely to fight for jail time in these instances. Evidence that is used to convict a person of cocaine with intent to sell includes the following.
- Possession of separately packaged cocaine.
- Possession of scales or other types of measuring equipment.
- Lots of cash on hand.
- Multiple cell phones on hand.
- Records of sales of the cocaine (“pay and owes” records).
Transportation and/or Distribution of Cocaine
Transportation and/or distribution of cocaine are felonies that can result in nine years of prison time if the cocaine is transported across more than two California counties. If the amount of cocaine base or cocaine that is transported or sold is in excess of 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram), a conviction can result in between three and twenty-five years of prison time.
The Burden of Proof that Prosecutors Must Meet for Conviction of a Cocaine Crime
A cocaine crime conviction tasks prosecutors with the burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Consequently, to defend a cocaine case, your criminal defense lawyer will most likely challenge the evidence that the prosecutor and police present at trial. Common defenses to cocaine-related criminal charges include challenges like:
- Whether or not the substance obtained was actually cocaine.
- Undermining the claim that it was the defendant who was in possession of the cocaine by interviewing witnesses.
- Search warrant reviews to try to find flaws in the manner in which the cocaine was seized and show that the police violated the constitutional rights of the defendant with an unlawful search and seizure.
- Efforts to negotiate with the prosecutor to lower a charge from a felony charge to a misdemeanor or negotiate admittance into the Drug Diversion Program instead of serving a prison sentence.
- Challenging the evidence of intent to sell so as to lower the charge to a misdemeanor charge.
You Need a California Defense Lawyer Experienced in Defense of Cocaine Crimes to Defend your Cocaine Crime Charge
To successfully defend a cocaine crime, you need the skilled representation of a cocaine criminal defense attorney experienced in cocaine possession, sell, and transport law. R.J. Manuelian is highly-knowledgeable and qualified to handle cocaine criminal charges. He examines the evidence against his client, finds any weaknesses in the case, and crafts a strategy to provide the best defense possible for his clients.