If you have been arrested for possession of an illicit street drug or prescribed medication without a valid prescription, you could be charged with possession of a controlled substance in California. Although the possession of recreational marijuana is considered legal, possession of any other type of drug can result in harsh criminal penalties, such as a jail sentence and fines. However, an arrest is not the same as a conviction. You still have an opportunity to protect your rights and freedom with the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
At Right Choice Law, our team of former prosecutors have 20 years of experience helping clients facing possession charges and other types of drug crimes. With extensive knowledge of both sides of the courtroom, our Newport Beach drug possession attorneys can help you navigate the legal steps of your case and ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Although drug laws are becoming more lenient in California, possession of certain controlled substances is still illegal. Possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and prescription drugs, without a prescription, like OxyContin (oxycodone), Xanax (alprazolam) and Vicodin (hydrocodone). Usually possession of small amounts of these drugs is a misdemeanor, pursuant to Health and Safety Code sections 11350 and 11377.
However, the crime can be charged as a felony if the defendant has a super strike on his record or is a registered sex offender. Furthermore, the crime can be charged as a felony if the defendant also possessed a loaded firearm at the same time, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11370.1.
While simple possession is usually a misdemeanor, there are ways to avoid having a conviction at all. Our experienced Newport Beach drug possession lawyers can get you into a drug program in lieu of jail, under certain circumstances. These circumstances include what other crimes you’re being charged with, your prior criminal record and your prior drug program record.
The penalties for possession crimes increase dramatically if you have a firearm in your possession at the time. Pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11370.1(a), if you possess cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine while armed with a loaded, operable firearm, then you are guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years. As used in this subdivision, “armed with” means having available for immediate offensive or defensive use. You are not eligible for drug programs, if you are found guilty of having a loaded firearm in your possession at the same time.
Not only can a drug possession conviction lead to criminal penalties, but it can also have drastic employment, licensing and immigration consequences. Having a drug possession conviction can prevent a person from finding a job or lead to a person being fired from their current job. Furthermore, many professions that require licensing from a state board, such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, contractors, teachers, real estate agents and stock brokers, all require background checks.
A professional who has drug possession conviction on their record risks losing their professional license, or never acquiring it in the first place. Perhaps the most severe impact of a possession of a controlled substance conviction involves immigration consequences. Non-citizens who are permanent residents (green card holders) or temporary visitors, with a student visa or work visa, can be denied admission, denied naturalization or even deported, with any type of drug-related conviction on their record. In fact, drug-related convictions are considered one of the worst convictions for immigration consequences.
Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing a charge for possession of a controlled substance. Many people who face drug possession charges are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of possession of a controlled substance, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence.
Our attorneys will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly. As former prosecutors we have the skills to negotiate with our former colleagues and the trial experience necessary to get the best results for our clients. For an example of our work, please see our case results and read our client testimonials.
Our team at Right Choice Law is backed by 60 years of combined experience.
You don't need just a good attorney. You need an attorney that you can trust to protect your future.
We are committed to our clients. We will spend as much time as it takes to get the best result possible.
At Right Choice Law, all of our lawyers are former Deputy District Attorneys.
Principal Attorney Fred Thiagarajah is a member of MENSA, the international high-IQ society.
Laws are constantly changing. Our attorneys are up to date on all the latest developments with constant research and regular attendance at seminars.
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