DRUG CRIME DEFENSE

Los Angeles Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers

In Los Angeles and throughout California, illegal “street drugs” and controlled substances are classified into 5 categories within the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Drugs and controlled substances with higher rates of abuse and greater potential for psychological, and physical dependence are considered the most dangerous and, therefore, punished more harshly. The Los Angeles drug crimes penalties you face if charged are influenced by several factors such as which drug you were arrested for possessing, the amount of the controlled substance you possessed, whether you were in possession with intent to sell or distribute, and your prior criminal history. In November 2014, California voters passed Prop. 47, a decriminalization measure, which resulted in controlled substances such as Meth, Cocaine, Heroin, and Concentrated Cannabis to be reclassified as misdemeanor drug crimes instead of the felony drug offenses they once were.

While the majority of possession for personal use or “simple possession” charges are now prosecuted as misdemeanor drug crimes in Los Angeles, these “lesser”drug crimes can still result in criminal records and punishments such as jail time, fines, and probation.  Therefore, if you have been arrested or charged in Los Angeles with drug possession or possession of a controlled substance, you should immediately contact Los Angeles drug lawyers with experience and expertise in defending drug crimes. Drug diversion programs are available, which if successfully completed, can result in the dismissal of your drug crime. However, not all drug crimes are eligible for drug diversion as drug crimes involving allegations of  possession with intent to sell, drug sales, or transportation with intent to sell are “straight” felonies in Los Angeles and are NOT eligible for drug diversion programs.

Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers Paul Takakjian and Stephen Sitkoff have specialized in defending drug crimes in LA County and Southern California since 1987.  

  • Mr. Takakjian is a former special prosecutor with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist with over 35 years of criminal law experience.
  • Mr. Sitkoff is a former senior LA prosecutor and former Superior Court Commissioner with over 30 years of criminal law experience.

If you have been arrested or charged with a drug crime in Los Angeles, call us now at (888) 579-4844 for a free consultation to review the facts of your case and how we can help you.

Possession Of Marijuana | HS 11357

Marijuana possession is a unique LA drug crime as it is classified as a “wobblet,” meaning possession of Marijuana can be charged as an infraction or misdemeanor drug crime. Unless you are in possession of your valid medical marijuana prescription or card at the time of police contact, possession of marijuana is illegal. The penalties you face if arrested or cited for Marijuana possession can vary depending on your prior criminal record, the amount of marijuana you possessed, or whether you were in possession of marijuana on school grounds. Although marijuana possession has been decriminalized, possession of Concentrated Cannabis or “designer” synthetic controlled substances such as “Hash” or “Spice” can be prosecuted as Los Angeles felony drug crimes if you have prior serious felony convictions or if you are required to register as a sex offender pursuant to PC 290. Unless your drug possession defense attorney can negotiate drug diversion to resolve your drug case, you face the following punishments if convicted of possession of marijuana:

Possession of Under 28.5 oz of Marijuana (Infraction) - HS 11357(b)

  • Up to $100 fine
  • Court ordered drug education class or program
  • No criminal record

Possession of Over 28.5 oz of Marijuana (Misdemeanor) - HS 11357(c)

  • Up to 6 months in LA County Jail
  • Up to $500 fine
  • Summary probation
  • Community service/labor
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Criminal record

Possession of Concentrated Cannabis (Misdemeanor or Felony) - HS 11357(a)

  • Up to 1 year in LA County Jail (Misdemeanor) or up to 3 years in California State Prison (Felony)
  • Up to $500 fine
  • Summary or formal probation
  • Community service/labor
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Criminal record

Possession Of Cocaine | HS 11350

Prior to Prop. 47, even possessing a small quantity of cocaine would have resulted in a felony drug arrest in Los Angeles. Today, possession of cocaine for personal use is now considered a misdemeanor drug crime, however, it can still be charged as a felony if certain aggravating circumstances exist such as your prior serious felony record or your status as a registered sex offender. As a one of the most highly addictive controlled substances, cocaine possession is prosecuted aggressively in Los Angeles and the punishment can be further enhanced if you are charged with possession of cocaine and a loaded firearm. Although an LA drug crimes attorney can negotiate drug diversion to resolve your drug case, you face the following if convicted of simple possession of cocaine:

  • Up to 1 year in LA County Jail (Misdemeanor) or up to 3 years in California State Prison (Felony)
  • Up to $1,000 fine (1st offense) or $2,000 fine (2nd offense)
  • Summary or formal probation
  • Community service/labor
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Criminal record

Felony Possession of Cocaine with a Loaded Firearm - HS 11370.1

  • Up 4 years in California State Prison
  • Formal probation
  • Community service/labor
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Loss of firearm ownership rights
  • Criminal record

Possession Of Heroin | HS 11350

According to the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Heroin is classified as a schedule 1 drug due to its high potential for abuse and significantly higher potential for psychological and physical dependency. Therefore, drug charges in Los Angeles involving Heroin, especially possession of Heroin for sale under HS 11351, are not taken lightly and are prosecuted aggressively. Although Prop. 47 decriminalized simple possession of Heroin from a felony drug offense to a misdemeanor in most cases, your prior criminal history could allow prosecutors to pursue felony drug charges against you if you have a prior aggravated felony or are a registered sex offender. Furthermore, many cases involving heroin possession include an additional misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia under HS 11364(a) as smoking devices or hyperdermic needles are often seized along with the controlled substance. Fortunately, if you qualify, your criminal defense lawyer can negotiate drug diversion for you, which would result in you avoiding jail time and a criminal record. Heroin possession and possession of paraphernalia are both diversion eligible drug offenses in Los Angeles and California,whereas possession of Heroin with intent to sell or distribute is not. You face the following penalties if charged with simple possession of Heroin:

  • Up to 1 year in LA County Jail (Misdemeanor) or up to 3 years in California State Prison (Felony)
  • Up to $1,000 fine (1st offense) or $2,000 fine (2nd offense)
  • Summary or formal probation
  • Community service/labor
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Criminal record

Possession Of “Meth” | HS 11377

Defined as a dangerous schedule 2 drug for its high potential for abuse and psychological, and physical dependence, drug charges involving Methamphetamine or “Meth” represent a significant portion of the drug crimes in Los Angeles. As a “wobbler” drug offense, possession of Meth can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor. However, the passage of Prop. 47 has since made the majority of Meth possession cases misdemeanor drug crimes with the felony Meth possession charges limited to those with criminal records of serious prior felonies or those required to register as sex offenders. If you have been arrested for a 1st offense simple possession of Meth, you likely qualify for a drug diversion program, which if successfully completed would allow you to avoid jail time and a criminal record. The following punishments are what you face if arrested for possession of Meth:

  • Up to 1 year in LA County Jail (Misdemeanor) or up to 3 years in California State Prison (Felony)
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Summary or formal probation
  • Community service/labor
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Criminal record

Possession Of Prescription Drugs Without Prescription | BP 4060

Abuse of prescription medications has risen substantially over the past two decades. As a result,  possession without a valid prescription of drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and other opium-derived pain relievers, and many anti-anxiety meds such as Xanax and Adderall have resulted in drug possession charges for many. Defined under California Business and Professions Code 4060, it is unlawful to be in possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription issued directly by a physician, physician assistant, dentist, nurse practitioner, or veterinarian. As with possession of Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth, possession of prescription drugs without a prescription in Los Angeles is commonly prosecuted as misdemeanor. However, you can be charged with a felony if you are registered sex offender or have prior serious felony convictions on your criminal record. If charged with BP 4060, you face the following punishments:

  • Up to 1 year in LA County Jail (Misdemeanor) or up to 3 years in California State Prison (Felony)
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Summary or formal probation
  • Community service/labor
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Criminal record

Contact Our LA Drug Crime Attorneys Now For A Free Consultation

Since 1987, criminal defense attorneys Paul Takakjian and Stephen Sitkoff have successfully defended drug crimes in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. As former senior deputy district attorneys who previously prosecuted drug crimes in each Los Angeles Superior Court, Mr. Takakjian and Mr. Sitkoff both possess the legal experience and courtroom expertise to guarantee your case will be fought on an even playing field. Contact our West LA office now at (888) 579-4844 for a free consultation to learn how we can help you. For our clients’ convenience, we also maintain satellite locations in each of the following cities: Torrance, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, Encino, Woodland Hills, West Covina, Oxnard, Westlake Village, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach.

Call for Your Free Initial Consultation: (310) 312-8055

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