Experienced Modesto Criminal Defense Lawyer Aggressively Defending the Rights of Those Accused of Narcotics Offenses
While California led the charge to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the fact remains that the state’s drug laws are strictly enforced as they pertain to all other controlled substances. If you are convicted in a Modesto drug case, it could land you in jail, and even if you’re spared of incarceration, the conviction will significantly limit your future opportunities. The result is that if you are charged with drug crimes, you need a criminal defense lawyer who will take your case as seriously as you do. At the Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez, we proudly stand up for our clients’ rights in the face of aggressive police and overzealous prosecutors.
California Drug Laws
In California, a drug crime can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, the seriousness of an offense depends on how much of a controlled substance someone has in their possession and if they possessed the substance for personal use or whether they intended to sell it.
Misdemeanor Drug Possession
Under California Health and Safety Code § 11350, it is a misdemeanor for anyone to possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription. However, this statute assumes that the controlled substance was for personal use. Even small amounts of narcotics, if offered for sale, will result in felony drug charges. Simple possession charges carry a maximum term of one-year of incarceration.
Felony Possession With Intent to Sell
Those arrested for possession with intent to sell a controlled substance face felony charges. To prove you guilty of felony drug charges, the prosecution can either use direct or circumstantial evidence that you sold or intended to sell a controlled substance. For example, direct evidence would be if police officers observed a street-level drug deal. On the other hand, circumstantial evidence of possession with intent to sell may come up when a police officer arrests you with a large quantity of drugs in your possession. Other factors that may turn a simple possession case into a possession with intent to distribute case include situations where you possessed:
- A scale,
- Unused baggies,
- A large amount of cash, especially in small bills,
- Multiple types of drugs.
Defenses to Drug Charges in Stanislaus County
Just because you are charged with a drug crime doesn’t mean that you will be found guilty. In fact, there are several defenses that can result in the government dropping its case or offering a plea agreement to a less serious offense, such as simple possession.
Perhaps the most common defense in drug cases is a motion to suppress. A motion to suppress is a pre-trial motion filed by the defense, asking the court to keep certain evidence out of trial, usually because it was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, police officers need to have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop you. If an officer conducts a stop and frisk without legal justification, any evidence they recover during your arrest cannot be introduced at trial. In drug cases, this means that the prosecution cannot introduce the drugs, which, in turn, means they often have no evidence to move forward with.
Another common defense is challenging the prosecution’s assertion that you possessed drugs with the intent to sell them. While this is not a complete defense (because you may still be found guilty for simple possession), beating the felony drug charges often means that you won’t end up with a jail sentence.
Take the First Step Towards Beating Your Case by Contacting an Experienced Modesto Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges of simple possession or possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, reach out to the Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez for immediate assistance. Our Modesto criminal defense lawyer has extensive experience aggressively litigating all types of drug crimes on behalf of our clients. We routinely achieve the best possible result for our clients through motions to suppress, negotiations with prosecutors and, whenever necessary, jury trials. We also handle cases involving violent crimes, gang allegations, and firearms offenses. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 209-488-4959. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.