Defense For Drug Charges In Orange County
If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug offense in Orange County, CA, you’ll need a reliable and experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the criminal process, protect your constitutional rights, and build a strong defense on your behalf. Securing legal representation early is critical for achieving a favorable outcome. An Orange County drug crime lawyer at Visco Wohl Law can examine your case and expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument in an attempt to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether.
The firm’s founders and principle attorneys — David E. Wohl and Joshua P. Visco has successfully represented clients facing drug charges for over 35 years. A drug conviction carries severe penalties, some of which may include jail or prison time, hefty fines, mandatory drug treatment, probation, driver’s license suspension, forfeiture of assets and a permanent criminal record. Don’t wait another minute to take charge of your future. Call today (714) 689-6042) to schedule a free case evaluation.
Types of Drug Crimes
In Orange County, there is a wide range of illegal acts categorized as drug crimes under the California Health and Safety Code, some of which includes:
- Possession of controlled substance -HS 11350: it is a misdemeanor crime to possess a controlled substance for personal use. Such substances include illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and meth as well as unauthorized prescription painkillers and other medications like Vicodin or OxyContin.
- Potential Punishment: up to one year in state prison and fines up to $2,000 however most people can avoid these harsh punishments by qualifying for drug diversion program
- Possession for sale of narcotics – HS 11351: it is a felony crime to possess illegal drugs for the purpose of selling them
- Potential Punishment: up to four years in state prison, probation with up to one year in county jail and fines up to $20,000
- Sale or transportation of a controlled substance – HS 11352: it is a felony crime to sell, furnish, administer, transport, or import illegal drugs into California.
- Potential Punishment: punishable by 3, 4 or 5 years in state prison and a maximum $20,000 fine.
- Manufacturing drugs and narcotics – HS 11379: it is a felony crime to manufacture, produce, compound, or process a controlled substance.
- Potential Punishment: punishable by three, five or seven years in county jail and a maximum fine of $50,000.
Aggravating Factors Impact Sentencing
There are several factors that can affect whether the drug crime will be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and therefore impact your sentencing.
- type and quantity of substances involved
- whether the drugs were for personal use or for sale
- whether you have a criminal record, especially prior drug convictions
Defenses for Drug Crimes in the OC
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may have several viable defenses available to you. After a careful examination of your case, we may be able to apply one or more of the following defenses:
- Illegal Search and Seizure: Law enforcement in Orange County can be overzealous and as a result may have breached proper protocol. For example, if the police did not have a compelling reason to search you or your belongings, it would be a violation of your constitutional rights which would lead to the the drug evidence being inadmissible in court.
- Lack of Possession: We may argue that you lacked the necessary dominion and control over the drugs and therefore lacked possession.
- No Intent to Sell: We can demonstrate that the drugs were simply for personal use and sufficient evidence does not exist to prove possession with intent
- Entrapment: Law enforcement can legally setup sting operations but officers or informants cannot induce a suspect to commit a crime he or she otherwise may not have committed.
- Crime Lab Analysis: the prosecution needs to prove the seized substance was indeed an illicit drug and independent crime lab must confirm
Seeking Rehabilitative Drug Treatment As Alternative To Criminal Punishment
We are strong advocates of pursuing alternative sentencing for our clients including drug rehabilitation and treatment programs. If you are a first-time or second-time drug offender, you may be able to take advantage of a “Prop 36” sentence which allows you to avoid incarceration by submitting to substance abuse treatment for up to one year, with an additional six months of aftercare treatment. Another alternative sentencing option is the deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) PC 1000 program. This would require you to enter a guilty plea but you would not be convicted. Instead, the case is put on hold for a set period of time so that you can take drug education classes and/or undergo treatment. Upon successful completion of these programs, the drug charges against you would be dismissed.