DRUG PARAPHERNALIA DEFENSE ATTORNEY ORANGE COUNTY CA
If you were pulled over by the Orange County police and you had a pipe, hypodermic needle or other drug paraphernalia in your car, you could be facing charges for Orange County drug paraphernalia possession. Even if you didn’t have any illegal drugs on you at the time of your arrest, you could be convicted of a drug crime punishable by a jail sentence and significant fines. Or, if you are also found to be in possession of an illicit drug, you could face the separate but related crime of drug possession. Fortunately, there are many defense strategies an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney can present on your behalf to get your drug paraphernalia charges reduced to a lesser offense, or possibly even dismissed altogether. Or, if you are convicted of drug paraphernalia possession, your attorney may be able to convince the judge to allow you to participate in a drug diversion program in lieu of jail. For more information about Orange County drug paraphernalia possession laws, or to speak to a skilled drug paraphernalia defense attorney about your legal options when facing drug crime charges, contact Seyb Law Group as soon as possible.
Orange County Drug Paraphernalia Defense Attorney
The consequences of a drug paraphernalia conviction are harsh and can adversely affect both your personal and professional life. The Orange County courts take a tough stance on drug crimes and being arrested for drug paraphernalia possession may seem like the end of your world as you know it, but it is important to remember that you still have rights. Most importantly, you have the right to retain legal counsel and defend yourself against the drug crime charges, which is where our criminal defense attorneys come in. At Seyb Law Group, we have earned a reputation for defending the rights of the criminally accused in our community, and we can help you fight the drug paraphernalia charges against you.
Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we realize how devastating a drug paraphernalia possession conviction can be for you and your family. We understand that every drug paraphernalia case is different, and for that reason, we believe in working directly with clients to ensure that their specific needs are met throughout the duration of their criminal case. We also offer potential clients a free initial consultation, which means you can discuss your case with our top drug paraphernalia defense attorneys with no obligation to hire our firm. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony drug paraphernalia charges in Orange County, don’t risk a criminal conviction. You need to act quickly to hire qualified legal counsel, so you can protect your reputation and avoid having a permanent mark on your criminal record.
Drug Paraphernalia Possession
The definition of drug paraphernalia is any item that aids in the use of an illicit substance, and this can include everything from methamphetamine pipes and cocaine spoons to hypodermic needles. There are also a wide range of everyday items that could be considered drug paraphernalia if they are found near illegal substances. On the other hand, there are other items that are more often associated with the sale and manufacture of drugs that are not covered under Orange County’s drug paraphernalia possession law. For instance, scales used to weigh drugs, and capsules, balloons and other containers used to package drugs would not fall under the crime of drug paraphernalia possession. Instead, possession of such items typically associated with drug manufacture or sale would be covered by Orange County laws prohibiting drug trafficking and drug possession with the intent to sell.
California Drug Paraphernalia Health and Safety Code § 11364 HS
California Health and Safety Code § 11364 HS makes it a crime to own or possess “an opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking a controlled substance.” Under this law, a “controlled substance” can include any of the following illegal drugs:
There are other Orange County drug crime laws closely related to HS § 11364, including HS § 11350 – drug possession, HS § 11352 – drug trafficking, Penal Code § 1164.7(b) PC – delivering or manufacturing drug paraphernalia, PC § 1164.7(c) – furnishing drug paraphernalia to a minor, and PC § 1164.7(c) – possession of a hypodermic needle on school grounds, and depending on the circumstances of your case, the prosecutor may decide to charge you with these crimes in addition to simple drug paraphernalia possession.
Exceptions to the Drug Paraphernalia Law
There are several important exceptions to the Orange County drug paraphernalia possession law. Until the year 2021, it is not against the law to possess hypodermic needles or syringes, so long as they are solely for your own personal use, and you acquired them from a physician, a syringe exchange program or another authorized source. Under this law, if you are caught with heroin needles you got from a syringe exchange program, you cannot lawfully face criminal charges for possession of drug paraphernalia. However, if you are caught with heroin in your possession, you could be charged with the drug crime known as possession of a controlled substance. It is also important to note that marijuana is specifically excluded from Orange County’s drug paraphernalia possession law. Under Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, most personal, recreational marijuana use in Orange County is now legal. There are also certain professionals who are exempt from prosecution under HS § 11364, including:
- Police officers or anyone working under their immediate supervision or direction
- Doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians and dentists, or manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy to prescribe, sell or transfer hypodermic needles and other objects that would otherwise be considered illegal drug paraphernalia
Drug Paraphernalia Penalties in Orange County
Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia in violation of HS § 11364 is a misdemeanor crime punishable by probation, up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. In addition to a jail sentence and fines, a defendant convicted of Orange County drug paraphernalia possession could face other life-changing consequences, especially if he or she holds any professional licensing. Under Orange County law, if you hold a professional license as a lawyer, contractor, teacher, real estate agent, etc., and you are convicted of, or even just arrested for, drug paraphernalia possession, your license could be revoked and you could lose your job.
Some defendants convicted of Orange County drug paraphernalia possession may be eligible for an alternative sentencing program, in which drug rehabilitation is offered in lieu of a jail sentence. This alternative sentencing falls under Penal Code § 1000 PC, known as drug diversion or “deferred entry of judgment,” and requires that the defendant pleads guilty or “no contest” to the drug paraphernalia charges. If you successfully complete the drug rehabilitation program and probation, your drug paraphernalia charges would ultimately be dismissed. If you don’t complete drug diversion, the judge could order you to serve a jail sentence.
If you are convicted of drug paraphernalia possession in Orange County, you may be eligible to get the conviction expunged under Penal Code § 1203.4 PC. In order to be eligible for drug crime expungement, you must have completed probation and complied with all other orders from the court, in which case you can petition the court to dismiss the drug paraphernalia charges. PC § 1203.4 would allow you to withdraw your plea of guilty or no contest and enter a plea of not guilty, or if you were convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court would effectively set aside the guilty verdict.
Orange County Drug Paraphernalia Defense
Based on the elements required to prove a drug paraphernalia possession crime, our criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group will build a strong defense on your behalf, using every resource at our disposal to poke holes in the prosecution’s case against you. As in any criminal case, the burden of proof in an Orange County drug paraphernalia case lies with the prosecution, which means, in order to get a drug paraphernalia conviction in your case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements of the crime:
- That you were aware the items in question were drug paraphernalia;
- That you were aware the drug paraphernalia was in your presence; and
- That you exercised control over, or had the right to control, the drug paraphernalia.
Under HS § 11364, “control” over drug paraphernalia can be active or constructive. To actively control drug paraphernalia means you physically carry the paraphernalia on your person. To constructively control drug paraphernalia, you either exercise control over the paraphernalia (you own it and keep it in your home), or you have the right to exercise control over it, either by yourself or with another person (you and your wife share the pipe that you keep in the garage).
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County Drug Paraphernalia Cases
Drug crimes are punished harshly in Orange County and even a first drug paraphernalia possession conviction can result in a jail sentence and significant fines. Fortunately, there are a number of legal defenses to Orange County’s drug paraphernalia possession law that an experienced criminal defense attorney can present on your behalf. Your attorney may use one or more of the following defense strategies to fight drug paraphernalia possession charges in Orange County:
- The item in question wasn’t drug paraphernalia
- You didn’t know the item was paraphernalia
- You didn’t have control over the paraphernalia
- You weren’t aware of the paraphernalia’s presence
- The paraphernalia was obtained during an illegal search
If your attorney can raise questions that create reasonable doubt of your guilt in the minds of the judge and jury, and the prosecution is therefore unable to prove each element of the crime of drug paraphernalia possession beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be lawfully convicted of the crime. Or, if your attorney can prove that the drug paraphernalia was discovered during an illegal search or seizure, he or she may be able to get the evidence thrown out.
How Hiring a Drug Paraphernalia Defense Attorney Can Help
Being arrested for or charged with a drug crime like drug paraphernalia possession can be scary and confusing, and you should never face these criminal charges on your own. You need an experienced drug paraphernalia defense attorney on your side who is familiar with the inner workings of the Orange County criminal justice system and who can ensure that your legal rights are protected. You should never for one moment believe that the police or the court will go easy on you because drug paraphernalia possession seems like a minor offense in the grand scheme of things. It is the job of the police to collect as much evidence as possible against you and the main objective of the prosecutor assigned to your case is to get a “guilty” verdict and send you to jail. Our defense attorneys will analyze every aspect of the charge against you, ensure that you understand the law as it applies to your situation, and do everything in our power to help you get the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact Our Skilled Drug Crime Defense Attorneys Today
Drug crimes like drug possession and drug trafficking are punished harshly in Orange County, but even possession of drug paraphernalia can carry serious penalties and therefore requires immediate intervention by a skilled criminal defense attorney. Any time you are facing criminal charges in Orange County, your freedom and your future are at stake, and drug crimes in particular are taken extremely seriously by the court. Under Orange County law, a conviction for drug paraphernalia possession could mean spending up to six months in jail and losing your job, not to mention possibly having your professional license revoked and your reputation ruined. If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug paraphernalia possession in Orange County or the surrounding counties, do not wait to protect your legal rights. Contact our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today to find out how you can fight the drug paraphernalia charges against you.