Drug crimes are heavily prosecuted in Orange County and throughout Southern California, as local law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office attempt to put a dent in drug crime rates. Unfortunately, that means even individuals arrested for seemingly minor drug crimes like drug paraphernalia and simple drug possession may face aggressive prosecution and overly strict sentencing. Hire an experienced drug crimes lawyer to protect your rights and your future.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a drug crime in Orange County, your first course of action should be to consult a skilled drug crimes defense lawyer with extensive experience defending drug-related criminal cases.
At Seyb Law Group, our Orange County criminal defense attorneys have a reputation for aggressive and passionate legal representation, and we will do everything in our power to help you fight the allegations against you and avoid a drug crime conviction.
AFFORDABLE, AGGRESSIVE ORANGE COUNTY DRUG CRIMES LAWYER
Facing charges for a drug crime like possession or trafficking may seem like the end of the world, but the best advice we can give you is to remember that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction.
Just because you have been accused of committing a drug crime does not mean you will be found guilty of any wrongdoing, and an attorney specializing in Orange County drug crimes defense may be able to help you keep your freedom intact.
Any time you are facing criminal charges for drug possession, drug distribution, drug transportation, or drug manufacturing, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands Orange County drug laws and how they apply to your case.
Our criminal defense attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of clients accused of drug-related crimes in Orange County and the surrounding counties, and whether you have been charged with simple drug possession, possession with the intent to sell, large-scale drug trafficking, or drug paraphernalia, we will use every resource at our disposal to help you secure a favorable outcome in your case.
DRUG CRIMES DEFINITION
The term “drug crime” is a broad one, referring to any criminal offense that involves the possession, use, sale, distribution, or transportation of illicit drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances, like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy, or LSD. Even prescription drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin can lead to drug charges being filed in Orange County if they are not lawfully prescribed.
Illicit drugs and unauthorized prescription medications account for the most high-profile drug busts and subsequent drug crime charges in the United States. However, while recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in the state of California, meaning adults ages 21 and over can possess up to one ounce of marijuana without facing prosecution, it is still a crime to possess more than one ounce of marijuana, cultivate more than six marijuana plants, or sell or transport any amount of marijuana in Orange County.
Drug crimes in Orange County are charged based on the California Health and Safety Code, which, following federal law, details the five different schedules or categories of illegal drugs and controlled substances. The following are the five schedules of controlled substances and some common drugs that fall into each category:
- Schedule I – Drugs with a high potential for abuse and the potential to be unsafe for use except with the express written consent of a medical professional (heroin, LSD, ecstasy, marijuana)
- Schedule II – Drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe physical or psychological dependence (cocaine, Vicodin, methamphetamine, Oxycontin, morphine)
- Schedule III – Drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependence and potential for abuse lower than Schedule I and Schedule II, but higher than Schedule IV (Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, testosterone, anabolic steroids)
- Schedule IV – Drugs with a low potential for abuse and a low risk of dependence (Xanax, Valium, Tramadol, Darvon, Darvocet)
- Schedule V – Drugs with a lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and containing limited quantities of certain narcotics (Robitussin AC, Lomotil, Parepectolin, Motofen)
Drug Possession & Trafficking
It is against the law in Orange County to possess, manufacture or distribute a controlled substance like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, and other illegal drugs, or even prescription medication, if you don’t have a valid prescription.
Under California Health and Safety Code § 11350 HS, Orange County drug possession is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both. If you possess a controlled substance with the intent to sell, you could face prosecution under HS § 11351, a felony offense punishable by up to four years in county jail, up to $20,000 in fines, or both. Under HS § 11352, the crime of selling or transporting a controlled substance – drug trafficking in Orange County – is a felony offense punishable by up to nine years in county jail, up to $20,000 in fines, or both.
In Orange County, it is also a crime to possess any item that may aid in the use of an illicit substance, such as a hypodermic needle, cocaine spoon, or methamphetamine pipe, known as drug paraphernalia. Even if you aren’t caught with any illegal drugs at the time of your arrest, you could be charged with Orange County drug paraphernalia under HS § 11364, a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to six months in county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A DRUG CRIMES ARREST
Being arrested for any crime can be confusing and overwhelming, but because of the stigma surrounding drug crimes, an arrest for drug possession or drug trafficking can be especially frightening.
The most important thing to remember after being arrested and taken into police custody is that you should never talk to the police without first consulting an attorney. As the Miranda warning states, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
Also, “You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning.” Far too often, individuals arrested for what seems like an innocent drug-related offense think they can talk their way out of criminal charges, only to make an incriminating statement that ends up hurting their case later on.
No matter what the police say, they are not on your side and they are not there to help you. They are there to gather evidence against you that the District Attorney can use to get a conviction. The only person that actually has your best interests in mind is your defense attorney.
PENALTIES FOR ORANGE COUNTY DRUG CRIMES
Drug crimes in Orange County vary a great deal in nature and severity, and the penalties you could potentially face for a drug crime conviction depend on the specific details of your case.
For instance, you may get off with fines and drug diversion in lieu of jail time for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, but marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug in Orange County, and possessing marijuana for sale is a much more serious crime than simple possession.
In fact, it can be charged as a felony offense if: you are a repeat offender, you intended to sell the marijuana illegally to minors, or you have a prior conviction for certain sex crimes or serious violent crimes.
Plus, in addition to jail time and hefty fines, a conviction for drug paraphernalia, drug possession, or drug trafficking in Orange County can have other potentially life-altering consequences for convicted offenders and their families.
Furthermore, there are other drug-related crimes besides drug possession or drug trafficking that can result in criminal charges being filed in Orange County and additional criminal penalties.
For instance, if you are arrested for the drug-related crime of DUI drugs (DUID), in addition to being sentenced to the county jail and fined thousands of dollars, you could also have your driver’s license suspended or revoked and be required to attend DUI school, especially if the DUID caused the injury or death of another person.
ORANGE COUNTY CA DRUG CRIMES DEFENSE
Drug-related crimes tend to be high-profile cases and that means there is more pressure to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law and more room for fatal errors to be made on the part of the state. For instance, when making drug busts, law enforcement officers may make arrests without adequate evidence, “set up” suspects in violation of Orange County entrapment laws, mislead judges in order to get a search warrant, exaggerate or lie in their police reports, or violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects us all from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement.
Unless you have a strong background in criminal defense, you may not be aware of the many ways in which your rights can be violated with regard to drug crime arrests and prosecution, and that is where we come in. Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have more than 60 years of combined experience in criminal defense and our top priorities are to advocate for you and protect your legal rights.
In any criminal case in Orange County, the defendant has the presumption of innocence on his or her side, an important legal principle that says the defendant is considered innocent unless proven guilty. What that means is, no matter how irrefutable the evidence in your drug crimes case may seem, the prosecutor still has the burden of proving his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In other words, the prosecutor can only convict you of the drug crime you are accused of committing if he or she can establish each element of the crime to the extent that the jury is convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you are guilty. Some valid defense strategies your attorney may use in a drug possession case to challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you include the following:
- You did not know the controlled substance was present
- You did not know the substance was a drug
- You had a valid prescription for the drug
- You did not have possession of the drug
- The drug was obtained during an illegal search
- You only had possession of the drug temporarily, so you could dispose of it
HOW HIRING A DRUG CRIMES DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
No matter how serious the charges against you are, or how dire your situation may appear, it is important to remember that you still have rights, including the right to legal representation and a fair trial.
Whatever the nature of your drug crimes charge, our legal team will go above and beyond to provide you with the exceptional legal representation you deserve, launching an independent investigation into the allegations against you, interviewing expert witnesses, and searching for holes in the prosecution’s case.
At Seyb Law Group, our defense attorneys understand how devastating a drug crime conviction would be for you and your family and we will work tirelessly to protect your future, your freedom, and your reputation.
Our defense team is intimately familiar with the inner workings of the Orange County criminal justice system, and we can help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Depending on the circumstances of your case and the prosecution’s evidence against you, that may mean a more favorable plea deal, a reduction or dismissal of charges, an acquittal by the jury, or mitigation of the consequences resulting from a conviction.
CONTACT OUR ORANGE COUNTY DRUG CRIME DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
Drug crimes are some of the most harshly prosecuted offenses in Orange County, and a drug crimes conviction could result in a lengthy prison sentence, costly fines, and other serious repercussions, such as job loss, termination of government-provided benefits, difficulty finding housing, and a loss of professional licensing, among other collateral consequences.
A reputable defense attorney specializing in drug crimes cases will have a clear understanding of Orange County drug crimes law and how it applies to your case, and that can mean the difference between being sent to jail and walking away with your freedom.