Drug crimes are one of the most frequently prosecuted criminal offenses in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. However, in trying to keep narcotics off the street, police officers often overstep their bounds, violating citizens’ rights in the process. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney has more than two decades of personal litigation experience representing clients facing all types of drug crimes. With her help, you can ensure that your arrest will have as little impact on your future as possible.Types of Drug Crimes in California
Under California law, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance. This includes street drugs as well as prescription medication unless you have a valid prescription. While the list of prohibited drugs is long, the most common drug crimes involve the following substances:
- Xanax, Percocet, and other prescription medications.
While California law used to punish some drug possession charges as felonies, voters passed Proposition 47 almost a decade ago, making the vast majority of drug crimes misdemeanors. However, even possession offenses can carry significant consequences. For example, it may be harder to find a job, get into school, or obtain citizenship.
The most serious drug crimes involve possession for sale, manufacturing, or trafficking. These crimes are generally considered felonies. Notably, to charge you with any of these crimes, the prosecution doesn’t necessarily need direct evidence that you sold, manufactured or trafficked drugs. In fact, the government often proceeds with these cases based on circumstantial evidence.
For example, if you are arrested with narcotics in your possession under any of the following circumstances, the chances of being charged with a drug distribution crime increase dramatically:
- You possessed a large amount of a single drug,
- You possessed multiple types of different drugs,
- You were arrested with a lot of cash, or
- You were arrested with paraphernalia often associated with the sale of narcotics, such as scales or empty baggies.
Prosecutors may also be able to use any statement you made to police to prove that you have the intent to sell. Most drug crimes are prosecuted in state court. However, if the government believes you trafficked drugs into or out of the state, you may face federal charges.Defenses to Southern California Drug Crimes
Just because you were arrested and charged with a drug crime doesn’t make you guilty. In fact, you are presumed innocent unless and until the government can prove otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many defenses to drug crimes that can either result in a withdrawal of the case against you, an acquittal at trial, or in the prosecution offering a plea to reduced charges.
Perhaps the most common defense against Los Angeles drug crimes is a motion to suppress physical evidence. A motion to suppress is a pre-trial motion asking the court to keep certain evidence out of trial because it was seized in violation of your constitutional rights. In drug cases, the most common motions to suppress are based on illegal traffic stops and illegal pedestrian stops. Before a police officer can pull you over or stop you on the street, they must have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause. If the officer cannot justify a stop, any evidence they recovered as a result cannot be presented to the jury. Often, once the court grants a motion to suppress, the prosecution has no evidence against you, meaning they may have no choice but to drop the case.Are You Facing Drug Charges in Southern California?
If you were recently arrested for a drug crime, it is essential that you find an attorney who will take your case as seriously as you do. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, Attorney Melanie Killedjian has been a respected defense attorney for more than 22 years. Her ability to think outside the box has resulted in countless withdrawn cases and acquittals. She also handles gun crimes, sex offenses, DUIs and more. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Melanie Killedjian at the Killedjian Law Corporation, call (818) 986-0888 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.