San Bernardino Drug Crimes Attorney
Serving San Bernardino, Riverside and the Inland Empire
The Law Offices of Mark Raymond McDonald has a long history of successfully handling the defense of clients charged with all types of drug offenses under the Controlled Substance Act. The Controlled Substance Act is a consolidation of laws that regulate the possession, manufacturing and distribution of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, and chemicals used in the illicit production of controlled substances or illegal drugs.
Drug crimes are wide in variety, ranging from simple possession to sales, large scale sale and trafficking, and manufacturing. The punishments vary widely and I will outline them below.
Under the Influence
Being under the influence of a controlled substance (meth, cocaine, ecstasy, illegal prescription, LSD, mushrooms, etc.) is always a misdemeanor unless you are under the influence while in the immediate possession of a loaded firearm. Being under the influence usually results in a drug program, after which the case can be dismissed and the arrest record destroyed.
Simple possession of all of the above-mentioned drugs will also result in a drug program unless you are found unsuitable because of prior convictions for serious crimes or too many unsuccessful attempts at drug programs in the past. Simple possession of marijuana, if less than one ounce, is only an infraction (equivalent to a traffic ticket). If you are not allowed to do a program, you can receive up to a year in jail for simple possession. A good lawyer can keep you out of jail or allow you to do your jail time on work-release of house arrest. All misdemeanor drug possession convictions will also require you to register as a drug offender, unless you successfully complete a drug program.
Possession for Sale
Possession for sale of a controlled substance is always a felony and obviously more serious. I will not address marijuana here because there is a section on the site entitled “Medical Marijuana Cases” and that involves a whole different set of laws.
Drugs are viewed as being possessed for sale if a number of indicators are present. Essentially, they are:
- Quantity of the drug
- How the drug is packaged (if the drug is divided up into a number of small baggies, that suggests an intent to sell)
- Whether there is a lot of cash seized during the bust, especially if the cash is in small denominations ($20 dollar bills)
- Whether there are ledgers (called pay-owe sheets) indicating who owes the drug dealer how much for a particular sale)
- Text messages indicating that a sale is occurring or will occur.
Possession for sale carries a sentence of probation up to five years in prison (rock cocaine carries the stiffest penalty. If a loaded firearm is nearby the drugs, lots more prison time can be added. If you have many kilos in your possession, depending upon the weight, you can receive twenty years in prison. If you have previous convictions for possession for sale, each prior conviction adds three years to your sentence in your new case. A talented drug crime lawyer can negotiate these enhanced sentences much lower.
This charge involves someone carrying the drugs in a vehicle, and carries a sentence of probation up to 4 years prison. If you are transporting drugs just for your personal use, you again may take advantage of a drug class instead of a felony conviction.
Manufacturing controlled substances, such as in a meth lab, manufacturing steroids, honey oil and other controlled substances is a very serious offense. The manufacturing process is considered very dangerous to life and the process is making dangerous drugs available on a large scale. As a result, manufacturing charges carry up to 7 years in prison.
San Bernardino Lawyer Defending Drug Cases
Drug cases often involve search warrants, vehicle searches, and even warrantless searches. Many of these mechanisms of gathering evidence involve getting past your constitutional rights. You have the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, meaning that search warrants are often required to obtain evidence. If the police draft a defective warrant, or lie about what they put into it (or leave out), then they stand to lose all of the evidence they took. The result: your case gets dismissed.
When you consider a lawyer for a drug case, make sure you hire one with a great working knowledge of constitutional law so that all of these defenses are available to you. Mark McDonald is that lawyer, having successfully had many, many drug cases dismissed because of reckless, lazy or simply dishonest police work.
Call (909) 443-1599 today for a free consultation. You can discuss all of these options with the San Bernardino and Riverside drug crime defense lawyer at the firm.