Drug Crimes

DRUG POSSESSION, SALES, TRAFFICKING,

DISTRIBUTION DEFENSE

California is notorious for drug-trafficking and other drug offenses. As a result, the legislature and courts have taken steps to increase the enforcement of, and penalties for, drug offenses.

Drug possession in California is a crime that can result in charges of various degrees ranging from a simple misdemeanor to a complex felony case or even filed as a federal offense.

Types of Drug Charges in California

Possession of Drugs: Drug possession can range anywhere from a misdemeanor to felony drug possession for controlled substances. To prove a person guilty, the DA has to prove that the accused had custody and control of the illegal drug. The Law Office of John Karas has the  experience and know-how to defend and win drug possession cases.

Drug Smuggling: The act of transporting any controlled substance illegally with the intent to either distribute or possess can be prosecuting as a state or federal crime because drug smuggling often involves crossing state lines.   

Possession of Drugs with Intent to Distribute: Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute (sell) can substantially increase the sentence (amount of jail time) imposed.

Experienced Drug Crime Attorney

Mr. Karas has extensive experience defending against state, federal, misdemeanor, felony, and prescription drug charges including:

Narcotics Trafficking

Drug Possession

Manufacturing Drugs

Misdemeanor & Felony Drug Charges

Drug Selling & Distribution

Conspiracy to Commit Drug Crime

Intent to Distribute Drugs

Contact John Karas Law.

951-405-0555

As a Trial Attorney, Mr. Karas knows the importance of excluding evidence (keeping it out) so the DA will not be allowed to present it at trial.  

Regardless of what drugs (or paraphernalia) were seized, he examines the basis for the “stop” by the police which led to your arrest or the issuance of a search warrant.

If the stop was unlawful/pre-textual or there are defects in the search warrant, a Motion to Suppress all evidence (the observations made by the arresting cop, your statements or admissions, the drugs found,, etc.) may be viable in which case– no evidence equals dismissal.   

Bottom Line

If you’ve been charged with drug trafficking, possession, or other drug related crimes, you need a skilled, experienced and aggressive Drug Crime Attorney to handle your defense.  Mr. Karas has successfully defending individuals just like you charged with use, possession and/or sales of controlled substances.

Contact John Karas Law now.

951-405-0555
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Penalties

If you are convicted of possession of heroin as a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in a county jail, drug counseling, and possible community service or labor. 

If you get a third conviction of this section within 7 years of your first conviction and have refused court-appointed drug treatment, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 180 days in the county jail.

Health and Safety Code 11350–(Possession of controlled substances)

Penalties:

You face up to one (1) in county jail, and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) if charged as a misdemeanor. 

However, if you are charged with possession of heroin as a felony, you face sixteen (16) months, 2 years or 3 years jail time for this offense if you have any of the following convictions on your record: 1)  a conviction for any number of serious felonies, including murder, sexually violent offenses, sex crimes against a child under 14, and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or 2) a conviction for a sex crime that subjects you to California’s sex offender registration requirement.

 

Health & Safety Code 11365–(Aiding and Abetting Heroin Use)

Penalties:

Simply by being present while one or more others are using heroin (assuming you aid or abet their use in some way) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Health and Safety Code 11351–(Possession with Intent to Sell)

Penalties:

Possessing heroin with intent to sell is always charged as a felony. A conviction is punishable by either 1) up to a year in county jail or 2) 2, 3 or 4 years in jail plus a maximum $20,000 fine. 

If you are convicted of possessing or purchasing cocaine base for sale, you face 3, 4 or 5 years in  jail and a maximum $20,000 fine.

Health and Safety Code 11352 HS — Sales and Transportation of Heroin

Penalties:

The difference between Health and Safety Code 11352 HS and 11351 HS is that 11352 involves actual drug transactions (as opposed to possessing the narcotics with the intent to sell them) as a felony. 

If convicted of this felony, you face 3, 4 or 5 years in county jail (3, 6 or 9 years if you transport the drugs across more than two county lines).

Enhancements: 

If you are convicted of possession with intent to sell and the controlled substance is heroin, cocaine base or cocaine, you face an additional: 1) 3 years if the substance exceeds 1 kilogram by weight, 2) 5 years if it exceeds 4 kilograms, 3) 10 years if the substance exceeds ten kilograms, 4) 15 years if the drug weighs more than 20 kilograms, 5) 20 years if it weighs more than 40 kilograms, and 6) 25 years if it weighs more than 80 kilograms plus a fine of up to a maximum of $8,000,000.

If you are convicted of possessing or purchasing controlled substances for sale and you have at least one prior felony conviction for another California drug crime that involves more than mere personal use, you face an additional and consecutive 3 year term for each prior felony conviction.

Accused of Heroin related charge? Contact John Karas Law.

951-405-0555

Description: Health and Safety Code 11550–(Under the influence of Meth)

Penalties:

If you are convicted of this charge, you face up to one year in a county jail, drug counseling, and possible community service or labor. 

If you get a third conviction of this section within 7 years of your first conviction, and you have refused court-appointed drug treatment, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 180 days in the county jail.

Health & Safety Code 11377– (Possession)

Penalties:    

You violate Health and Safety Code 11377 when you possess Meth with penalties that range from up to one (1) year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000 if charged as a misdemeanor. 

However, under HS 11377 possession of crystal meth can be charged as a felony if you have a prior conviction for: 1) a sex crime or 2)  a serious offense such as murder or gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The sentence for a felony violation of Health and Safety Code 11377 includes 16 months or 2 or 3 years in jail.

Health and Safety Code 11378–(Possession with Intent to Sell)

Penalties:

Possession of crystal meth with intent to sell it is always charged as a felony. The sentence under 11378 HS is 16 months, 2 or 3 years in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Health and Safety Code 11379.6 –(Operating a Meth Lab/Manufacturing Narcotics)

Penalties:

Operating an illegal meth lab in California is a felony offense, punishable by up to 7 years in the California state prison. Offering to help the operation is punishable by up to 5 years.  Due to the dangers with meth labs (explosions causing great bodily injury, etc.) your sentence may increase if you: 1) produce “crystal” meth, 2)  manufacture meth in the presence of or in the same structure as children, 3) cause another person to die or suffer great bodily injury, or 4) have prior drug convictions.

Enhancements

Another offense under California’s Health and Safety Code section 11550 is being under the influence of cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, methamphetamines “meth”, or PCP while possessing a loaded, operable gun. 

This hybrid drug offense /gun law is a “wobbler” which means that it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  If convicted of this offense, you face imprisonment in a county jail or in the California State Prison. Each subsequent offense will automatically be charged as a felony, carrying a state prison sentence of 2 to 4 years.

If the court finds that you are addicted to any narcotic drug (and you possess or acquire a gun whether loaded or not even on your first offense), it will be an automatic felony under Penal Code 29800 PC California’s “felon with a firearm” law.  If you are convicted of any felony offense, Penal Code 29800 PC California’s “felon with a firearm” law also imposes a lifetime ban on owning, possessing, or acquiring firearms.

Accused of Meth related charge Contact John Karas Law.

951-405-0555

Health and Safety Code 11550 HS — Under the influence of Cocaine

Penalties

You violate Health and Safety Code 11550 HS “being under the influence of a controlled substance” when you are under the influence of any of the narcotics mentioned HS 11350.21 including cocaine. Conviction of this offense is punishable as a misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Health and Safety Code 11350 HS – Cocaine (Possession)

Personal possession of a controlled substance prohibits possessing a variety of illegal drugs (in addition to cocaine) that include: 1) opiates and opiate derivatives, 2) peyote, 3) PCP, 4) gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (“GHB”), 5) hallucinogenic substances such as LSD and 6) certain prescription drugs such as codeine and hydrocodone (“Vicodin”).

Penalties:  

If charged as misdemeanor, punishable by up to one (1) year in county jail and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000). 

If charged as a felony, penalties include a jail sentence of up to three (3) years, for personal possession of cocaine.  This includes defendants who have either of the following on their record; 1) a conviction for any number of serious felonies, including murder, sexually violent offenses, sex crimes against a child under 14, and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, 2) a conviction for a sex crime that subjects you to California’s sex offender registration requirement.

Health and Safety Code 11351 HS — Possession or purchase of Cocaine for Sale

Penalties

Possessing (or purchasing) these drugs with the intent to sell them is always charged as a felony and includes a jail sentence of 2, 3 or 4 years in the state prison and a $20,000 fine. 

If you are convicted of possessing or purchasing cocaine base for sale, you face 3, 4 or 5 years in prison plus the same maximum $20,000 fine. If you are convicted of possessing or purchasing cocaine or cocaine base for sale…and the amount of the cocaine or cocaine base exceeds one kilogram, you face an additional 3 to 25 years in prison and fines that could total $8,000,000.

Health and Safety Code 11352 HS — Transporting or Selling Cocaine

Penalties

HS 11352 is the most serious of the three possession / sales offenses.

If you are convicted of selling cocaine or cocaine base, transporting cocaine with intent to sell it, or engaging in any of the other activities prohibited under this law, you face 3, 4 or 5 years in the state prison AND 3, 6 or 9 years if you transport the cocaine across more than two county lines.

Accused of a cocaine related charge? Contact John Karas Law.

951-405-0555

Health and Safety Code 11550–(Under the Influence of MJ)

Penalties:  

Being under the influence of MJ (non-DUI case), is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year in jail,  drug counseling, fines and possible community service or labor. 

If you get a 3rd conviction within seven years of your first conviction and you refused court-appointed drug treatment, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 180 days in the county jail.

Description:  Health and Safety Code 11357–(Possession of MJ)

Penalties:

Simple possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana is not a crime in California but possession of more than that amount is a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail and a $500 fine.

Health and Safety Code 11359/11360 — (Possession of MJ for Sale/Intent to Sell)

Penalties:

Possession of Marijuana for sale is typically charged as a misdemeanor and carries 1 year jail time and up to a $1,000 fine. 

However, if you have 2 prior convictions of MJ sales, a 3rd or subsequent offense can be charged as a felony.  If charged as a felony, the potential sentence you are facing is 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail time and up to a $10,000 fine. 

This applies to MJ dispensaries as well regardless of whether you are operating under the Compassionate Use Act, Medical Marijuana Act or Adult Use Act in full compliance with state law if the city/county you are operating has a ban on MJ sales. 

The same hold true (can be charged as a felony) if you employ anyone under 21 to assist, engage or otherwise participate in MJ sales.

Title: Health and Safety Code 11363 HS –(Marijuana Cultivation “Growing”)

Penalties:

Marijuana cultivation (Growing) is permitted if you are 21 or older and you cultivate no more than six (6) marijuana plants for your own personal use. If you grown more than 6 MJ plants, it can be charged as a misdemeanor with up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. 

However, you can be charged with a felony if you cultivate  more than six marijuana plants and fall into one of the following categories: 1) prior serious violent felony on your record; 2) registered sex offender; 3) 2 or more prior convictions for cultivating more than six marijuana plants; or 4) if you violate certain California environmental laws in their marijuana cultivation activities. For these defendants, illegal cultivation of marijuana for recreational use is punishable by 16 months, 2 or 3 years in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Title: Health and Safety Code 11379.6–(Manufacturing MJ Products)

Penalties:

California’s law against manufacturing drugs also includes MJ products, among other things, concentrates, such as “dabs” or “wax” using butane or other flammable material which can be charged as a felony punishable by 3, 5 or 7 years jail time (county jail or state prison) and a maximum fine of $5,000. If you are charged and convicted of offering to manufacture drugs, it is a felony punishable by 3, 4 or 5 years in jail. 

In addition, there are a number of statutory aggravating factors that could trigger even lengthier sentences.  These include (1) manufacturing large quantities of certain drugs, (2) causing death or injury, (3) manufacturing narcotics in the presence of children, and (4) having certain prior drug-related convictions.

Accused of a Marijuana related charge? Contact John Karas Law.

951-405-0555

Types of Drug Charges in California

Possession of Drugs: Drug possession can range anywhere from a misdemeanor to felony drug possession for controlled substances. To prove a person guilty, the DA has to prove that the accused had custody and control of the illegal drug. The Law Office of John Karas has the  experience and know-how to defend and win drug possession cases.

Drug Smuggling: The act of transporting any controlled substance illegally with the intent to either distribute or possess can be prosecuting as a state or federal crime because drug smuggling often involves crossing state lines.   

Possession of Drugs with Intent to Distribute: Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute (sell) can substantially increase the sentence (amount of jail time) imposed.

Experienced Drug Crime Attorney for your best Defense

Mr. Karas has extensive experience defending against state, federal, misdemeanor, felony, and prescription drug charges. Drug crimes include:

  • Narcotics Trafficking
  • Drug Possession
  • Manufacturing Drugs
  • Misdemeanor & Felony Drug Charges
  • Drug Selling & Distribution
  • Conspiracy to Commit Drug Crime
  • Intent to Distribute Drugs

Drug charges can also include unlawful possession, sales, distribution of prescription medication.

California Drug Manufacturing Laws

The California Penal Code prohibits any person from knowingly or intentionally:

  • Possessing a listed chemical with the intent to unlawfully manufacture a controlled substance; or
  • In possession or distributing a listed chemical knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that it will be used to unlawfully manufacture a controlled substance

Any person violating drug manufacturing laws will be be facing felony charges and possible lengthy sentence in county jail or state prison.  It’s that simple.

Drug Trafficking: Defined as knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering, or being in possession of a controlled substance. Also, there are new, tougher penalties for repeat drug manufacturing offenders.

Finally, you could be charged under Federal statutes for manufacturing, selling, delivering, smuggling or trafficking controlled substances with even stiffer penalties and serving jail time in a Federal peneteniary.

Questions? Need to Schedule a Consultation?

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