Some of the most common crimes we deal with are those involving the possession, sale, transportation, manufacturing, or distribution of illegal drugs. Wilber Law Offices represents people arrested or charged in Sonoma, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Solano counties for drug related offenses. Whatever drug your case involves, whether it's methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, crack, prescription drugs like Oxycontin or Norco, ecstasy, designer drugs, psylocybin mushrooms, LSD, or any other controlled substance, you need an attorney who has experience defending drug cases.
Possible Penalties for Drug Crimes
If you are convicted of a drug-related crime in California, you could face serious penalties. Probation, mandatory drug treatment, hefty fines, community service, registration as a drug offender, forfeiture of your property or cash, and jail or imprisonment. What penalties you are at risk of facing depends on the circumstances of your case, and whether you are charged with misdemeanors or felonies. It also depends on whether you have prior convictions that make the current charges more serious. There are a wide range of consequences for drug crimes based on the type of charge (i.e., simple possession vs. sales), your individual record, what kind of drugs you possessed and how much, and the specific facts of your case.
If you or someone you love is arrested for a drug-related offense, it's imperative that you have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side. A practiced drug crimes attorney will evaluate your case, investigate the facts, handle pre-trial litigation if there are issues that warrant the dismissal or reduction of charges, negotiate for treatment instead of jail or instead of convictions where appropriate, and if necessary, try your case to a jury. Often, those charged with simple drug possession or even more serious drug crimes are eligible to have their case dismissed or penalties reduced by participating in treatment programs through the court or privately.
Were you illegally searched?
One of the best defenses to drug charges is to contest the “search and seizure” that resulted in law enforcement finding drugs on you or in your car or house. Police can't stop and search you for no reason. They have to have a legal justification for invading your privacy: probable cause to believe you were committing a crime, a warrant, or another valid, legal exception to the general rule that you have the right to privacy. If law enforcement violated your constitutional right against illegal searches when they arrested you, you have the right to have that evidence thrown out in court. This takes a fight, however! Only a skilled drug crimes lawyer can properly identify and litigate search and seizure issues on your behalf in the courtroom. Both Rachel and Ryan Wilber have successfully gotten many cases dismissed on the basis of an illegal search. We know the laws and the procedures necessary to get illegally obtained evidence against you suppressed!
California supports the idea that drug offenders often do better with a chance at treatment rather than immediate incarceration. Addiction is a struggle and doesn't necessarily make someone a criminal. As long as the offense is non-violent, there are several options that may apply to you if you are facing a drug charge:
- Penal Code section 1000 et seq. (diversion, or DEJ) is a law that offers a defendant the chance to plead guilty to a drug charge, but not to be sentenced for a period of time while he/she is given a chance to complete a drug treatment program. While the treatment is taking place, there is no actual conviction on the person's record. As long as the program is completed successfully and no further crimes are committed during the “diversion” time, the guilty plea is then withdrawn and the person is never sentenced — therefore there is no criminal conviction on their record!
- Penal Code section 1210 (Proposition 36): California's Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act states that those charged with “simple drug possession” shall receive substance abuse treatment and probation rather than jail. Treatment programs can be anything from residential treatment, to outpatient treatment of choice. Once a program is successfully completed, proof can be submitted to the court along with a petition to have your case dismissed!
- Drug Court: This option is more intensive and usually applies to repeat offenders or those charged with more serious felony drug crimes. This court may be an option for you as an alternative to jail or prison, should you be willing to participate in regular testing, court dates, group and individual counseling, and homework. As you go through the program, more and more freedoms return as the court supervises your progress. At the end of the program you may be able to have your case dismissed.
It's not easy to be granted a chance at treatment instead of jail. If you want an opportunity at treatment, you need an attorney who knows your options and who will be persuasive in court. It is in your best interest to contact our office today to get the advice and services you need!
Call (707) 527-3451 for your FREE CONSULTATION!