How Does California Treat Drug Paraphernalia?

California, for the most part, treats drug paraphernalia as a misdemeanor. It could be helpful to determine whether or not someone should be charged with simple possession or possession for sales. Paraphernalia is typically a clear indicator that the individual is actually using narcotics and that would obviously support a simple possession for personal use. We can apply to both because many drug dealers are also drug users but for the most part, drug paraphernalia charges are misdemeanor charges in California.

Can Police Execute A Warrantless Search Of A Premises If They Suspect A Drug Offense?

Whether or not police can executive a warrantless search of premises if they suspect a drug offense depends on a few factors. The law enforcement typically needs either a search warrant or a consent from the owner to search the vehicle. However, in the event that the law enforcement officer has well-based reasonable suspicion, the officer will be able to legally search the vehicle. For example, if they had some suspicion and then they brought a drug sniffing dog to the vehicle and the drug sniffing dog alerted to the vehicle then that is a point where the officer will be able to legally search the vehicle. Rather than contesting the search of the vehicle itself, we commonly contest the reason that the vehicle was stopped in the first place. Many times, the law enforcement officers work on a hunch, which is not permissible under the law although it is common in practice. When officers are working on this hunch, they will fabricate a reason to stop someone in their vehicle. It is something that is more commonly litigated than the search itself because once again, typically when it comes to a search, the officers either have a warrant, they obtain consent from the owner of vehicle to search, or they have a well-developed probable cause to search the vehicle, which is fairly difficult to establish. In the example of the drug sniffing dog, at that point if that happened, the courts would probably support a warrantless search of the vehicle.

Can A Passenger Be Charged With A Drug Offense If Drugs Are Discovered In The Vehicle?

A passenger could possibly be charged with a drug offense if drugs are discovered in the vehicle. It would depend on the facts of the case. If you are a passenger in a vehicle and drugs are found, you can easily be charged but the prosecution would have to prove that you had knowledge of the drugs as the passenger. This is usually more difficult to do than with someone who is the driver. When it comes to the search of the home, many times people have roommates, family members, or other people living in the home, and they pose a risk of being charged if they are deemed to have control over the area in which the drugs are found. A bedroom would be one area or a common area of the house like a living room. Those are areas where someone simply living in the house, not necessarily the owner of the house or the person on the lease, could be charged. When it comes to searches of the home, the same principles apply with law enforcement either needing a search warrant or a consent of the owner to search.

What Is A General Timeline Of A Drug-Related Case In California?

The timeline of a drug-related case in California varies. A quick resolution for a felony drug case would probably be approximately two to three months. If a case were to go to trial, it could be anywhere from six months to a year or more.

What Are Penalties For Drug Convictions In California?

Penalties for drug convictions in California vary. For misdemeanor charges, it is no more than one year in county jail. In many misdemeanor drug charges, particularly for first-time offenders, the court has a number of programs for the individual to participate in if they so elect that can prevent any kind of conviction or punishment. When it comes to felony drug charges, so long as there are no weapons involved or nobody was harmed, typically there is an option for probation and going to county jail, but there is always the possibility of going to state prison. With felonies, it could be one or the other depending on the individual’s prior criminal record, the amount of the drugs or the general seriousness of the crime.

Are There Any Alternative Programs For First-Time Offenders?

For simple possession charges, there are alternative programs for first-time offenders; that is pretty much where it ends. Typically, there are no alternatives for any cases alleging possession for sales or distribution, conspiracy, trafficking, and importing.

What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Drug Cases Specifically?

What sets our firm apart in handling drug cases specifically is that our firm has over 25 years of experience. We have handled hundreds if not thousands of very serious federal drug crimes. We are intensely familiar with the way prosecutors and their investigators proceed with such cases. Having this insight permits us to successfully fight these charges time and time again and get excellent results for our clients repeatedly.

Additional Information On Drug Offense Cases In California

For both state and federal court, they are starting to charge people who are selling drugs with the customer’s death if the customer were to die from the use of those drugs. These cases are becoming very serious for those who sell drugs. If the person to whom they sell dies as a consequence of using the drugs they were sold, that individual can now be charged with their death. They do not actually charge them with murder but they hold them responsible for their death and the punishments are increased accordingly. In federal court, it is a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence of such a charge. I believe this type of charge is very controversial already and it is going to be interesting to see how long prosecutors are permitted to actually utilize that type of a charge simply because it holds people responsible for the actions of others.

For more information on Drug Paraphernalia Charges In CA, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (619) 383-2931 today.

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