Articles Posted in Marijuana Possession

Under California Health and Safety code §11350 and §11377, the legislation makes it unlawful to be in possession of certain controlled substances, defined by the code section. The type of drug thatsa person is found in possession of will have an impact on the potential consequence a person may face.

Those found in possession of amphetamines, including methamphetamines, may face a potential sentencing range established by California Health and Safety Code §11377. A first time offense has the potential of being charged as only a misdemeanor and has a good probability of being dismissed with completion of a Drug Diversion program.

Possession of Cocaine or Crack is regulated under California Health and Safety Code §11350. First time offenders may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the quantity found. They may serve up to 3 years in jail but have a strong opportunity to be allowed to enrolls in a Drug Diversion program which, upon completion, will lead to a dismissal of charges.

Legislators are constantly changing and amending laws that affect California citizens daily. Once changed it leaves open the question of whether the law applies proactively, or from beyond its enactment and how it may impact your already existing case.

The new marijuana law that went into effect on January 1, 2011 may reduce your marijuana misdemeanor charge to an infraction under Senate Bill 1449. However, if you have an already existing offense, and an openscase, it is unclear as to how Courts and Judges apply the new legislation.

A knowledgeable San Diego Criminal Defense attorney has researched all new legislation and how it has been applied in courts and current cases. Consequently, they are aware of how Judges are handling cases in the San Diego Criminal Courts. Based on this experience of the Criminal courts they can prepare the best possible argument in your defense so that you can take full advantage of any new laws that will pertain to the facts of your case.

If you are stopped driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be charged with a DUI. If convicted, your final sentence will depend on several factors, the specific facts of your case and any arguments presented in your defense.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs, your potential sentence may be on the lower end of the spectrum depending on additional circumstances of your arrest. For example, one of our clients was pulled over for driving under the influence, but had 0 blood alcohol content, but was on prescribed anti-depressants. He was charged with driving under the influence only, with no enhancements or additional charges.

In contrast, if you are pulled over for driving under the influence of illegal drugs: Methamphetamines, Marijuana or Cocaine, you could not only be charged with an enhanced DUI, but may be charged for multiple California offenses.

The field of Medical Marijuana is fairly new, therefore legislators and courts are still discovering new issues and are uncertain on how to proceed on certain questions. Consequently, determining in which cases a Medical Marijuana Prescription will relieve a person of a charge is assessed on a case by case basis.

Many people who are pulled over for a Driving under the influence of marijuana charge obtain a Medical Marijuana Prescription after the fact and seek to apply it retroactively. The prescription will have only the date the doctor was seen and cannot be legally dated before that.

Nevertheless, this technique has been used repeatedly in court as a defense against a marijuana related charges. Each argument and its effectiveness depends on the Judge and the prosecutor it is presented to. In the majority of cases it has not been a successful defense and Judges have chosen to not honor the post dated prescription.

California Proposition 36, also known as The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, is a type of Drug Diversion program that was passed by voters in November 2000. It changed State law to allow first and second, non violent simple drug offenders the opportunity to receive drug treatment education rather than incarceration.

Persons charged must complete a licensed or certified community drug education program as a part of their probation. If they fail to complete the program or violate any of the other terms of their probation, they will have to serve an additional sentence which may include incarceration.

Those that will not qualify as a candidate for Proposition 36 are those that have:

A diversion program is a program instituted by the District Attorney’s office that allows a defendant who has been convicted of a Drug offense to avoid criminal charges and a criminal sentence. The program is designed to help rehabilitate offenders and to alleviate the overflow in time, cost and expense to courts and probation officers.

If someone who has been convicted of a drug offense qualifies for a drug diversion program, they may have the opportunity to avoid prosecution by completing certain requirements of the program. These requirements include completing certain education courses aimed at preventing future offenses, providing restitution to the victims of the offense, completion of community service hours, and avoiding certain situations that may lead to future offenses. This may involve no contact with certain persons, or visitation to certain places.

If a program is completed successfully it may prevent the charge from appearing on a person’s criminal record. This provides huge benefits for future employment opportunities, education and social achievements.

As most terms in the legal field, the word Possession is loosely defined, and as a result many different scenarios may fall under the appropriate meaning for Possession when it comes to a possession charge.

Typically possession will include any drug that is found on your person. This is referred to as physical possession. If it is in your pocket, in your shoe, etc, it will be considered on your possession. This, however, constitutes the simplest definition of possession.

Any type of drugs will also be in your possession if they in an area within your immediate control. This is referred to as constructive possession. If it is in your vehicle, in your trunk or in your purse, it will still qualify under the requirements. It will also be considered constructive possession if someone else is carrying it on your behalf.

If you are arrested along with the driver of a car in which marijuana is found, you can be legally arrested for drug possession, even if it was not yours. However, if the marijuana was not found in your possession and it was not yours, an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney will be able to prepare a strong defense in your favor.

If marijuana is found in your vehicle then you can also be charged with medical marijuana possession charge even if it is not yours. Under this scenario you might need a stronger defense, because prosecution will appeal to the fact that if it is your car, you should have known its contents.s

One potential defense a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may use is that of your constitutional right to be protected from illegal search and seizure.

Many of our clients are curious to know if a marijuana conviction would affect their car insurance.sGenerally, a marijuana conviction will only affect your car insurance if you were arrested while driving under the influence. If you are arrested for possession, then it is not likely that your car insurance rates will go up.

Any arrest that involves driving or a violation of the law while driving will result in your auto insurance rates being increased. Driving while under the possession of marijuana is a more difficult case to prove, because there is no set standard or test to determine whether someone is under the influence or not. Additionally, if you are arrested for a DUI, you are not the one responsible for notifying the DMV, the arresting officer will do it.

If you are arrested for being in possession of any type of drugs including marijuana, this may affect other aspects of your life, such as obtaining a loan, applying for jobs or higher education, but the DMV will not be concerned with it. Additionally, if you are arrested for being in possession, there may be several defenses available to you.

In California the courts tend to prefer drug treatment over a jail sentence for those charged with drug offenses. The hope of the court is to rehabilitate the offender rather than punish them by a sentence which could increase the probability of a second offense. Depending on the specific facts of your case an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney will be able to tell you if you qualify for one of a few alternative sentences.

Many drug offenders qualify for Proposition 36. Proposition 36, California’s Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, allows those that have simple drug possession charges and are first or second time offenders to complete a substance abuse program instead of serving jail time. The programs are quite extensive and may include up to one year of education classes, therapy, inpatient or outpatient care and up to six months of aftercare.

Another alternative that may be available is referred to as a Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ).sWhen granted a DEJ, the defendant pleads guilty, but is not convicted. The case is put on hold for 18 months and set aside. The defendant must then complete six months of a substance abuse program as well as avoid any additional convictions or charges. After 18 months are over, and the six months of a substance abuse program have successfully been completed, the charge is wiped clean.s

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