San Diego Drug Crime Attorneys
Get Quality Legal Help for Your Drug Charges in San Diego
Charged with a drug crime? Contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney from our firm. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, attorney James N. Dicks is uniquely qualified to take on your case. He is a California State Bar-certified criminal defense specialist, a former LAPD narcotics investigator, and a drug recognition expert with extensive experience.
Once you have been arrested for a drug crime in North County, you must act quickly. The sooner we get involved, the more options you will have. Call us at (760) 630-2000 immediately after your arrest.
Fighting the Penalties of a Drug Crime Conviction
A conviction can lead to several different penalties, including:
- Steep monetary fines
- Long period of incarceration
- Mandated participation in a drug treatment program
- Losing your business and/or driver's license
- Possibly having some or all of your assets seized and forfeited
What Are Drug Schedules?Drug schedules are categories used to determine how harmful a drug is. The drug schedules listed under the California Health and Safety Code are based on federal drug schedules. Both the California and federal drug schedules have a scale from one to five, with Schedule I being the most harmful and Schedule V being the least harmful. The severity of a drug sentence is affected by the schedule of the drug:
Schedule I includes hazardous drugs that have no medical use and present a strong risk of addiction including PCP, heroin, peyote, LSD, and cocaine base that is processed to be smoked.
Schedule II includes drugs that are likely to lead to abuse and addiction such as Opium, Ritalin, fentanyl, Adderall, Codeine, Morphine, OxyContin, and Vicodin.
Schedule III includes drugs that may produce dependency such as ketamine, testosterone, steroids, and nalorphine.
Schedule IV includes drugs that are approved for medical use, but may cause addiction such as Xanax, Ativan, Ambien, and Tramadol.
Schedule V includes drugs that are less likely to cause addiction such as many types of cough syrup that contain codeine and Motofen, Lomotil, and Buprenorphine.
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"James has handle 3 of our family’s cases they were all drug related cases. With his very good expertise and knowledge we got very good outcomes. If we need him again he would be our go to attorney I will definitely always recommend him to others. Thanks."
You May Be Eligible for a Drug Diversion Program
Under California’s Penal Code 1000 people who are charged with drug possession, being under the influence, and other types of drug charges may qualify for pretrial diversion instead of regular sentencing. After successfully completing drug treatment, the charges will be dismissed and there won’t be a criminal record.
To be eligible for PC 1000 pretrial diversion, you must meet the following conditions:
- You are not charges with a violent offense
- No felony convictions in the previous five years
- There is no evidence of a more serious offense, such trafficking or intent to sell drugs
- No convictions in the past five years for a drug offense that doesn’t qualify for PC 1000
What Are Common Drug Crimes in California?
As is obvious from the name, drug crimes are crimes that include some type of involvement with drugs. The most common drug crimes in California are:
- Possession. An individual has been charged for "possessing" a controlled substance, which can include illegal drugs like cocaine, or having prescription drugs without a valid prescription.
- Under the Influence. Many people believe that they cannot be charged with a crime if they are simply under the influence of an illegal drug, but have none on their person or in their home. This is not true. Being under the influence of a drug is a type of possession and can be prosecuted under the law. The most common drugs related to this type of charge are methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy.
- Possession with intent to sell. Being in possession of drugs with the intent to sell those drugs is a much more serious offense than simply having them for personal use. The severity of this charge will vary depending on the circumstances leading to the arrest, the amount of drugs that were present, and how they were packaged.
- Transporting drugs. Transporting illegal drugs is a crime but again, the charges can vary. Penalties will be greater if law enforcement believed that the drugs were being transported so they could be sold.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia are tools or instruments that are used to consume illegal drugs. The most common paraphernalia include hypodermic needles, pipes, bongs, torches, spoons, and syringes. Charges for possession of drug paraphernalia typically accompany other drug charges.
- Driving under the influence. This is a term most people associate with alcohol, but it can pertain to drugs as well, including cannabis, which is now legal in the state of California. Driving under the influence of prescription drugs, even when a valid prescription accompanies those drugs, can also result in a charge. This is because drugs of any kind can seriously impair a person’s judgement and ability to drive responsibly. This is a very serious offense that has strict penalties. This charge often accompanies other drug charges, such as possession or transporting.
- Prescription drug fraud. This fraud can occur in two ways. The most common is when an individual forges a doctor’s signature in order to fill a prescription for drugs. Another less common method is when a doctor prescribes a drug to a patient under false pretenses, often because he is receiving a fee from the manufacturers of the drug for dispensing it.
What Are Some Aggravating Factors?
In recent years, California has become famous for having some of the mildest drug-crime penalties in the country. But while marijuana has been decriminalized, even for recreational use, possession of a harder drug like cocaine can still lead to penalties. State and federal laws have outlined specific penalties for certain charges—but California courts may choose to give harsher sentences when there are aggravating factors involved.
In most cases, those factors include: a large amount of the drug being carried or sold during the crime; or a defendant’s past criminal history. For instance, those in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana will no longer face penalties under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. But the Act also specifies that individuals carrying more than that, or possessing marijuana with the intent to sell, will still face penalties.
If a person caught committing a drug crime also has a prior criminal record, regardless of whether those charges pertain to drugs or other criminal activity, he or she may also face more severe penalties.
How Can an Attorney Help?
When an individual is charged with a drug crime, there are a number of stages involved in investigating and prosecuting the crime. The typical process:
- The crime will be investigated by either California state law enforcement or local law enforcement. They will have a search warrant for the person’s home, car, or other personal possessions. A San Diego criminal defense attorney can help ensure these searches are conducted lawfully.
- Investigators will interrogate the suspect and any potential witnesses in order to gain more information about the crime. An attorney can also ensure that the rights of the individuals being questioned are maintained at all times.
- When probable cause has been shown (that a person has committed a crime), that person may be arrested. An attorney can protect the suspect’s civil rights during this process as well, by making sure that a Miranda warning is given and that the accused has access to a lawyer.
- An arraignment is scheduled for the accused to hear the charges being pressed against him or her. After this, the accused may be taken into custody or released on bail until the trial date. An attorney can fight to get the individual released on bail and make arrangements with family members to have bail brought to the courthouse while the accused is being held.
- A trial date will be set so the innocence or guilt of the accused can be determined. During this time, an attorney will fight hard for the accused in an effort to prove his or her innocence or have the charges reduced.
Connect with a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist
The laws concerning drug crimes can be complex. The type and quantity of the drug involved in your charge, in addition to your past criminal record, are important factors that will influence the penalties you could face upon conviction. Of course, you may also be innocent of the charges.
You need experienced, knowledgeable legal assistance when facing any drug crime charge, and our firm is dedicated to providing our clients with a well-crafted, strategic defense.
We will seek to have charges dismissed, or to achieve an acquittal if your case goes to trial, or negotiate with the prosecution for lesser charges and penalties. James N. Dicks has numerous years of experience in defending drug crimes. He has attended a wide variety of DUI classes and seminars to learn all there is to know about these crimes and uses that knowledge to help clients.
Contact us right away at (760) 630-2000 to discuss your San Diego or Vista drug crime case. We offer confidential consultations to discuss your options!
Sample of Case Results
- Multiple Drug Charges -
- Multiple Drug Charges -
- Drug Charges and Concealing a Firearm -
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