Drug Possession

Drug charges in Los Angeles have changed dramatically over the past several years. Reforms such as Prop 47 and Prop 57 have changed possible punishment for defendants in California. As a former prosecutor in Los Angeles and Orange County, I am extremely familiar with how these changes will affect individuals charged with drug possession in Los Angeles or drug sales in Los Angeles. A large separation exists between how personal use of drugs or drug possession charges in Los Angeles are treated versus how drug sales charges in Los Angeles are treated. The difference is great enough that we will talk about each category separately.


The possession or use of narcotics in Los Angeles can result in a variety of different charges. Some of the most common charges are Health and Safety Code Sections 11350(a) (possession of a controlled substance), 11364(a) (possession of drug paraphernalia), 11377(a) (possession of controlled substance), as well as Business and Professions Code Section 4060 (possession of controlled substance). Here are some examples of violations of each of those laws in California.


A driver in Manhattan Beach is pulled over by a police officer from the Manhattan Beach Police Department. The officer sees a small baggie in the console and asks the driver to hand it over. The driver complies, and the baggie is later confirmed to be a small amount of cocaine. In that scenario, the Manhattan Beach defendant would likely be charged with a violation of HS 11350(a) and their case would be sent to the Torrance Courthouse.


After a fight, a man from Santa Monica is questioned by an offer from the Santa Monica Police department. The officer asks the man to empty his pockets and he pulls out a small pipe. The officer examines the pipe and makes the determination that it is a methamphetamine pipe but never recovers any actual methamphetamine. In that situation, the Santa Monica man is likely to be charged with a violation of HS 11364(a) and his case would be sent to the Airport Branch Courthouse.


Officer from the Long Beach Police Department execute a search warrant at an apartment in Long Beach. During the search, a female inside the apartment is detained and admits that she has some meth in her purse. The officer searches the purse and finds a small amount of methamphetamine as well as a pipe. In that situation, the Long Beach female is likely to be charges with a violation of HS 11364(a) for the pipe, and HS 11377(a) for the methamphetamine. Her case will be sent to the Long Beach Courthouse.


All of these examples involve misdemeanor drug charges in the Los Angeles area. Proposition 47 was passed in 2014 in California and made all simple drug possession charges misdemeanors. Previously, HS 11350(a) was a felony even for a first time offender in California. Several drug diversion programs in Los Angeles and Orange County exist to help people keep these charges off of their record. PC 1000 or DEJ is a diversion program that allows defendants in California to complete a court ordered program that will ultimately result in having the case dismissed. Prop 36 is another program that is available even to some defendants that have prior drug charges in California. If Prop 36 is successfully completed, then the drug charges will be dismissed.

At times, an accused defendant in Los Angeles will not be eligible for any of the diversion programs mentioned above. In such cases, they may be facing years in custody despite only being charged with drug possession. Even if individuals are not eligible for DEJ or Prop 36, we have the experience and knowledge to help convince a prosecutor or judge to allow you the ability to seek treatment if that is your goal.


We have experience with drug charges at trial. We also have the knowledge and experience for all the defenses to drug possession charges in California. It is vital to have an experienced criminal attorney that has the ability to take your case to trial if necessary. As a former Los Angeles prosecutor and a former Orange County prosecutor, I am ready to fight for you in court at every step along the way. As a Manhattan Beach drug possession attorney, I know that the system only works if you have the right lawyer fighting for you. The reality is that unless you have an attorney with the skills, experience, and confidence to announce ready for trial, you will never get the best possible offer. 

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Manhattan Beach drug possession attorney

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