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.
COMMON DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES
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
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.
DRUG POSSESSION DIVERSION
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
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.
DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES AT TRIAL
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.