Drugs and Marijuana

Our California drug crimes defense attorneys represent clients accused of drug and narcotics charges throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

Whether you’re charged with large-scale drug trafficking or simple possession of a controlled substance, our attorneys and team of experts draw on years of experience. We can help you fight the charges and, if necessary, secure an effective drug treatment program.

Identifying Officer Mistakes

In drug arrests, narcotics officers have been found to have:

  • Ignored California rules of search and seizure,
  • “Set-up” suspects in violation of California entrapment laws,
  • Rely on unreliable “confidential police informants,”
  • Mislead judges in order to obtain deceptive California search warrants,
  • Exaggerated or reported inaccuracies in their police reports, or
  • Arrested suspects without sufficient evidence that the drugs even belonged them.

Our criminal defense lawyers understand how to scrutinize the case and look for key police mistakes and misconduct. Moreover, we know how to exploit problems in the prosecution’s case to your advantage.

Common Cases

Health & Safety Code 11350 HS “Possession of a Controlled Substance”: Health & Safety Code 11350 makes it a misdemeanor to possess narcotics such as cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, ketamine, GHB and even prescription drugs such as Vicodin or Codeine (if they’re not lawfully prescribed). A person convicted of “possession of a controlled substance” faces up to three years in California state prison.

Health & Safety Code 11351 HS “Possession for Sale of Narcotics”: Health & Safety Code 11351 makes it a felony to possess illegal drugs with intent to selling them.

In assessing whether suspect possessed narcotics with the purpose of sales, police offices and prosecutors will consider the quantity of the drugs, packaging of the drugs, and the presence of scales weapons and/or large quantities of cash. Unfortunately, many innocent people are accused of HS 11351 when, in fact, they only possessed the drugs for personal use.

Moreover, police officers often use faulty information, unreliable informants and even deception to obtain search warrants. If our criminal defense lawyers can show that a search warrant was improperly obtained, it is possible for the evidence to be suppressed or the entire case dismissed.

Health & Safety Code 11352 HS “Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance”: Health & Safety Code 11352 makes it a felony to sell, furnish, administer, give away, transport or import into California an illegal narcotic. Many of the HS 11352 cases arise out of undercover sting operations in which a decoy officer engages in a “controlled buy.” Occasionally, these operations have the potential of falling into California entrapment laws and could be dismissed for this reason.

In some cases, police officers claim to have witnessed a drug deal from an observational position or a disguised location. However, many suspects arrested for “selling drugs” may have been the buyers or were not even involved in a drug deal at all.

Health & Safety Code 11364 “Possession of Drug Paraphernalia”: Health & Safety Code 11364 makes it a misdemeanor to possess “an opium pipe or any device, apparatus, instrument, or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking a controlled substance.” This includes hypodermic needles, pipes, bongs and cocaine spoons.

A conviction for 11364 HS carries up to six months in the county jail. But this offense usually qualifies for a diversion program under Prop 36 or PC 1000. Furthermore, these devices are often confiscated through an improper police search and seizure.

Health & Safety Code 11377 HS “Possession of Methamphetamine”: Health & Safety Code 11377 makes it a crime to possess methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal meth or speed. Proposition 47 allows for this offense to be filed as a misdemeanor.

However, possession for sale, sale, transportation or manufacturing of methamphetamine are still felonies and can subject you to harsher penalties.

Health & Safety Code 11379.6 HS “Manufacturing Drugs & Narcotics”: Health & Safety Code 11379.6 HS makes it a felony to manufacture, produce, compound or process a controlled substance. Examples include operating a meth lab, or compressing marijuana resin into hashish. To be charged with this offense, the accused must have begun the process of making the illegal drug as opposed to gathering supplies and preparing to manufacture.

A conviction for HS 11379.6 carries the harshest sentencing of any California drug law, up to 7 years in state prison. The sentence can increase substantially if large volumes are involved, children are near the manufacturing location, or someone is injured or killed in the process.

A related offense to manufacturing drugs & narcotics is Health & Safety Code 11363 HS, cultivation of peyote. This law makes it a crime to plant, cultivate, harvest or process the hallucinogenic drug known as peyote, which is often used in Native American religious ceremonies. Cultivation of peyote can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony carrying a state prison sentence based on a number of factors.

Another closely related offense is Health & Safety Code 11383 and 11383.5 HS, possession of materials for the manufacturing of a controlled substance. This law makes it a felony to possess certain chemicals with the intent to use them to manufacture PCP or methamphetamine.

Health & Safety Code 11550 HS “Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance”: Health & Safety Code 11550 makes it a misdemeanor crime to “use” or “be under the influence of” a controlled substance. This includes illicit narcotics such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and GHB. It can also include prescription drugs such as Xanax or Valium, if the accused person does not have a valid prescription.

A conviction for HS 11550 carries up to one year in county jail. Most people charged with the offense do qualify for Proposition 36 or drug diversion under PC 1000.

California Marijuana Laws

Marijuana is a substance with legitimate and proven medical benefits. Nevertheless, California marijuana law still makes it a crime to cultivate, sell, possess or use the substance. Proposition 215 provides limited exceptions. The penalties for possession of a small quantity of marijuana are light, and often merely entail a small fine. But cultivation, sale or transportation of marijuana, without legal licenses, are serious felonies in California, and can land a person in state prison.

Prescription Drug Charges

Illegal use of otherwise-legal prescription drugs (like opioid painkillers) can also lead to criminal charges.

People who use fraud or deceit to obtain a prescription, for a drug like Vicodin, can be charged with “doctor shopping.” Prescription fraud can be charged against people who forge or alter a prescription for certain narcotic drugs.

Doctors, nurses and other health care providers can also be charged for prescribing controlled substances to an addict.

In addition, nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” can be the basis for criminal charges of Penal Code 381b PC possession of/under the influence of nitrous oxide. This offense only applies to people who use or possess laughing gas for recreational (non-medical) purposes.