Los Angeles Felony Drug Crime Defense Attorneys
Considering the fact that marijuana is legal for recreational use here, California is often viewed as a state that is friendly to drug users. However, that isn’t the case. California is just as harsh on people convicted of drug crimes as any other state. How harsh the California courts will be on you, however, depends on whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor.
Convicted felons face severe punishments, and can even lose certain rights, such as the right to own a firearm or the right to travel internationally, once they are allowed to leave prison. If you have been charged with a felony drug crime, then you need the best criminal defense team in Los Angeles. For top legal advice, call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 today.
Drug crimes can be misdemeanors or felonies. There are many factors that go into determining which crimes are charged as felonies. In fact, some crimes are considered “wobblers,” as in they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and it is up to the prosecution to decide which to go with. Felony charges are often harsher, involving at least one year in prison, oftentimes more, on top of a permanent mark on your criminal record.
When the prosecution decides whether to charge a drug crime as a felony, or the government lays down which crimes are felonies instead of misdemeanors, there are several factors that they take into consideration. Those include:
The type of drug: The federal government began categorizing drugs into different “schedules” in the 1970s. Substances that made it on to these schedules were considered controlled, as in they could only be obtained through prescriptions. The schedules go from five to one, with five being the laxest and one the most tightly controlled. If your arrest involved a drug that was classified as Schedule I or Schedule II, then it is far more likely to be a felony. Drugs on Schedule I and II include cocaine, meth, LSD, and ecstasy.
The amount of drug: The amount of the drug you have on you, especially if it is a Schedule I or II drug, will also impact whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A smaller amount of the illegal substance will result in a lighter charge and penalties, whereas a larger amount will lead to a felony charge.
Possession vs. distribution: Whether you are charged with possession or distribution will depend on how much of a controlled substance was found on your person or property. If you were caught selling or handing out drugs, the charge is a given. Distributing drugs is considered a far more serious offense, and will likely be a felony, because it means you were potentially causing others to become addicted. Selling is more personal. Distribution is seen as having a negative impact on the community, rather than just a negative impact on yourself.
Protected groups: Who you allegedly sold to will also have an impact on whether you are charged with a felony. If you sell to minors, pregnant women, recovering addicts, or other protected groups, then your charge is more likely to be a felony, as you will be viewed as a danger to the community.
Aggravating circumstances: There are other circumstances that can push a minor drug offense to a felony. Was there violence involved? Were you allegedly selling in a protected zone, such as a school or playground? Was it gang-related? Did one of the involved parties use a firearm in some way? Was the drug crime related to another crime, such as embezzlement, money laundering, sex trafficking? Just one of these factors could lead to a felony charge.
There are many drug-related crimes that fall under the felony banner. The most common include:
Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance: Possession is a misdemeanor charge, but possession for sale is a felony. The prosecution will decide whether to charge you with simple possession or possession for sale by how much of the drug was found on your property or your person, and whether there is evidence that you have sold drugs in the past. If you are convicted, it can lead to up to four years in state prison.
Transportation of a Controlled Substance: If you are found transporting a large amount of drugs, whether just driving them down the street or crossing state lines, then you will be charged with a felony. Penalties for a conviction include three to five years in prison.
Operating a Drug House: A drug house is any property whose purpose is to house and sell controlled substances. This crime can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on factors that include the type and amount of drugs sold. A felony charge could lead to three years in prison.
There are many other felony drug crimes that you may find yourself being charged with. What is really important, however, is finding the right Los Angeles drug crime defense lawyer, who can look into your case and find the perfect defense strategy.
Defending yourself will not be an easy task. Legal strategies require in-depth investigations into the circumstances around the alleged crime, why and how you were arrested, and any evidence that the prosecution plans to bring forward. However, we at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have years of experience working with clients charged with felony drug crimes. Here are a few defenses that are used often:
- You were unaware you were in possession of drugs
- You were aware you were in possession of drugs, but the drugs were not yours
- You intended for the drugs to be for personal use, not sale
- You are not the suspect they are looking for, and it is a case of mistaken identity
- The drugs were seized illegally
- The officers who arrested you did not follow proper procedure and were practicing misconduct
If you have been arrested for a felony drug crime, then you need to find the right defense for your case. Without it, you could be facing years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and a loss of rights once you have finally paid your time. That is why you need to work with the best criminal defense attorneys available.
We at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have years of experience working with and defending those charged with serious drug crimes. We know the courts like the backs of our hands, and can construct the defense that you need. A felony conviction is no laughing matter, and we understand the stress and fear you are feeling. For compassionate and skilled help, call our firm at (213) 688-0460 today.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.