Valery Nechay Law: Your Cocaine Possession Defense Lawyer
Facing cocaine possession charges without a defense lawyer could be risky. Contact the office of Valery Nechay Law for help with your criminal defense. Call us.
Get Help from a Cocaine Possession Defense Attorney if You’re Arrested for Controlled Substances
Cocaine is an illegal substance. If you are caught in possession of it, it is considered a serious felony that can result in criminal charges. If things go a step further and you are convicted of possessing cocaine, it can impact your life negatively.
Cocaine possession charges carry severe punishments, including fines and prison time. Drug possession laws vary in each state, and the type and quantity of drugs in possession influence the drug possession charge and the severity of penalties.
Working with a drug defense attorney can help you navigate a controlled substance charge.
What Are the Cocaine Possession Laws in California?
Under Health and Safety Code 11055, the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act classifies cocaine as a Schedule II controlled substance. In California, cocaine possession is a felony offense under Health and Safety Code 11350. If you are charged with violating this statute, you may be sentenced to a felony with a jail time of 16 months to three years, with possible fines as well. Penalties are also outlined under the Controlled Substances Act.
If you are charged for the sale or distribution of cocaine, you can face two to four years of imprisonment and possible fines. Possession of cocaine base is a more severe charge, and the sentence can be up to 5 years in prison. If the amount of cocaine in possession exceeds a kilogram, the punishment is even more severe, with a sentence of three to 25 years of imprisonment and extreme fines.
However, charges will depend on various circumstances, which include:
The quantity of drug or substance seized;
The circumstances of the arrest or incident (more on this below);
The criminal history (or lack thereof) of the person who is alleged to have possessed the cocaine.
In California, penalties for cocaine depend somewhat on the type of possession: actual possession, constructive possession, or joint possession.
Actual possession is when the controlled substance is on your person or in your bag.
Constructive possession is when the cocaine is located somewhere that you control, such as in your apartment.
Join possession is when the controlled substance is somewhere that both you and another person have constructive possession, for example, a shared room.
What Are the Penalties for Cocaine Possession?
If caught in possession of cocaine by law enforcement officials in California, a misdemeanor or felony drug charge may result. A misdemeanor drug charge may be imposed for possessing a small quantity for personal use. However, if the suspect has had a prior drug possession conviction or a criminal history, the charge may be elevated to a felony offense.
Possession of cocaine is charged severely in California and may lead to incarceration, fines, community service, and required treatment programs.
These may result in the following penalties:
- When charged with a misdemeanor 1st offense drug charge, you will face up to one year of jail time in a county jail, up to a $1000 fine, probation, community service, and a supervised drug counseling program;
- If charged with a 2nd drug offense charge, it is considered a felony punishable by up to three years in state prison, up to $2000 fines, community service, and a drug education class;
- If charged with felony cocaine possession with illegal possession of a firearm, you can face up to four years in incarceration, probation, a drug counseling program, and community service. You might lose your firearm rights too.
Defense Strategies in Court for Cocaine Possession in California
Drug defense attorneys will review your charges, your history, and your side of the story in order to develop a solid defense and represent you in court.
Some of the grounds for your defense may include the following:
Violation of Defendant’s Constitutional Rights
If, during a drug arrest, the police violated your rights, your defense attorney can have your case dismissed by proving that:
- The police did not inform the accused to remain silent during an arrest;
- The officers refused your right to an attorney during the interrogation;
- The officer failed to read the accused Miranda rights during the arrest.
Proof of Legal Cocaine Possession
Your defense counsel may demonstrate that you lacked knowledge or evidence of having prescription drugs at the time of the arrest. If your legal representative can establish that you did possess a valid permit for such drugs, the drug crime charges may be dropped.
Lack of Enough Evidence
If the police did not gather enough evidence to prove that you had such drugs or the drugs were yours, the court may drop your case. If the court assesses your case and does not find probable cause that you committed a crime, your case may be dismissed. Your criminal defense lawyer should gather the specifics of your arrest and fight for your charges to be dismissed.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Suppose your defense lawyer identifies that the law enforcement officers obtained evidence through an unlawful search and seized your belongings without probable cause. In that case, the judge may dismiss your case.
Attending Alcohol and Other Drugs Diversion Programs
Your lawyer may be able to prove that you were arrested with a simple possession charge and have voluntarily decided to enroll in the California Alcohol and Drug Diversion Program to deal with your drug use problem. After completion of the program, the judge may choose to reduce or drop the charges.
Consult a San Francisco Drug Defense Attorney for Your Drug Possession Charges
If you or a family member is being charged with drug-related offenses, you might find yourself battling a criminal case in state or federal court. Avoiding jail time is possible with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
Despite the serious nature of the drug charges, criminal defense attorneys may be able to bargain for either a reduced sentence or case dismissal, depending on your circumstances.
Are you or your family members facing drug-related charges and worried about the future?
At the Law Office of Valery Nechay, our skilled San Francisco drug defense attorney will help you understand what’s next and fight your drug possession charges. Contact the office today for assistance!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Consequential Is a Cocaine Possession Charge in California?
In California, possession of illegal drugs and other drug crimes carry varying punishments. Possession of cocaine is often a felony.
Drug felonies are punishable by imprisonment for more than a year in state prison as well as possible fines, compared to misdemeanors which carry one year in county jail.
How Long Is a Cocaine Felony Sentence in California?
In California, possession of cocaine charged as a felony has a state prison sentence of about 16 months and three years and a possible fine of up to $20,000. However, your sentence will depend on several factors, including the amount of cocaine in possession, whether you intended to distribute it, and your prior criminal history.
When Can a Drug Conviction Be Expunged?
In some circumstances, a misdemeanor or felony drug charge may be expunged if you completed probation as per the court order, you possessed below a certain amount of the controlled substance, and you did not have a prior criminal record.
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