Today’s prison population is flooded with non-violent citizens that have been convicted of drug crimes. In fact, the most recent studies have shown that nearly 47% of federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses.
It’s clear that the war on drugs did not work as intended and has instead sent a lot of people to jail for minor drug offenses. California is known for its strict sentencing guidelines and overpopulated prisons. A drug conviction on your record can have a major impact on every facet of your life including your freedom, finances, health, relationships, ability to get a job in the future, education, etc.
If you have recently been charged with a drug crime, it is recommended that you immediately contact an experienced San Diego drug crimes lawyer to discuss your case. At Bernal Law, our attorneys are proven, detailed, and ready to fight for your freedom. Give us a call to schedule your no-obligation initial consultation. Learn more below about drug crime law in San Diego.
Drug Cime Statistics in San Diego
Though there is not much data available about specific drug crime statistics in San Diego, much can be inferred by the increasing number of drug busts. In general, slightly more than 16% of all in arrests in California can be attributed to drugs. Though Proposition 64 helped to curtail thousands of drug arrests across the states, overall arrests for drug charges still remain steady.
Types of Drug Crimes
Every drug crime is not the same. Some can lead to extensive jail sentences and high fines. The most common types of drug crimes charged in San Diego include drug possession, drug possession with intent to sell, drug trafficking, and manufacturing a controlled substance. Learn more about each below.
- Drug Possession: Drug possession can be charged as an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony depending on how much you have on you and what type of drug it is. Types of drug possession charges can fall under three categories: actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession.
- Drug Possession With Intent to Sell: If you possess illegal drugs in amounts that indicate an intent to sell, it can lead to felony charges and harsh penalties. Convictions for possession with intent to sell require that the defendant was aware of the drugs, knew they were illegal, owned a substantial amount, and intended to sell.
- Drug Trafficking: Defendants that are suspected of (or being involved with) importing/exporting drugs or transporting drugs across state lines can be charged with drug trafficking.
- Manufacturing a Controlled Substance: Manufacturing a controlled substance without appropriate authorizations can be criminally charged. Charges can lead to long prison terms and hefty fines.
Penalties For Drug Crimes
Penalties for drug crimes vary depending on the schedule of the drug, type of drug crime committed, and previous criminal history. No matter the case, drug charges can be serious. If you are facing charges, it is recommended that you contact an experienced San Diego drug crimes attorney to discuss your case.
The consequences of drug possession can range from an infraction to serious prison time. In most cases, those charges with intent to sell, trafficking, or distribution are facing felony charges, high fines (up to $50,000), and long prison sentences.
Contact a San Diego Drug Crimes Lawyer Today
Since San Diego is so close to the border, drug crimes are particularly scrutinized. The types of drugs in your possession, amount of it, and what you were doing with the drugs will have a profound impact on the charges filed against you.
No matter the circumstance, it is typically in your best interest to hire a proven San Diego drug crimes attorney to handle your case. They can increase the likelihood of your case being dismissed, an acquittal, decreased charges, and/or lessened prison time.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in San Diego, do not wait until the prosecution has already mounted a significant case against you. Contact the Bernal Law, APLC to discuss the detail of your case today.
What Are The Common Legal Challenges in Drug Cases?
There are a number of potential defenses that a San Diego drug crimes lawyer can deploy to potentially salvage your freedom. Some of the most common defenses include:
- Mistakes made in the drug crime lab
- Illegal search and seizure procedures
- Lack of knowledge about the drugs and no intent to sell
- Planted drugs
- Entrapment scenarios
- Misplaced drugs (i.e. lack of evidence)
What Are Controlled Substances “Schedules”?
U.S. laws identify five “schedules” of drugs. The lower the schedule, the more severe the potential penalties can be for possession, distribution, manufacturing, and trafficking. Learn more about each schedule below.
- Schedule I: Considered the most dangerous drugs that have no medical value and are highly addictive. Examples include LSD, Heroin, and Marijuana.
- Schedule II: These drugs can lead to addiction and/or abuse, but they may have valid medicinal uses. They include opium, cocaine, methadone, amphetamine, etc.
- Schedule III: Drugs that have a moderate chance of being abused such as depressants, testosterone, steroids, etc.
- Schedule IV: Drugs that have a decreased likelihood of abuse and are used within the medical community like prescription drugs.
- Schedule V: Typically over-the-counter drugs that do not require a prescription and have a relatively low chance of being abused.
What Are Sentencing Guidelines?
Sentencing guidelines are the standards used by judges when they are deciding on punishments. Theses guidelines are used to promote consistency across all courts. The sentencing guidelines take into account the type of charge, past criminal history, ad type of drug when sentencing convicted drug offenders. The guidelines are suggestions, but judges have the authority to give less or more time if deemed necessary.
If I Simply Intend to Plead Guilty, Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
An experienced San Diego drug crimes lawyer is not just there to help you to avoid convictions, they are in your corner to also negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf. If you plead guilty to a drug crime, you are at the prosection’s mercy. Attorneys can help to negotiate decreased charges, less time in jail, lowered fines, etc.