Why You Need to Hire an Oakland Drug Defense Lawyer
With your future at stake, an Oakland drug lawyer is necessary for your case.
They provide the legal knowledge to have evidence thrown out, and they can skillfully craft a compelling defense against any drug charges you have.
They Can Dismiss Evidence & Reduce Your Drug Charges
Attempting to defend yourself against serious drug charges is not a do-it-yourself job. Drug defense attorneys challenge evidence and whether it was acquired lawfully or handled properly through the chain of custody.
An Oakland drug lawyer can identify areas to spread reasonable doubt to weaken the prosecution’s case and negotiate plea deals to reduce your charges.
They’ll Protect Your Rights
With a thorough understanding of California drug laws, drug attorneys know your rights as the accused. They can fight on your behalf to uphold these rights to ensure the court doesn’t walk over you.
You have the right to refuse police questioning and request the best criminal defense attorney you can find. Additionally, you are protected from an illegal search and seizure of your property.
They Have Access to Expert Witness Testimony
To further produce reasonable doubt in your drug case, a drug defense attorney can recruit the help of expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. These experts could help discredit the prosecution’s claims and add a layer of difficulty to proving your guilt.
Morris Law Defends Against All Oakland Drug Charges
Depending on your case, you could be charged with many different California drug crimes. Seth Morris helps relentlessly defend his clients against the following drug charges:
Morris Law handles drug cases on the federal and state level.
Although his practice is in Downtown Oakland, Attorney Seth Morris is willing to travel throughout the Bay Area to represent you. Call Morris Law today if you’re charged with any of these crimes.
Prescription Drug Crimes
Drugs with a prescription are perfectly legal; drugs without a prescription are illegal controlled substances that could result in prison and fines.
There are specific locations that prohibit marijuana use, age limits you must abide by, and regulations that businesses must follow if they wish to sell cannabis.
Selling and transporting cocaine is still a felony offense that could result in several years behind bars. Even misdemeanor offenses for simple possession could be complex cases to navigate.
Manufacturing a Controlled Substance
According to California Health and Safety Code 11379.6, anyone accused of producing, processing, or manufacturing controlled substances can be charged with a criminal offense.
Felony Drug Charge
California Penal Code § 17 (a) states that a felony is a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state or county jail.
Drug Sale and Trafficking
Drug trafficking and sale charges can have a devastating impact on your life. A conviction could permanently alter the course of your life.
Penalties for California Drug Crimes
Drug crime penalties range depending on your charges and many other factors. However, even the penalties for a misdemeanor conviction can be devastating.
Here are some general drug crimes and their penalties.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance – misdemeanor offense resulting in up to one year jail time; fines up to $1,000
- Possession with Intent to Sell – felony offense resulting in two, three, or four years in jail; fines up to $20,000
- Drug Trafficking – felony offense resulting in up to 9 years in prison; fines up to $20,000
- Manufacture of a Controlled Substance – felony offense with a penalty of three, five, or seven years in jail; fines up to $50,000
Factors That Can Affect Your Sentencing in Oakland
California penalties for drug crimes are unique, and the penalties differ based on the following:
- The amount of drugs – Although laws for drugs like Marijuana are more lenient in California compared to other states, possessing over 28.5 grams of cannabis can result in criminal charges.
- The type of drugs – Drugs are classified by their potential for abuse, and depending on the drugs in question, you will face different penalties.
- Prior convictions – Prior convictions may limit your defense options. First-time offenders may be eligible for pretrial diversion programs that might help avoid conviction.
- The location where the drugs were found – If you were in possession or selling drugs in or near a school, you could face harsher penalties.
- Having a weapon – If you are accused of possessing a controlled substance along with a firearm in Oakland, you could be charged with a felony and face two, three, or four years in jail.
How Drug Penalties Changed Since Proposition 47
In 2014, California Proposition 47 was voted on to reduce certain felonies to misdemeanor offenses. Proposition 47 has impacted certain drug charges as well. For example, simple possession for personal use of a controlled substance is now a misdemeanor.
Contact an Oakland drug defense attorney to discuss resentencing if you or a loved one is currently serving time for a felony offense that is now considered a misdemeanor. You may not qualify for your charge to be dropped to a misdemeanor if you are convicted of certain types of crimes. Let a criminal defense attorney explain the nuances of Proposition 47.
How are Drugs Classified in California?
California classifies controlled substances into schedules. There are five schedules, and they are ranked based on the level of potential abuse. The classifications are ranked from the most likely to cause users to become addicted to the least likely to be abused. These schedules are:
Includes opiates or heroin
Includes drugs like opium or morphine
Includes drugs such as anabolic steroids or pentobarbital
Includes drugs like zolpidem or diazepam
Includes low doses of codeine
Some drugs are less severe than others and may result in lower penalties. However, a criminal conviction could still damage your reputation and limit employment opportunities.
Seth Morris Builds a Tough Defense
Your drug charges may seem high, and you may think you don’t have a chance in court. However, the criminal justice system believes everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
By working with the right Oakland criminal defense attorney, you can learn effective ways to cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case and the evidence against you.
The following arguments might be available to you:
There Was an Unlawful Search & Seizure
Law enforcement, whether they’re part of the Oakland Police Department or the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, must have probable cause or a warrant to search your property. If neither of those exists, their search is unlawful. Any evidence obtained should be dismissed and won’t be counted against you.
The Drugs Were Not Illegal
There is a chance that the drugs in question are actually legal. This could include any drug you have a legal prescription for or substances that could have been mistakenly identified as drugs.
The Evidence Was Mishandled
If any evidence against you was improperly handled, tampered with, or in any way broke the proper chain of custody, you could have that evidence dismissed.
Law Enforcement Induced You to Commit the Crime
This is known as entrapment. In this scenario, law enforcement uses tactics to trick people into committing a crime they otherwise would not have committed. If this happened to you, the prosecution’s case would be unlawful, and an Oakland defense attorney can argue that you were illegally charged.
Frequently Asked Questions About Oakland Drug Charges
How Long Do Police Have to File Drug Charges in Oakland?
Police have a deadline to file charges against people they suspect have broken the law. Known as the “statute of limitations,” this deadline ensures that someone isn’t being harassed or unduly punished for something that happened a long time before the charges showed up.
Because California’s drug crimes are either misdemeanors or felonies, there are two statutes of limitations to watch.
For misdemeanors, there is generally a one-year statute of limitations. For felonies, law enforcement typically has three years to file charges. Your attorney can determine if the prosecution filed these charges within an appropriate amount of time.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
Even if your defense attorney can manage to get the prosecution to dismiss the drug charges against you, you could be required to make an appearance for pretrial hearings or motions. It’s crucial to review all orders and documents from the prosecutor’s office so you don’t risk a bench warrant if you miss a mandatory appearance.
Alameda County has four different courthouses that deal with criminal matters: check with your attorney about where and when you need to appear, because parking can be a tricky matter as well.
These four courthouses handle criminal matters in Alameda County:
– Oakland – René C. Davidson Courthouse
1225 Fallon Street
Oakland, CA 94612
– Oakland – Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse
661 Washington Street
Oakland, CA 94607
– Fremont Hall of Justice
39439 Paseo Padre Parkway
Fremont, CA 94538
– Dublin – East County Hall of Justice
5151 Gleason Drive
Dublin, CA 94568
Are There Pretrial Diversion Programs Available in Oakland?
Not every drug charge will need to go to trial. Instead, you may qualify for pretrial diversion. Under California Penal Code § 1000, those charged with nonviolent, low-level drug offenses may be eligible for pretrial diversion. These treatment programs allow a defendant to enter a not-guilty plea and complete a program to get charges dropped.
You could be eligible for a pretrial program if you’re accused of possessing a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, or if you’re accused of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Having too much of a drug could disqualify you. Check with your Oakland drug crime defense attorney to learn more about pretrial diversions.
Are Most of California’s Street Drugs Decriminalized?
Despite the latest changes to drug laws, most street drugs are still illegal. Adult-use and medical marijuana have been decriminalized, and that’s about it. Almost every other substance is illegal to possess or sell. An experienced Oakland defense attorney can help you fight charges if you’ve been accused of possessing illegal drugs.
Can a Recreational Drug User be Charged with “Intent to Sell”?
The prosecution may accuse you of intending to sell drugs, even if you’re just a “recreational” drug user. They may use evidence like a large amount of drugs on your property, tools usually used to divide drugs into “sellable” amounts, large amounts of cash, and high foot traffic to and from your property.
An experienced Oakland attorney can find explanations for these “patterns” that the prosecution is trying to establish so there’s doubt that you’re guilty of selling or distributing drugs.
What’s the Difference Between Active or Constructive Possession?
Possession of drugs can fall into different categories, and knowing how you’re charged can affect your defense. You might be accused of “actual” possession, meaning the drugs were on your person or within your immediate access. You could be accused of “constructive” possession, meaning the drugs weren’t within easy reach, but were still under your control.
A good example is a traffic stop in Alameda County. The police could either find drugs in your pockets (actual possession), or they may find some drugs in the trunk of your vehicle (constructive). There are defenses against both kinds of possession, and the right drug defense attorney can fight your California drug charges.
Let Our Oakland Drug Defense Attorney Stand Up for Your Rights
When you’re up against the criminal justice system, you need someone to be your advocate. Seth Morris has helped secure the future of his clients so they can avoid conviction and return home to their families.
Call Seth Morris Today — You Have Options
Your reputation is precious. You can’t let the courts decide your fate based on weak evidence. Seth Morris has experience taking criminal cases throughout the Bay Area. He knows the California criminal justice system and prevents you from falling victim to it. Time and time again, Seth has secured dismissals for clients facing impossible odds. He will evaluate your case and determine the best course of action through a well-crafted defense strategy.