Orange County Drug Crime Attorney
Representing Clients in Irvine and Laguna Hills
The Law Office of Mark Raymond McDonald has a long history of successfully
handling the defense of clients charged with all types of drug offenses
under the Controlled Substance Act. The Controlled Substance Act is a
consolidation of laws that regulate the possession, manufacturing and
distribution of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic
steroids, and chemicals used in the illicit production of controlled substances
or illegal drugs.
Drug crimes are wide in variety, ranging from simple possession to sales,
large scale sale and trafficking, and manufacturing. The punishments vary
widely and I will outline them below.
Under the Influence
Being under the influence of a controlled substance (meth, cocaine, ecstasy,
illegal prescription, LSD, mushrooms, etc.) is always a misdemeanor unless
you are under the influence while in the immediate possession of a loaded
firearm. Being under the influence usually results in a drug program,
after which the case can be dismissed and the arrest record destroyed.
possession of all of the above-mentioned drugs will also result in a drug program
unless you are found unsuitable because of prior convictions for serious
crimes or too many unsuccessful attempts at drug programs in the past.
Simple possession of marijuana, if less than one ounce, is only an infraction
(equivalent to a traffic ticket). If you are not allowed to do a program,
you can receive up to a year in jail for simple possession. A good lawyer
can keep you out of jail or allow you to do your jail time on work-release
of house arrest. All misdemeanor drug possession convictions will also
require you to register as a drug offender, unless you successfully complete
a drug program.
Possession for Sale
Possession for sale of a controlled substance is always a felony and obviously
more serious. I will not address marijuana here because there is a section
on the site entitled “Medical Marijuana Cases” and that involves a whole different set of laws.
Drugs are viewed as being possessed for sale if a number of indicators
are present. Essentially, they are:
- Quantity of the drug
- How the drug is packaged (if the drug is divided up into a number of small
baggies, that suggests an intent to sell)
- Whether there is a lot of cash seized during the bust, especially if the
cash is in small denominations ($20 dollar bills)
- Whether there are ledgers (called pay-owe sheets) indicating who owes the
drug dealer how much for a particular sale)
- Text messages indicating that a sale is occurring or will occur.
Possession for sale carries a sentence of probation up to five years in
prison (rock cocaine carries the stiffest penalty. If a loaded firearm
is nearby the drugs, lots more prison time can be added. If you have many
kilos in your possession, depending upon the weight, you can receive twenty
years in prison. If you have previous convictions for possession for sale,
each prior conviction adds three years to your sentence in your new case.
A talented lawyer can negotiate these enhanced sentences much lower.
This charge involves someone carrying the drugs in a vehicle, and carries
a sentence of probation up to 4 years prison. If you are transporting
drugs just for your personal use, you again may take advantage of a drug
class instead of a felony conviction.
Manufacturing controlled substances, such as in a meth lab, manufacturing
steroids, honey oil and other controlled substances is a very serious
offense. The manufacturing process is considered very dangerous to life
and the process is making dangerous drugs available on a large scale.
As a result, manufacturing charges carry up to 7 years in prison.
Irvine Criminal Lawyer Defending Drug Cases
Drug cases often involve search warrants, vehicle searches, and even warrantless
searches. Many of these mechanisms of gathering evidence involve getting
past your constitutional rights. You have the right to be free of unreasonable
searches and seizures, meaning that search warrants are often required
to obtain evidence. If the police draft a defective warrant, or lie about
what they put into it (or leave out), then they stand to lose all of the
evidence they took. The result: your case gets dismissed.
When you consider a lawyer for a drug case, make sure you hire one with
a great working knowledge of constitutional law so that all of these defenses
are available to you. Mark McDonald is that lawyer, having successfully
had many, many drug cases dismissed because of reckless, lazy or simply
dishonest police work.
Call (909) 443-1599 today for a
free consultation. You can discuss all of these options with the Orange County drug crime
defense lawyer at the firm.