While just possessing most illegal drugs is now a mere misdemeanor in California, drug sales is still a felony and can be punished with time in a California prison. Any experienced Huntington Beach criminal defense lawyer knows that whether a judge sentences a defendant to prison or gives them a short stay in the Orange County Jail often depends on their criminal record, the amount of drugs involved, whether they were armed, and whether they resisted arrest. It also may very well depend on the ability of their Orange County criminal defense attorney to highlighting their virtues and find a weakness in the District Attorney’s case.
Punishment For Drug Sales
Any Irvine criminal defense lawyer knows that drug sales of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, hashish, and even marijuana is criminalized by Health & Safety Code Sections 11351, 11351.5, 11378 and 11378.5. These laws allow for up to five years of prison time for possession with intent to sell (drug sales). “Enhancements” mandate even more mandatory prison time where specific criteria are found, such as the defendant having a prior conviction for drug sales, a firearm or other weapon being involved or the defendant’s status as a gang member.
What The DA Must Prove In A Drug Sales Case
In order to convict a person of drug sales (possession with intent to sell), the DA must prove these five elements beyond any reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant exercised control of, or the right to control the drug;
- That the defendant had knowledge of the drug’s presence;
- That the defendant knew the substance was an illegal drug;
- That there was a sufficient amount of the drug to sell;
- That the defendant had the specific intent to sell the drug.
These five elements of drug sales provide fertile ground for a San Juan Capistrano criminal defense lawyer to raise reasonable doubt. A skilled Mission Viejo criminal defense lawyer is often able to expose a weakness in the prosecution’s case—the DA’s inability to prove just one of the elements above. Just bringing the weakness to the DA’s attention can often draw a very favorable settlement offer.
Evidence In A Drug Sales Case
The typical evidence used by the DA to prove “specific intent to sell the drug” includes; large amount of drug consistent with sales, prepackaged portions of the drug, scales, pay-owe sheets, large amounts of cash, baggies or balloons, and text and voice messages from the defendant’s phone. However, there are often Constitutional problems with the search and seizure of evidence in drug cases. This is yet another area rich with opportunity for a skilled drug crimes lawyer to argue for suppression of evidence.
Free Telephonic Consultation With An Orange County Drug Defense Lawyer
If you need to talk to an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer call The Law Office of EJ Stopyro at (949) 559-5500 for a free and confidential consultation. You can also reach us on our contact page at www.ejesquire.com. Our main offices is at 32072 Camino Capistrano, 2nd floor, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675.