If you are faced with an accusation of criminal misconduct due to a drug crime—whether it is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony—you will need the help of a criminal defense lawyer to defend yourself. These individuals are trained to perform the required research to defend clients facing criminal charges. In addition to gathering critical evidence and cross-examining witnesses, a good criminal defense attorney can help negotiate a plea bargain for you (which might help reduce your potential sentence), negotiate a fair sentencing program (for example, by including rehabilitation centers in your sentencing plan), and explain all the outcomes or consequences of further violations (probation violation, for example).
They can also help you navigate the system in general by outlining a list of drug crimes and explaining your rights under constitutional law. For drug crimes, there are a wide array of consequences depending on the crime and your level of involvement, so it is especially important to involve the help of a good defense attorney. Below are 3 drug crime allegations that a criminal defense lawyer can help with:
1. Aiding and Abetting Unlawful Use of Controlled Substances
A controlled substance is a chemical or drug, such as prescription medications, that are regulated by the government for manufacturing as well as for who can possess or use them. In some states, it is strictly against the law to enter a space where controlled substances are being unlawfully used (for example, smoked), if you are aware that the unlawful activity is occurring. If you do, you can be charged with a crime called “Aiding and Abetting Unlawful Use of Controlled Substances.” In order to be charged in California, a prosecutor will be required to prove that you 1) “knowingly, willfully and intentionally [were] in a place where a controlled substance was being smoked or used,” 2) “knew that such activity was occurring,” and 3) “aided or abetted the perpetration of the unlawful smoking or use of a controlled substance” [Cal Crim No. 2401]. A good defense attorney can help you navigate the process; the punishment is usually classified as a misdemeanor.
2. Possession of a Methamphetamine
If you were found with possession of a controlled substance other than a narcotic drug, you could be charged with Methamphetamine (Possession). In this case, a defense attorney can help defend you against prosecutors who will need to prove the following in order to charge you with the offense: 1) you exercised control over a controlled substance, 2) you knew about its presence, 3) you understood its nature as a controlled substance, 4) the substance was discovered in a quantity sufficient to be used (in other words, it is plausible that you or others intended to use it unlawfully), and 5) you have one or more prior convictions for a related offense or one or more prior convictions requiring registration [Cal Crim No. 2304]. The punishments for this crime range from misdemeanors to felonies (up to 3 years in prison).
3. Sales/Transportation of Controlled Substances
If you are charged with sale/transportation, you are being accused of transporting, importing, selling, furnishing, administering, or in some way offering to transport a controlled substance or narcotic drug. A San Diego criminal defense attorney can help you prepare for the prosecutor’s questioning, during which the prosecutor will attempt to prove that you knowingly transported, sold, furnished, administered, or gave away a controlled substance [Cal Crim No. 2300]. The punishment for this crime is usually classified as a felony (requiring 3-5 years in prison), so it is imperative that you hire a good defense attorney to walk you through the prosecution process.