Drug Sales and Firearm Possession: Charges Dismissed at Trial

Drug Crime, Recent Wins

Griffin Law Office was contacted by an individual who was debating whether to take a plea deal on a serious felony drug sales and firearm case. The client had previously retained a very well-known San Diego criminal defense attorney with over 30 years of experience. This attorney suggested he take a plea deal of three years in prison. The client decided to terminate his prior attorney and retained Mr. Griffin for trial.

The case started when the client was arrested at his house after the police were called for a domestic dispute. The client had suffered a prior felony drug conviction that was dismissed after he completed a drug diversion program (Prop. 36). While the police were investigating the reported domestic dispute, they had placed the client in a patrol car. Once the police searched the client, they found a large baggie of drugs in his pocket. After the drugs were located, the police searched the house and discovered a loaded gun in a closet. He was arrested for drug sales and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Mr. Griffin investigated and came up with an alternative theory and a defense for trial. The most difficult fact was the drugs being found in the client’s pocket. To combat the sales charge, Mr. Griffin retained an expert on drug sales vs. personal possession. Mr. Griffin and the expert were able to determine that the drugs were not packaged in a way that indicates sales and that no scales were found in the house.

The second issue was the firearm. Mr. Griffin learned that the client’s roommate had received the gun (which turned out to be stolen) from a friend which she had obtained for protection. The roommate’s story checked out because Mr. Griffin was able to get a court file from Washington State where the roommate was listed as the key witness in a triple murder case. The roommate had moved to San Diego to escape the dangers that the case presented in Washington State and, upon moving to San Diego, obtained the stolen gun for protection.

As the trial date grew closer, Mr. Griffin filed several motions, including a Penal Code § 995 motion (motion to dismiss). The purpose of these motions was to limit what the prosecutor could argue at trial. The client faced several firearm enhancements that significantly increased his exposure. Mr. Griffin was able to successfully argue that these enhancements required that the defendant be “personally armed.” Because the gun was found in a closet, Mr. Griffin was able to argue that these enhancements must be dismissed.

In addition to filing several motions, Mr. Griffin sent the District Attorney near-daily emails with the results of his investigation surrounding the gun’s true owner. Finally, on the day of trial, the District Attorney agreed to dismiss all the felony charges. All the client was required to complete was a drug diversion class, and his entire case would be dismissed.