Los Angeles County is notorious for having one of the highest crime rates of all the major metropolitan areas of the country, and drug crimes are particularly rampant throughout the state. Drug crime, addiction rates, homelessness, small business closure, and various other economic effects have dramatically reduced the quality of life for many people living in Los Angeles, and local police handle thousands of drug-related cases each year.
While the state’s criminal statutes regarding drug-related offenses are relatively relaxed compared to most other states, penalties for conviction can still be severe, and any criminal record can interfere with your life in various significant ways. If you or a loved one has been arrested for any drug-related criminal offense, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is the best asset you can have on your side.
The attorneys at Gibbons & Gibbons have a strong reputation as a leading criminal defense firm for clients in the Los Angeles area. Throughout the years of our firm’s operation, we have helped many past clients overcome a wide range of criminal charges, and our past successful defenses include many drug-related cases. Experiencing an arrest can be traumatic, especially if you did nothing wrong or were arrested because of a medical complication like a substance abuse disorder. Your situation may seem desperate, and the penalties you face if you are convicted may be severe, but our team of Los Angeles drug crimes defense attorneys can help you formulate the strongest defense possible and reach a better outcome than you may initially expect.
Police in Los Angeles handle thousands of drug-related criminal arrests and bookings each year, and police officers must follow the laws of due process in all of these interactions. Police must establish probable cause to conduct any arrest, and the prosecutors handling a criminal case have the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many other statutes that will come into play in a criminal case for a drug-related offense, and the penalties the defendant faces could fluctuate dramatically based on the specific details of the incident in question.
When you are arrested by the police in Los Angeles, they will read you your Miranda rights, reminding you of your constitutional rights to remain silent while in police custody and to have a defense attorney represent you in court. If you cannot afford to hire private defense counsel or if you simply do not wish to pay private attorneys’ fees, the court can appoint a public defender to represent you at no charge. However, if you’re able to hire a private Los Angeles drug crimes defense attorney, they can offer a much higher level of legal representation than you could expect from a public defender.
Comply with the police officer’s directions but do not answer any questions or sign any statements while in custody. Sometimes police will try to coerce confessions out of arrested suspects or engage in intimidation tactics to ensure convictions. Say nothing until you are able to exercise your right to legal counsel and you can speak with a defense attorney you can trust. They can answer your legal questions and help you make more informed decisions about the proceedings ahead of you.
It is illegal for anyone in the state to possess, consume, or sell illegal drugs, and the state follows the federal Schedule system to assign penalties for drug-related offenses. One key exception to this is marijuana. It is legal for adults over 21 to purchase and consume marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal use, but there are specific restrictions for doing so. For example, it remains illegal for anyone to drive under the influence of marijuana.
For all other illicit substances, the penalties for possession depend on the drug’s Schedule and the quantity the defendant had in their possession. For example, a large quantity of a Schedule I drug will lead to harsher penalties than a smaller quantity of a Schedule II drug. Additional factors present during an arrest may lead to more serious drug charges. For example, if the arresting officer recovered illegal drugs from the suspect as well as large amounts of cash and materials that indicate the defendant intended to sell the drugs, the defendant is likely to face a charge of possession with intent to sell.
Other drug charges, including trafficking and manufacturing, are more severe, often qualifying as felonies in Los Angeles. Illegal production of synthetic drugs such as crystal methamphetamine and crack cocaine or operating “pill mills” to illegally replicate prescription narcotics can lead to serious drug manufacturing charges. Transporting any quantity of drugs across county lines is likely to qualify as a felony drug trafficking offense. If a defendant trafficked drugs across state lines, the offense might qualify as a federal offense.
While your situation may seem hopeless, the right criminal defense team behind you can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of the proceedings ahead of you. When you choose Gibbons & Gibbons as your criminal defense team, we will immediately review the details of your arrest and booking to ensure due process was followed at all times. If you believe you experienced any violation of your rights while in police custody, we will do everything we can to ensure that these factors receive the court’s full attention.
Diversionary or alternative sentencing is sometimes possible for individuals charged with misdemeanor drug offenses, especially nonviolent first offenders. For example, if you are charged with a drug possession offense because of a substance abuse disorder, your defense attorney can help you argue for leniency if you are convicted. This could mean the difference between rehab or jail for some defendants.
Gibbons & Gibbons provides client-focused defense representation in every case our firm accepts. We know the stress and uncertainty anyone is likely to experience after an arrest for a drug offense in Los Angeles, and our goal is to help you navigate this difficult situation with peace of mind. Contact us today if you’re ready to meet with an experienced Los Angeles drug crimes defense attorney you can trust.