If you have been found in possession of a controlled substance like marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and other party drugs and you do not want to a jail sentence, you may consider contacting a local attorney today. Most cases involving simple possession can be treated with a drug diversion program instead of serving a jail sentence. A drug diversion program aims to reduce the number of incarcerations for simple possession of a controlled substance while at the same time providing counseling and drug treatment programs to help you get off the drug. The program is available to any person found in simple possession of a controlled substance without the intent to distribute or sell the drug.
The Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act and the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 allows those found in possession of a controlled substance the ability to divert a jail sentence. Simple possession of a controlled substance means there was no intention to sell and that the drug was only meant for personal use. For instance, if you are found with a small amount of cocaine or with a small amount of any other drug categorized as a controlled substance, you may be eligible for a drug diversion program.
A drug diversion program will allow you to divert a jail sentence while at the same time removing the incident from your criminal history. This means you can legally check no when asked if you have ever been charged with a drug-related crime. However, keep in mind that if you are applying for work at a government agency you may be required to provide this information. To receive the benefits of the drug diversion program, the individual must not have committed a serious crime while in the possession of a controlled substance and must abide by the rules of the program. A serious crime can include being found with a controlled substance and while in possession of a firearm. Additionally, a serious crime is the act of selling or distributing a controlled substance.
The type of program that is right for you will depend on the circumstances of your situation. Some of the factors that come into play include the number of drugs you were found with, the number of times you have attempted to complete a drug diversion program and the nature of the crime. For instance, if you were found with more than can be consumed by one person, the judge may not grant a drug diversion program. Instead, you may be charged with possession with the intent to sell.
Those who are charged with the intent to sell a controlled substance may not be capable of applying for a drug diversion program. As mentioned above, selling a controlled substance is a serious crime that results in jail time and fines. The penalties for selling and distributing differ case by case depending on the amount of a drug, the type of drug, and who the drug is being sold to. Charges for selling or distributing a controlled substance usually increase is a child was involved in any part of the monetary exchange. For instance, it is heavily penalized to use a child to exchange drugs in a transaction or to sell to a minor.
Those who are charged with ‘simple possession’ may benefit from the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act and the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act which provide drug diversion programs that differ in length, in requirements and differ in qualifications. If you wish to learn more about your case and your qualifications for a drug diversion program, you may contact the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer at 310-502-1314. Our attorney is ready to provide representation in a court of law to ensure your fair treatment. Speak with us today before you enter a courtroom to learn how we can help.
The following will take a deeper look at the most commonly used procedures to divert a jail sentence. Keep in mind that to fully understand your situation, you will want to discuss your unique case with a criminal law attorney.
Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000
The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 is also called the California Proposition 36 and took effect on July 1, 2001. Since the implementation of the law, those found guilty of a nonviolent drug-related offense have been able to divert a jail sentence and drop drug-related charges after completion of a community certified drug education program. The drug program varies in length depending on a judge’s verdict. A judge may require the individual to fulfill a 12-month drug treatment program, however, he or she may add up to six months. The drug program under Proposition 36 is usually shorter than the one described in the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act.
To be eligible for the program there are a number of factors that are considered by a judge. First and foremost, a judge will take into account the nature of the crime. If the defendant was selling to a minor, using a minor to exchange drugs, found with a firearm, or found committing another crime, then the defendant may not be eligible for a diversion program.
If a person is found with more than can be consumed by one individual or is found distributing a drug, the defending party may be charged with the intention to sell a controlled substance. Those that are found selling or distributing a controlled substance will not be able to qualify for a drug treatment program under Proposition 36. In addition, those who are transporting a drug meaning that the drug was found in their vehicle, will need to prove that the drug was for their own use. If unable to prove that the substance was for their own use, they will not be able to divert a jail sentence through Proposition 36.
Aside from the nature of the crime, the prosecuting party will take into consideration the past criminal history of the defendant. The following may disqualify a person from a Proposition 36 drug diversion program:
- A person that does not have the will to cooperate and undergo a drug diversion program
- A person that was incarcerated within the last two years for a drug-related incident
- A person with a misdemeanor or a felony on their criminal record for a drug-related incident
- A person that has engaged no more than two times with a Proposition 36 program in the last five year
- A person found in possession of a controlled substance and gun
As you can see Proposition 36 is a program that targets low-level crimes like possession of a controlled substance. If you have been found in ‘possession of a controlled substance’ for personal use, you may contact a local criminal attorney. A criminal attorney will help you learn about your eligibility for a Proposition 36 program. Additionally, you may learn of ways in which you can challenge the evidence and avoid charges.
California Penal Code 1000
Those found in simple possession of a controlled substance with no prior conviction of a drug-related crime may be eligible for a drug diversion program under PC 1000. Penal Code 1000 like Proposition 36 offers a drug diversion program to individuals who agree to formal probation and drug education. Though the programs are similar there are a number of differences. Unlike Proposition 36, PC 1000 is a shorter and less strict program. If you complete six months of formal probation, you will be under informal probation for the remainder of the program. Additionally, unlike proposition 36, you will not be required to undergo regular drug tests. Another major difference is that Proposition 36 allows those who have failed out of a PC 1000 to engage with a lengthier drug diversion program.
In cases where the defendant qualifies for PC 1000, he or she will be required to plead guilty to the charges. In pleading guilty, the defendant agrees to abide by probationary rules and to attend drug education meetings. If the defendant completes the first six months without violating a code of conduct, then he or she will be placed under unsupervised probation for the remainder 12 months. After the 12-month period, the charges are dropped, and the criminal record is cleared of the conviction.
If you are in a PC 1000 program, you should understand that there are a number of ways to receive the boot. For instance, your program may be discontinued if you are arrested, if you fail a drug test, or if do not abide by the rules of the program. Those who cannot successfully complete a PC 1000, may be required to re-enter jail and face a judge. If you have failed your drug diversion program, you may speak with a criminal law attorney to learn about your options. In some cases, the defendant may face charges for the initial drug crime. In other cases, the defendant is capable of entering a lengthier Proposition 36 program.
To find out of you are eligible for a PC 1000 drug diversion program, you may contact a local criminal law attorney. Like with Proposition 36, to be eligible for a drug diversion program, the individual must be charged with a simple possession of a controlled substance. If the defendant is charged with a felony or for other crimes involving a minor or a weapon, then he or she may not be eligible for a drug diversion program. However, a skilled attorney may be able to reduce the charges so that you may qualify for a drug diversion program.
The Controlled Substance Act
The governments Controlled Substance Act was signed in 1970 to group the former federal laws regarding drug use into one. The CSA sought to regulate the possession and distribution of more than 200 drugs. The act also details five schedules of drugs that are categorized from schedule 1 to schedule 5 based on their levels of dependency, levels of abuse, and their medical applications (if any). Drugs closer to schedule 5 have the least levels of dependency and abuse, however, they are used commonly in the medical field. Those in schedule 1 have no medical applications and are considered drugs that have a high level of dependency and abuse. Drugs in these schedules usually require a doctor's note in order to be in rightful possession of the drug. However, substances in schedule one and two usually hold no medical applications which means that they are illegal to possess.
More specifically, the Drug Enforcement Agency uses the following criteria to determine the schedule any given drug:
- It's potential for abuse
- Scientific information about the drug
- The potential use of the drug as a medicine
- Risks the drug may pose to the general public health
- Its physical and psychological dependency
Drugs in schedule 2 to 5 vary in dependency and have proven to have some form of medical application. The schedules categorize the following common drugs into separate groups.
- Schedule 1: drugs included are marijuana, Ecstasy, LSD, peyote, and meth
- Schedule 2: drugs included are opium, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, amphetamine, cocaine
- Schedule 3: drugs included are ketamine, anabolic steroids, Tylenol, Vicodin
- Schedule 4: drugs included are alprazolam, clorazepate, lorazepam, triazolam, carisoprodol etc.
- Schedule 5: drugs included are cough medicine with codeine, Robitussin,
Despite the fact that marijuana has been widely accepted by different states, if you are found in possession of the substance by a DEA federal agent, then the federal laws will apply. As mentioned above, marijuana is a schedule 1 drug which means you may face serious consequences if you are transporting the substance between states. To learn more about what is considered a controlled substance and their scheduling, you may visit the U.S Department of Justice: Diversion Control Division.
Though some of these drugs are widely accepted for medical use, it is crucial to understand that you may still face charges if you are found in possession with the intent to sell. Being found in possession of any given amount of a medicinal drug without doctors, dentists, or nurses note, can lead to charges in a criminal court.
Aside from drug diversion programs, you should know that there are other options to deal with a drug-related case. In some cases, if you have been wrongfully accused or there was a breach of law during the search and seizure, then you may have good reason to challenge the charges in a courtroom. Challenging the charges in a courtroom can help you avoid a jail sentence and you will not be required to undergo a drug diversion program. The following are ways in which a skilled attorney can challenge the drug possession charges.
Lack of Proof
If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance the prosecuting party has the burden to prove that the drugs were in your possession. If the drugs were not in your physical possession, then a person cannot claim that they belong to you. For example, if you have paid a drug dealer for a controlled substance, but the transaction never occurred meaning you never came into contact with the drug, then you cannot be charged for possession of a controlled substance.
When a law enforcement agent enters a property without a warrant, he or she is not allowed to conduct a search and seizure. In order to conduct a search and seizure, the law enforcement agency needs written permission often called a warrant. Without a warrant, any substance found during the search and seizure cannot be used in a courtroom to press charges. Furthermore, the warrant usually specifies the location that can be searched. For instance, a warrant may allow a law enforcement agency to conduct a search of your home but not your vehicle.
Lack of Knowledge
Another way to challenge a case in a courtroom is if the drug genuinely does not belong to you. A person with a clean record may be able to challenge the case by proving that it does not belong to them or that they had no idea of the presence of the drug. For instance, if you are an Uber or taxi driver and a passenger leaves a bag of drugs in your car, you may be able to challenge the charges if they are found by a police officer.
If you reside in Los Angeles, California and you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, you may contact our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney to learn about your options. As mentioned above, a person charged with possession of a controlled substance has a variety of options that include drug diversion programs and challenging the case in a courtroom. To learn the right procedure for your case, you should consult with a local attorney who is capable of applying the local California laws to your case. If you wish to schedule a consultation, you may send us an e-mail or you may contact our office at 310-502-1314.