If you are charged with a drug-related crime such as possession, transportation, or consumption of a controlled substance, you may want to speak with a lawyer about the drug treatment program outlined in California Proposition 36. Proposition 36 also known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 allows certain individuals the right to seek a drug treatment program in lieu of incarceration. In other words, instead of accepting a jail sentence for a nonviolent drug-related crime such as possession, transportation, or consumption of a controlled substance you may be eligible for a drug treatment program. Prop 36 is applicable to first and second drug-related offenses, however, if convicted of another crime you may not be eligible for the program. To learn more about Prop 36, you may read the section below. We will try to break down the complexities of the laws, however, if you would like to learn about the ways the law may apply to your case, your best bet will be to contact a local attorney.

As mentioned earlier, not all individuals charged with a drug-related crime may be eligible for a drug treatment program. Our attorneys have represented individuals with varying degrees of drug-related charges from simple possession to intent to distribute and sale.  Upon consultation, if we believe you are eligible for a drug treatment program we will fight for your right to enroll in a program with efforts to avoid a jail sentence. At the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer, we fight to keep you out of jail whenever possible and we take pride in ensuring that your case is carefully assessed to ensure that you receive the options applicable to your case. If you wish to speak with a criminal attorney about your drug-related offense, you may contact our office at 310-502-1314. We are ready to schedule a consultation so that you understand exactly how the law applies to your case. Do not let incarceration be your only option, we invite you to consult your case with us before you accept a jail sentence.

The following section will highlight different drug-related charges, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, the eligibility for a drug treatment program, and other information pertaining to drug-related crimes.

What Is A Scheduled Drug?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) enforces the laws regarding controlled substances in the United States. Under the Controlled Substance Act, there are five categories that drugs are placed under. The placement of a drug in a category depends on the nature of the drug, its medical use, and the abuse or dependency of the drug. Under the Controlled Substance Act, a drug may be placed in Schedule 1 to 5 with Schedule one drugs posing the highest level of abuse and dependency. Additionally, the scheduling of the drug may impact how a court decides the severity of the consequences including jail time and penalties. However, after the Substance Abuse and Prevention Act of 2000, many of the drug-related crimes including those involving Schedule 1 drugs were addressed with a drug treatment program as opposed to incarceration. Of course, there are times when a person cannot be eligible for a drug treatment program, especially in consideration of another crime that occurred while in the possession of a controlled substance. The following will highlight how different types of drugs are scheduled which may shine a light on the severity of the punishment one may encounter if found with a certain type of drug.

Schedule I: drugs in this schedule are drugs that are perceived to have the highest abuse and dependency ratio. According to the Controlled Substance Act, drugs in this category have no “accepted medical use” and are easily abused. Due to the nature of the drug, the CSA considers the following drugs to have a high level of abuse and are not safe for independent use or under medical supervision:

  • Heroin: is a drug that can be injected, smoked, or snorted and it is cultivated from morphine an element found in the poppy seed
  • GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid): also known as the date rape drug is a powder that dissolves easily in liquid and causes hallucinations and euphoria
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD): also known as acid is a drug with no medical use that causes hallucinations and altered thoughts and perceptions
  • Methaqualone: also known as Quaalude (ludes or sopers) in the United States used for hypnotic medication and later used as a club drug
  • Cannabis: also known as weed or marijuana is a drug that comes from the cannabis plant and used for recreational purposes. Although certain states have changed their perception on marijuana, it is still considered a Schedule 1 drug under Federal law: this means that if you are caught transporting or in possession of marijuana in states where it is illegal, the occurrence may be charged with higher penalties.

Schedule II: drugs in this schedule have a high potential for abuse just as those drugs mentioned in Schedule I, however, drugs in this schedule are highly administered and used for medical purposes. The abuse of the following drugs may lead to a high level of physical and mental dependency:

  • Morphine: also known as God’s Drug, Dreamer, or Mister Blue, is a prescription drug used to relieve pain. The drug is highly addictive and causes death
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): also known as Angels Dust or Crystal is an addictive drug that affects a person sight and sound receptors and creates the feeling of strength and detachment
  • Cocaine: also known as coke is a numbing agent used in the medical field to treat pain in the mouth or nose. The drug is the second most abused controlled substance in the world following the use of marijuana.
  • Hydrocodone: is a cough suppressant that is used to treat pain and abused due to its opioid effect
  • Methamphetamine: also known as meth or crystal meth has been used in the medical industry in small amounts to treat ADHD and obesity. The drug is known to be highly addictive, causing individuals to lose their teeth and their minds over a period of abuse.

 Schedule III: drugs in this schedule have less potential for abuse and have accepted medical purposes. These drugs include:

  • Anabolic Steroids: a drug used to help treat breast cancer, low red blood cell count, delayed puberty, however, the drug has been used to increase muscle growth and to improve physical performance.
  • Aspirin: an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat mild pain. The drug has been used to achieve a high
  • Schedule IV: drugs in this schedule have less potential for abuse than the drugs mentioned above. The following drugs have medical applications: Alprazolam, Clonazepam, and Diazepam.
  • Schedule V: drugs in this schedule have a less potential for abuse than those drugs mentioned above. The drugs include cough medicines with codeine.

In the state of California, if you are caught in possession of the drugs with the intent to sell such as marijuana under Health and Safety Code 11359 or any controlled substance pursuant of Health and Safety Code 11352, you may be charged with a felony and may face up to 9 years in prison and additionally penalties that are affected by other crimes at the time the drugs were found. The intent in these cases may be difficult to prove and it is crucial to seek the help of an attorney if you had no intent to sell a controlled substance. In most cases, individuals that do not intend to sell may be capable of having the charges dismissed from their record after completing a drug treatment program instead of serving jail time. The next section will shine a light on Proposition 36 and how it applies to individuals that were found with drugs but had no intention of selling.

Proposition 36: Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000

In several cases, drug-related charges are less severe if you are caught with a small portion of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other controlled substances if you are using the drugs for yourself. Individuals who are caught with a small portion of a controlled substance for personal use may be able to take advantage of the Proposition 36 drug treatment program.

The drug treatment program allows defendants the ability to have their convictions dropped after completing a drug diversion program. The drug treatment program entails a 12-month drug education program that may be extended to up to 6 months. Individuals in the program will meet up to five times per week with a discussion group and certified agency that will help the transition into a drug-free lifestyle. Furthermore, the program may propose a 12-week aftercare that aims to help keep you away from drugs after the completion of the program.

Individuals who are eligible for the program are those who want to participate and those who are charged with a non-violent drug-related crime. A non-violent drug related crime refers to the possession or transportation of a controlled substance such as marijuana, ecstasy, PCP, peyote, heroin, or cocaine for personal use. Additionally, a non-violent drug-related crime can refer to individuals that are found under the influence of a controlled substance drug.

On the contrary, individuals who are caught with a large portion of a controlled substance (more than can be considered for personal use), the charges may reflect the intent to sell. Selling a controlled substance is often charged as a felony and will disqualify the individual from enrolling in a drug treatment program.

Ex 1: Ron is on the street smoking a joint with his buddies. He is approached by a police officer and since caught red-handed, he pleads guilty to his charges. Ron is eligible for a drug treatment program because he was only found with a joint and he was using it for himself.

Ex 2: Jeremy is throwing a party at his dorm and after a while of making noise a police officer knocks on his door. The police officer finds drugs on the premise and after a search, the police finds large quantities of cocaine more than can consumed by one person. Jeremy may be charged with possession with the intent to sell which is a felony in the state of California. Jeremy will not be capable of enrolling in a drug treatment program and may face up to nine years in jail.

Though the program is targeted to help reduce drug-related crimes and dependency, it is important to note that not everyone may qualify. For instance, individuals who are caught with a controlled substance and have had prior interactions with the laws resulting in felony charges may be ineligible for the program. Defendants with the following history, may not be eligible for a drug diversion program:

  • Individuals that have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony for a non-drug related crime
  • Individuals caught with possession of a controlled substance and at the same time found with a weapon such as a pistol or other firearms
  • Individuals who have participated in a drug treatment program more than two times and have shown that their actions are unamendable
  • Individuals caught with possession of a controlled substance and have served jail time for felony charges within the last five years
  • Individuals who refuse to participate in a drug treatment program

Individuals who are charged with possession of drugs should know that there are options other than incarceration in California. If you are an individual found with drugs, your best option is to contact a local criminal lawyer to see if you qualify for a Proposition 36. Individuals charged with a more serious crime such as the intent to sell may also want to speak with a lawyer to learn of other ways to challenge the case. The following section will discuss ways in which you may defend yourself against drug-related charges. A lawyer may help you avoid prison time for drug-related charges and/or a Proposition 36 program by proving your innocence.

Legal Defense

There are a number of ways that an experienced attorney can help challenge your case. The following may not exactly apply to your case so it is crucial to speak with an attorney about your specific details

No intent to sell

  • If you were transporting a controlled substance for your own personal use, then it is important to prove that you are not a dealer. In certain situations, if you were found with a small amount of a drug you may be eligible for a drug diversion program instead of facing time behind bars. On the other hand, if you transported a substance with the intent to sell, then this option may not apply to you.

Lack of awareness

  • If you did not know that you were in possession of a controlled substance, you may be able to avoid charges. For instance, if you were out partying with a group of people and one of them left a bag of drugs in your car and you are later stopped, you will need to prove that the drugs do not belong to you. If your attorney can prove that the drugs belong to someone else your charges may be lifted. However, if you are helping someone transport a drug even if you have nothing to benefit from the transaction, then you may still be charged for assisting with the transportation.

Illegal Search

  • If a police officer searches your home or vehicle, he or she is required to present a warrant. A warrant is an official document that allows law enforcement agencies to search your premises. Without a warrant, any drugs or paraphernalia found in your home cannot be used against you in a courtroom. In most cases, a lawyer will be able to suppress the findings based on the warrantless search and seizure.
  • A warrant specifies the location that can be searched. For instance, a police officer with a warrant to search your home cannot use the same warrant to search your vehicle unless otherwise stated. If drugs are found in your vehicle without a search warrant, then the findings may be suppressed.

Contacting a Proposition 36 Attorney Near Me

If you have been found in possession of a drug, it is crucial to speak with an attorney to learn the best way to challenge your case. More often than not, a first-time offender with a clean record will be eligible for a drug treatment program. A drug treatment program under Proposition 36 is the best option for individuals that have no way of challenging the fact that the drugs belong to them. However, if you have been wrongly accused you may want to challenge the evidence in a courtroom. If you are in the state of California, you are encouraged to speak with a criminal law attorney before you enter a courtroom. Entering a courtroom without representation can result in a conviction with more than is warranted. If you want a clear representation of your side of the story, you may reach the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer at 310-502-1314.