What to Expect if You’re Arrested for Drug Possession
If you have been arrested on drug possession charges in the state of California, you are certainly wondering what kinds of fines and penalties you will face and how this will affect the rest of your life. Marijuana is legal in the Golden State and that fact has created a reputation for going easy on drug charges. However, a possession charge can come with jail time of four years and thousands of dollars in fees. Lawyer Vikas Bajaj can build the best defense case for you.
In order to build a stellar defense, you and Mr. Bajaj will want to know if police protocol was followed and the amount and type of drugs that were in your possession. It is helpful to know the basic laws and penalties associated with a drug possession arrest.
Did the Police Follow Protocol?
When you were arrested, did the police officer do everything they were supposed to do? Remember, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution forbids unreasonable search and seizure. When you are suspected of drug possession the police are supposed to obtain a search warrant before looking for the drugs alleged to be in your possession. There are a few exceptions to the rule. They can search you without a warrant if you give your consent. They are also allowed to search your car without a warrant as there is an automobile exception in the state. They are allowed to search for weapons without a warrant. If the police found drugs on you when they were searching for weapons, you definitely want to inform your lawyer.
The officer must inform you of your rights and let you know precisely for what you are being charged. If the officer failed to follow protocol, there are some cases in which your charges may be able to be dropped or reduced.
Type of Drugs
Pot is legal in California and the only way you can get arrested for it is if law enforcement believes that you intend to sell it. Possession of cannabis with intent to sell is considered a misdemeanor in the state unless you are caught selling it to persons who are under 21.
Simple possession without charges of intent to sell are treated as a misdemeanor in the state of California according to Proposition 47 which was made a law in 2014. People who are in jail on drug charges may apply for resentencing due to the law.
Although possession may be a misdemeanor, you can still get up to a year in jail for possession and a fine of up to $1000 if you are caught with illegal drugs. The penalties may increase depending upon a person’s criminal record and the number of prior offenses.
Possession with intent to sell is a much more serious offense. It is considered a felony, and you may spend up to four years in jail if convicted. If you have a copious amount of drugs, or if those drugs were in separate bags or containers, it may be used as evidence that you had an intent intended to sell.
Although drug charges are not to be taken lightly. Remember the prosecutor must prove that you knew the drugs were on you and that you knew they were illegal. An attorney with lots of experience with drug laws in California who has a good reputation with the state bar can help you.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.