Drug and Sex Crimes Among the Most Common in California

Along with theft, driving-related crimes, and assault and battery, drug crimes, fraud, domestic violence, and sex crimes are among the most common in the state of California. If you have been charged with any of these crimes, it is imperative that you mount the strongest possible legal defense. The reason for this is because conviction could result in jail time, fines, court fees, serious damage to your reputation, loss or restriction of the right to drive, loss or suspension of professional licenses, community service, and more. As such, you need a skilled and experienced California criminal defense attorney to fight to protect your legal rights. The purpose of this article is to explain the basics of criminal charges for drug crimes, fraud, domestic violence, and sex crimes in the state of California.  If you have been charged with a crime in California, contact a skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney.

Drug Crimes Include Possession, Sales, Transportation, Manufacturing, and Being Under the Influence

Drugs crimes are among the most common in California. The most common drugs at issue are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, PCP, and more. Of course, there are many permutations of some of these drugs, and many different “street” names for each. In the legal system, however, drug charges are prosecuted in accordance with the precise classification of the substance as scheduled under state or federal law. At the lower misdemeanor level is mere possession of a small amount of illegal drugs. This type of possession, commonly recreational in nature, can result in serious penalties, but is not as aggressively prosecuted as drug crimes associated with the economic aspects of the drug trade.  When possession is accompanied with intent to sell or transport illegal drugs, the charges and penalties levied upon conviction are elevated. The same is true for manufacturing. Finally, the more sizeable the amount of drugs – kilograms instead of grams, for example – is highly relevant to the seriousness of the charges prosecuted by the state.

Sex Crimes Include Rape, Sexual Battery, Indecent Exposure, Prostitution, Solicitation, and Lewd Conduct

Sex crimes, along with drug crimes, are at once common, serious, and aggressively prosecuted by the state of California. Rape is defined as nonconsensual sexual intercourse by means of threat, force, or fraud. Statutory rape occurs when any person engages in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18. Sexual battery is the touching of the intimate part of another person for the purpose of gratification, arousal, or abuse. Indecent exposure is the willful exposure of one’s genitals to another person, motivated by either a desire to sexually gratify yourself or to offend the other person. Prostitution is engaging in a sexual act in exchange for money or other consideration. If you have been charged with any of these sex crimes, or any of the above detailed drug crimes, contact a skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney to mount the strongest possible legal defense.

California Drug Possession Laws

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Sean F. Leslie are well versed in defending clients accused of drug possession charges in California. We know that prosecutors often allege sales charges instead of possession charges, as charges for selling drugs make defendants ineligible for drug diversion programs generally available to first-time drug possession offenders. Our firm has years of experience persuading the prosecution to reduce the charges for our clients. Unfortunately, many police and prosecutors believe that every social drug user is also a drug dealer. We know this is not the case. It is important to know the penalties you could face for possession and use of drugs in our state.

Penalties for drug possession charges in California vary. They can be classified as infractions, misdemeanors, “wobblers,” or felonies. An infraction is most often for first-time offenders, and is the least serious charge with no jail time associated. Drug-related misdemeanors can result in up to one year in jail, and drug-related felonies have a minimum prison sentence of one year. A “wobbler” offense is charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case, as well as the prosecution and the judge. In November of 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, which reduced some simple drug possession crimes to misdemeanors.

California’s Classification of Controlled Substances

The State of California divides its controlled substances into schedules, as governed by California Health and Safety Code Sections 11053 to 11057.

  • Schedule I: Marijuana or opiates
  • Schedule II: Morphine, raw opium, hallucinogens
  • Schedule III: Pentobarbital, anabolic steroids
  • Schedule IV: Diazepam, zolpidem
  • Schedule V: Prescription narcotics

Possession of any amount of any of these controlled substances (except marijuana) can be punishable by up to one year in county jail. However, Proposition 47 has made reduced penalties available to those who qualify – those that are not registered sex offenders or have previous violent crime convictions.

Penalties for the Possession of Marijuana

The penalties associated with the unlawful possession of marijuana are charged based upon the amount in question.

  • Any amount of concentrated cannabis: Either a $500 fine or up to one year in jail, or both.
  • No more than 28.5 grams, other than concentrated cannabis, is classified as an infraction and the penalty is a $100 fine.
  • Greater than 28.5 grams, other than concentrated cannabis, is penalized by either a $500 fine, up to six months of jail time, or both.
  • An adult possessing less than 28.5 grams of marijuana (other than concentrated cannabis) on the grounds of a school during school hours will be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalty is either up to ten days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
  • A minor found in possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, on school grounds will be fined $250 for their first offense. Any subsequent offenses can be punished by up to ten days in a juvenile detention facility and a fine up to $500.

If you have been charged with drug possession, the Law Offices of Sean F. Leslie can help. Contact us today for a consultation.