near me
Los Angeles Drug Trafficking Vs. Drug Possession

DRUG POSSESSION VS DRUG TRAFFICKING LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerDrug laws vary from state to state, but a common thread among them is that drug trafficking is typically regarded as a more severe offense compared to simple drug possession. Thus, the repercussions for a conviction of drug trafficking is usually much more harsh than for simple possession.

More specifically, drug trafficking involves the production, distribution, or sale of prohibited substances such as cocaine, LSD, PCP, heroin, and marijuana. On the flip side, drug possession simply pertains to being caught in possession of illegal drugs (such as having it for personal or recreational use).

Additionally, there exists a category known as “possession with intent to sell.” This implies that while you might not have been caught in the act of selling drugs, there could be compelling evidence suggesting your intention to do so in the future.

In the complex landscape of drug-related offenses, California’s legal system distinguishes between two crucial charges: “Drug Possession” and “Drug Trafficking.” These charges carry vastly different implications, penalties, and legal consequences.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nuances of these charges under California law, shedding light on their key differences and providing insights into what individuals need to know when navigating these legal waters. 

DEFINING DRUG POSSESSION

Drug possession, as outlined by California Health and Safety Code Section 11350, pertains to the act of having controlled substances in one’s possession without legal authorization. This includes both illegal narcotics and prescription drugs not prescribed to the possessor.

KEY ELEMENTS OF DRUG POSSESSION

  • Unlawful Possession: Possessing controlled substances without a valid prescription or legal authorization.
  • Personal Use: The intention behind the possession is typically for personal use rather than distribution.

DEFINING DRUG TRAFFICKING

Drug trafficking, also known as drug distribution, is a significantly more serious offense. Under California law, drug trafficking involves the sale, transport, distribution, or import of controlled substances with the intent to distribute.

KEY ELEMENTS OF DRUG TRAFFICKING

  • Sale or Distribution: The act of selling, distributing, transporting, or importing controlled substances.
  • Intent to Distribute: The prosecution must establish the intent to distribute the drugs, even if the actual sale didn’t take place.
See also  CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE 11154 HS – PRESCRIBING A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE WITHOUT TREATMENT

DIFFERENCES IN PENALTIES

The penalties for drug possession and drug trafficking are markedly distinct due to the varying degrees of harm and societal impact associated with each offense.

DRUG POSSESSION PENALTIES

In certain states, like California, a three-strikes law system is in effect. This means that if you have a history of violent convictions and are found guilty of drug possession, the consequences can escalate significantly. The penalties for drug possession differ from one state to another, and they can be quite substantial, often involving substantial fines and the possibility of incarceration (jail or prison).

The severity of the punishment also hinges upon the type of drug involved. For instance, marijuana possession is typically viewed as a less severe crime in many states compared to possessing substances like cocaine. It’s worth noting that an increasing number of jurisdictions have moved towards decriminalizing or even legalizing marijuana possession. Drug possession penalties in California vary based on the type of controlled substance, the amount in possession, and whether the possession is for personal use or for distribution.

  • Health and Safety Code Section 11350: This section deals with the possession of controlled substances, including drugs like cocaine, heroin, and certain prescription medications without a valid prescription. Possession of these substances can be charged as a felony crime or misdemeanor crime, with potential penalties including imprisonment, fines, and mandatory drug treatment programs.
  • Health and Safety Code Section 11377: This section pertains to the possession of certain controlled substances without a prescription. It includes drugs like methamphetamine. Similar to Section 11350, the penalties can include imprisonment, fines, and mandatory drug treatment programs.
  • Marijuana: California has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, and the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana has significantly altered the penalties associated with marijuana possession. However, possession of larger quantities or possession by individuals under the legal age can still result in penalties.
  • Health and Safety Code Section 11357: This section addresses the possession of concentrated cannabis (hashish) and its derivatives. Penalties can vary depending on the amount in possession.
  • Health and Safety Code Section 11375: This section addresses the possession of certain controlled substances specified in the code, often used for non-medical purposes.
  • Proposition 47: California’s Proposition 47, passed in 2014, reduced certain drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. This includes the possession of small amounts of drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
  • Diversion Programs: In some cases, individuals charged with drug possession may be eligible for diversion programs or drug court programs as an alternative to traditional criminal penalties. These programs focus on rehabilitation and treatment rather than strict punishment.
  • See Penal Code Section 1000
See also  CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE 11162.5 HS – COUNTERFEITING A PRESCRIPTION BLANK

DRUG TRAFFICKING PENALTIES

Drug trafficking penalties in California vary depending on the type and quantity of the controlled substance involved.

Here’s a general overview of drug trafficking penalties in California based on my last update:

  • Health and Safety Code Section 11352: This section deals with the transportation, sale, and distribution of controlled substances. Penalties can vary based on the type and amount of drugs involved. For example, the trafficking of cocaine or methamphetamine can lead to imprisonment for three, four, or five years, along with substantial fines.
  • Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6: This section covers the manufacturing or distribution of methamphetamine. Penalties for violating this section can include imprisonment for three, five, or seven years, as well as fines.
  • Marijuana: In California, the penalties for marijuana-related offenses have changed significantly due to the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana. However, trafficking large amounts of marijuana can still result in serious consequences, including imprisonment and fines.
  • Other Controlled Substances: The penalties for trafficking other controlled substances, such as heroin, prescription drugs, and hallucinogens, are outlined in various sections of the California Health and Safety Code. These penalties can vary widely depending on the specific substance and quantity involved.
  • Enhancements: Penalties can be enhanced if certain aggravating factors are present, such as trafficking near a school, involving minors, or having prior convictions.

LEGAL DEFENSES AND IMPLICATIONS

Navigating drug-related charges necessitates a clear understanding of legal defenses and their potential implications.

DEFENSES FOR DRUG POSSESSION:

  • Lack of Knowledge: If the defendant wasn’t aware of the presence of the controlled substance.
  • Unlawful Search and Seizure: Evidence obtained through an unlawful search and seizure may be challenged.

DEFENSES FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING

  • Lack of Intent: Demonstrating that there was no intent to distribute the drugs.
  • Personal use: The drugs were for personal use, not sale or trafficking.
  • Unreliable Evidence: Questioning the credibility of the evidence presented by the prosecution.
  • Police misconduct or setup.
See also  PENAL CODE 1000 PC - DRUG DIVERSION PROGRAM CALIFORNIA 

IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

Immigration consequences for drug-related offenses, including drug possession and drug trafficking, in California can be severe and may vary depending on the specifics of the case and an individual’s immigration status. A drug related conviction in California can have significant immigration consequences for non-U.S. citizens. Immigration law is complex, and a drug related conviction may impact your immigration status, including your ability to obtain or maintain a visa, green card, or citizenship. Here are some potential immigration consequences:

DRUG POSSESSION:

  • Misdemeanor Drug Possession: A simple drug possession conviction may not lead to automatic deportation. However, it can be a factor that immigration authorities consider when determining eligibility for visas, green cards, or citizenship.
  • Felony Drug Possession: A felony drug possession conviction can have more serious immigration consequences, potentially leading to deportation for non-U.S. citizens, including green card holders.
  • Aggravated Felony: Certain drug possession offenses can be classified as aggravated felonies, which almost always result in deportation for non-citizens, regardless of their legal status.

DRUG TRAFFICKING:

  • Drug Trafficking Convictions: Drug trafficking convictions are generally regarded as serious crimes by immigration authorities and can lead to deportation.
  • Aggravated Felony: Some drug trafficking offenses can be classified as aggravated felonies, which almost always lead to deportation.

CONCLUSION

In California’s intricate legal landscape, comprehending the distinctions between drug possession and drug trafficking is vital. Understand the drug offender registry in California if you have been convicted of certain drug offenses. Recognizing the elements, penalties, and potential defenses associated with each charge can empower individuals to make informed decisions, seek proper legal representation, and ensure a fair legal process. If you find yourself facing either of these charges, enlisting the assistance of an experienced drug crime defense attorney is essential to safeguarding your rights and working toward the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, knowledge is your best defense when navigating the complexities of California’s drug-related legal system. 

Tabibnia Law Firm is serving its clients throughout Southern California including Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Orange County, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, Ventura county, Riverside County, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Monterey Park, La Puente, Van Nuys, Pomona, Manhattan Beach, West Covina, Whittier, Downey, Woodland Hills, Norwalk, Torrance, Redondo Beach, San Bernardino, Walnut Creek, Inglewood, Lancaster, Westlake Village and nearby areas.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

    Get A Case Review Today

    Please prove you are human by selecting the cup.

    EXCELLENT rating
    Based on 39 reviews
    I would like to sincerely thank my attorney Cyrus Tabibnia and the Tabibnia Law firm for everything you have done for me and my family. Highly satisfied customers and excellent service is what you want when you hire an attorney. I was always treated with respect, if I needed anything or had any questions or concerns Mr. Tabibna was always available. I give a five-star rating as one of his clients and would honestly give a ten-star review if I could, because he is an awesome attorney worth every penny. I would highly recommend to anybody looking for a criminal defense attorney that Cyrus Tabibnia and his law firm be the one you consider
    Pharroh Knight
    Pharroh Knight
    2 April 2024
    Thank you for being so generous with your time and expertise and providing a legal consult! We really appreciate it
    Eli Elay
    Eli Elay
    6 February 2024
    My family had an urgent matter late on a Friday night. Cyrus took our call at 10p, listened to our situation, and answered all our questions. He was thorough in his explanations and addressed our concerns. What we appreciated the most was that he was not pushy and walked us through different approaches for our situation. We have not needed legal representation yet, but with Cyrus’ flexibility, transparency, and straight forwardness, we would highly recommend him.
    MICHELLE ROMAN
    MICHELLE ROMAN
    14 December 2023
    I had a DUI charge where I was having difficulties having an attorney give me the time of day to hear me about my case. I called different places and finally found Cyrus Tabibnia Law Firm a criminal Defense Attorney. I called him and he promptly returned my call. He sat down with me and listened to me, he understood my situation and gave me the peace of mind that lifted the stress I was going threw off my shoulders. He took control and walked me through everything. He explained the process of what to expect and what to do. Whenever I needed to talk to Cyrus, he made himself available to me. I was happy with the outcome of my case and would definitely recommend anyone to give Cyrus Tabibnia a call if they need a dependable criminal attorney to represent them.
    E T
    E T
    19 November 2023
    Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia has been outstanding in his knowledge and work related to legal matters. I have very much appreciated working with you.
    Rinah
    Rinah
    14 November 2023
    I have appreciated working professionally with Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia and his law firm on various cases that will assist his clients.
    Roxanna Rahban
    Roxanna Rahban
    14 November 2023
    Excellent Attorneys AND Customer service. They were patient, kind, and incredibly clear in their communications regarding my case and followed up promptly at each step of the process. I felt seen, heard and valued as a client and highly recommend this firm to anyone who is looking for kindness, professionalism and great results.
    Alexandra Sophia Marsalis
    Alexandra Sophia Marsalis
    14 November 2023
    Dedicated Attorney I have had the privilege of knowing attorney Cyrus Tabibnia since 2010, when he used to be a dedicated Board member at our local Bar Association in Los Angeles. He has always been respected by his colleagues for his legal contribution to the members of the Bar Association. While interacting with him professionally, I have found him to be a man of integrity, a competent counsel and zealous advocate for his clients in a variety of civil and criminal cases. Despite his busy professional schedule, Cyrus adheres to his family values and keeps his precious friendship with the rest of us. I am honored to call Cyrus a colleague and endorse him for the services that he offers to the public.
    Zaher Fallahi
    Zaher Fallahi
    14 November 2023
    I endorse the Tabibnia Law Firm. Mr. Tabibnia is colleague and staunch professional. He is clearly dedicated to his clients, craft, and practice. Do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Tabibnia for services.
    Daniel Forouzan
    Daniel Forouzan
    10 November 2023

    Recent Posts

    Practice Areas

    Locations We Serve