Drug possession charges in California are a serious matter. Even if it is your first offense, your life could be turned upside down. It isn’t worth taking the chance of being separated from your loved ones and incarcerated. If you are charged with cocaine possession, it is crucial that you immediately consult an experienced drug crime defense attorney. We can help you fight back against the charges.
Cocaine Possession Charges and Sentences in California
California is known for being tough on drug-related crimes. The federal government classifies drugs into “schedules” according to how addictive and dangerous the drugs are considered to be. For example, Schedule I, the most serious class, includes heroin. By comparison, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning that the government considers it to carry serious risks, but slightly less potential for abuse.
California law treats possession charges differently according to the schedule the drug falls into: Some drug offenses are charged as misdemeanors. If, however, you are charged with possession of a Schedule II drug such as cocaine, it’s likely that your crime will be filed as a felony offense. A felony conviction will typically have prison time as one aspect of the penalties imposed upon you. Your sentence may be longer than you expect thanks to California sentence enhancements for certain issues, including firearm possession and prior convictions. Moreover, the consequences of a felony conviction will continue long after you are released from prison:
- With cocaine possession on your record, it becomes more difficult to find employment, as employers often do criminal background checks prior to hiring.
- You may be barred from holding certain professional licenses.
- In most cases, you may not enlist in the military following a felony conviction.
- While you are in prison serving time for a felony conviction, you cannot collect federal benefits. This can cause problems for your family’s finances for months, years, or longer.
- If you are an immigrant and do not yet have U.S. citizenship, your immigration status could be at risk.
Fighting Cocaine Possession Charges
Fortunately, with the help of a skilled criminal attorney, you can fight cocaine possession charges. Your attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced, or seek alternatives to prison time. The case against you may have inherent weaknesses that could be exploited for your benefit. Your defense lawyer must show reasonable doubt that the drugs actually belonged to you. Drug charges may be dismissed in cases in which law enforcement improperly seized evidence.
Alternately, California has certain programs in place to rehabilitate those charged with cocaine possession, and incarceration can be avoided altogether. A judge might assign you to drug treatment, counseling, and a period of random drug testing. To get your life back on track, you need a criminal defense attorney that brings outstanding skills to the table.
If you or a loved one are facing cocaine possession charges, you don’t need to panic; it’s time to take action. There are various possible outcomes following drug charges, and the right attorney will fight for the best outcome possible. Contact us at the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum & Associates, PLC for an initial consultation.