Cocaine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. It is listed on Schedule I, a federally-established category that also includes methamphetamines and oxycodone. California, like many states, imposes harsh penalties for the possession, transportation or sale of cocaine. If you are facing cocaine possession charges, you don’t need to panic, as a charge doesn’t necessarily mean a conviction. It does, however, mean that you must take fast action by contacting an experienced defense lawyer, and in the meantime take some steps toward building a strong defense or reducing the damage to your life and future.
Steps to Take Against Cocaine Possession Charges
There are many possible outcomes following cocaine possession charges, so you should be prepared for all of them. Cocaine possession is often considered a felony in California, but some offenders are eligible for diversion programs that emphasize rehabilitation and education over prison time. In some cases, it may best to dispute the charges directly in court. Here are some steps you can take when you are being charged with cocaine possession:
- Know your rights. Drug possession cases can become complicated, and it’s important to know what law enforcement can and cannot legally do. For example, prosecutors may not use evidence that was acquired when a police officer provoked you into committing a crime (like the purchase of cocaine) that you would not otherwise have committed. This is called entrapment, and an accomplished criminal defense lawyer can advise you on whether this applies to your case.
- Get treatment, if necessary. Ultimately, a judge will likely require you to undergo treatment anyway, but if you believe you will indeed be convicted, it doesn’t hurt to start early. Not only will treatment help you turn over a new page in life, but judges also tend to look kindly on defendants who proactively decide to take steps to kick drug addiction.
- Document all your efforts at treatment and rehabilitation. Make sure that you will be able to convince a judge that you are cooperating with the court and want to be a good citizen. Taking drug tests prior to your court date to show that you have remained clean can be helpful to your case as well.
- Look into the alternate programs that California offers. Drug courts allow you to participate in a pre-plea diversion program that can help you avoid a full trial and a harsh sentence. Your lawyer can advise you on whether you are eligible.
The Most Important Step: Contacting a Lawyer
All of the above steps are important and can greatly help your case, but far and away the most important thing to do if you are facing cocaine possession charges is to find a skilled lawyer. You’ll want to talk to someone who understands the system, and has extensive experience defending against drug charges. An powerful and experienced drug crime lawyer will take a thorough approach to your case, and will advise you about the best course of action. At the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum & Associates, we have years of experiences working with clients like you. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.