If you were arrested and charged with a drug crime, your freedom is at stake. If convicted, you face a wide-range of penalties and consequences that could upend your entire life.
You need an experienced Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer in your corner from the very start. All cases can be won, even if things seem bleak.
Our award-winning criminal defense attorneys have the experience and resources needed to keep you out of jail and get the charges reduced or dismissed. We know how to fight these charges and secure the best possible outcome.
Experienced Drug Crime Attorneys
At Chudnovsky Law, our experienced Los Angeles drug crime attorneys have handled 1,000’s of cases involving drug possession, manufacturing, drug trafficking, money laundering, and even federal drug crime charges.
As former prosecutors, we know how to build a case against these serious charges. Our former District Attorney knows the police, courts, and DA that will be involved in your case. We use this knowledge to help get the charges dismissed if possible. We also use drug diversion programs to help reduce the charges and keep you out of jail.
The knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles drug crime lawyers at Chudnovsky Law can represent you during every stage of the proceedings, including initial police interrogations.
We can also represent you at all criminal court hearings and trials to fight for your innocence or work to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the state prosecutor handling your case. Please call us or contact us online for more information about how we can assist you with every aspect of your criminal case.
We Fight For Your Future
Without a Los Angeles drug crimes attorney on your side, you face an uncertain future. Drug crime charges and convictions can lead to a whole host of legal penalties and collateral consequences that may impact the remainder of your life. In addition to court-imposed fines and jail time, you might have difficulty getting a job, finding a decent place to live, or going to the educational institution of your choice.
If you’re facing drug crime charges anywhere in Los Angeles, call a skilled Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer at Chudnovsky Law to represent you throughout every step of your criminal case, starting with your free consultation.
We offer affordable fees and flexible payment plans.
How Our Lawyers Can Assist During Representation
If you are facing criminal drug charges in Los Angeles, retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you is one of the most important steps that you can take. First of all, your lawyer can be present with you during police questioning. If a police officer detains you and begins to ask you questions about an alleged offense, you have a right to the presence of legal counsel.
Your attorney can be present with you during any questioning and, if necessary, object to various questions that the police officer might pose. If you assert your right to counsel and a police officer continues to question you, the court may exclude anything that you say afterward, even if it is incriminating and helps the prosecution's case.
In addition to being present during a criminal interrogation, our legal team can be present with you during any plea negotiations with the prosecuting attorney and throughout a criminal hearing or trial. At trial, our legal team can advocate the best possible defenses on your behalf in an attempt to obtain a dismissal in your case. If that does not happen, we can represent you at your sentencing hearing and work to get you a fair and reasonable penalty under the circumstances.
Types of Los Angeles Drug Crimes
California law uses two general categories of drug crimes. The first category is drug possession charges. A person can incur criminal charges for drug possession if they are in actual possession of a drug or constructive possession. Actual possession means that a police officer or investigator finds the drug directly on the arrestee’s person. For example, the officer might find the drug in their purse, hands, or pockets.
In addition, an individual can face a drug possession charge if a police officer finds drugs in their general vicinity or reach area. For example, if a police officer discovers illegal drugs in a car or truck during a motor vehicle stop, all the vehicle occupants can incur charges for drug possession.
In cases where a police officer finds a significant quantity of drugs in the arrestee's possession, the officer can file charges for possession with intent to distribute. The theory is that if an individual has a significantly large quantity of drugs in their possession, they probably intended to distribute or sell the drugs to others.
In addition to a drug possession charge, a person can face charges for drug trafficking or distribution. Drug trafficking refers to the sale or transportation of illegal substances. When many people think of drug trafficking, they think of large-scale drug ring operations. However, a person can theoretically incur a drug trafficking charge if they transport illegal drugs in their pocket across the street.
For an individual to violate Section 11352 of the California Health and Safety Code regarding the sale and transportation of controlled substances, they must:
- Sell, furnish, administer, give away, transport, or import a controlled substance into California
- With the knowledge the substance in question is a controlled substance under the law
- With the knowledge the drug is present
- In addition to transporting the substance in question, the drug quantity was a usable amount
When it comes to drug trafficking, transportation, and distribution charges, an individual can transport the substance on foot, by bicycle, or by using a motor vehicle. In addition, many of these drug trafficking offenses are felonies, and an individual can sustain a serious penalty if they ultimately sustain a conviction in court.
If you face a Los Angeles drug crime charge, the skilled team of attorneys at Chudnovsky Law is here to help. We can review your criminal drug charge with you and help you determine the best legal options for your case.
Misdemeanor versus Felony Drug Crimes
The California criminal system divides offenses into misdemeanors and felonies. Generally speaking, a misdemeanor is punishable by one year or less of incarceration, along with fines and other lesser penalties. On the other hand, a felony is punishable by more than one year of incarceration. Several factors determine whether or not a drug crime is a misdemeanor or a felony in California.
Those factors include:
- The amount and type of the drug that is at issue - The type of drug at issue will typically impact whether the accused sustains a felony or a misdemeanor drug charge. For example, if a police officer catches a person with cocaine or heroin (instead of a less-serious drug), felony drug possession charges will typically follow.
- Whether the accused possessed the drugs for individual use or for sale and distribution - When a person possesses a drug for their personal use or consumption, it can lead to a misdemeanor charge. However, if the person possesses the drug in question for sale or distribution, the person can be looking at a felony charge.
- Various aggravating circumstances - Various aggravating circumstances can lead to a state prosecutor elevating an otherwise misdemeanor charge to a felony charge. One important aggravating factor is where the drug possession or sale transaction occurred. If it occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, swimming pool, arcade, playground, or another drug-free zone, the offender will likely be looking at a felony drug charge. Other aggravating factors in drug crime cases include the presence of a minor during the drug transaction, gang-related drug activity, and possessing a firearm during a drug transaction.
Potential Penalties for a Conviction of a California Drug Crime
The potential penalties associated with a drug crime conviction are often very serious and can have a long-lasting impact on the offender’s life. Depending upon whether the offender is facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge, the offender can be looking at jail time, significant monetary fines, court-imposed community service, or a period of probation. In addition, a sentencing judge may order the offender to complete a period of drug or alcohol rehabilitation.
In addition to legal penalties, the offender can face numerous, lifelong long-term collateral consequences. For example, the convicted drug offender might have trouble finding a place to live or finding (and keeping) a job. In addition, the offender may not gain admission to the educational institution of their choice due to their criminal record. Finally, a convicted drug offender may not be eligible to possess a firearm, serve on a jury, or serve in the United States military.
If you sustain a conviction on a felony or misdemeanor drug charge, the experienced Los Angeles drug crime lawyers at Chudnovsky Law can represent you at your sentencing hearing and minimize the penalties and collateral consequences. Our legal team will fight for you to get a fair and reasonable penalty commensurate with the offense.
Who Has the Burden of Proof in a Criminal Drug Case?
In any criminal case, including one that involves drug possession or distribution, the prosecution (or the state) has the legal burden of proof. They must demonstrate all of the elements of the charge beyond a doubt based on ordinary reason and common sense. This is the "beyond a reasonable doubt" legal standard.
Moreover, in a criminal case, the defendant—or the individual facing the criminal charge—does not need to prove anything. The defense lawyer who represents the defendant can argue a defense on the defendant's behalf in court. If the trier of fact, including the judge or jury, believes the defense the attorney advocates, the entire criminal case might be subject to dismissal. If the defense succeeds, the prosecution cannot satisfy its legal burden of proof.
The experienced team of Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Chudnovsky Law can help you determine if you might be eligible to assert a defense and, if so, which defenses might apply to your case. Your lawyer can then represent you in any criminal court hearings and work to obtain the best possible result on your behalf.
Potential Defenses to a California Drug Charge
Individuals facing criminal drug charges in California can advance several legal defenses that may result in a charge dismissal. In cases where the government accuses an individual of constructive drug possession, they might allege that they did not know the drugs were present in the vehicle or home where the police officer arrested them.
In addition, the individual may contend that police officers entrapped them. Although police officers can set up sting operations, they cannot make threats or harass an individual to get them to commit a crime. When that happens, the accused person can successfully allege police officer entrapment.
In addition, the accused individual might be in a position to allege that the drugs did not belong to them but rather to another individual. Finally, the accused person might contend that the police officer violated their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. For example, the officer might not have had sufficient cause to search the person.
The knowledgeable team of Los Angeles drug crime defense attorneys at Chudnovsky Law can defend you against your pending criminal charge. If you are eligible to argue one or more of these defenses at trial, our legal team will zealously advocate on your behalf and work to get your criminal case dismissed in its entirety.
Plea Deals and Alternatives to a Drug Crime Conviction
In some instances, if a dismissal of your case is not possible, your lawyer might work out a favorable plea deal with the prosecuting attorney who is handling your case.
For example, your attorney might recommend a period of probation (as opposed to jail time) in exchange for pleading guilty to a charge. If you complete all of the terms of your probation, the state can ultimately dismiss the pending criminal drug charge against you. Alternatively, your lawyer might recommend a lesser offense in exchange for entering a guilty plea in your case.
When a plea deal is on the table, a knowledgeable Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer can determine whether you should accept a plea deal that the state prosecutor puts on the table or take your case to trial in front of a judge or jury.
Call a Los Angeles Drug Crimes Lawyer Today
The skilled Los Angeles drug crimes legal team at Chudnovsky Law is ready to help you fight your criminal drug charge in court and pursue the best possible result on your behalf. We have several cases showcasing our results and reviews. Please call us at (213) 212-5002 or contact us online to learn more.