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Cocaine is known by many names - coke, blow, snow and powder, but there are really too many to list. It can be snorted, smoked, or injected. It's highly addictive, and users face serious risks to their health, including death by overdose.
Under the United States Controlled Substances Act, cocaine is considered a “controlled substance,” meaning that is it illegal to sell, use, or possess it without a prescription or for other recognized medical use. Cocaine is generally considered a Schedule II drug, due to the fact that it (1) carries a high potential for abuse, and (2) the likelihood that abuse will lead to addiction. In addition, the possession and sale of cocaine is illegal under California law, and there are significant legal penalties that can be imposed on the state level.
As a result, being charged with the possession or sale of cocaine is a very serious matter. You could be facing serious jail time, damage to your reputation, and thousands of dollars in fines. The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers of the Law Offices of David S. Chesley helps people facing cocaine charges get a fair result, whether that means getting the charges completely dismissed, avoiding jail time, or negotiating the best plea deal possible. We offer our clients aggressive representation with over 50 years of courtroom experience. If you’d like a free consultation, call us at 800-755-5174 or send us an email via our online contact form.
Possession of Cocaine
Under California law, it is illegal to possess a number of controlled substances, which includes cocaine in any form. In order to find you guilty of possession, the prosecution has to prove three things:
If you are found guilty, possession is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00. If you’re facing cocaine charges, this may sound very simple, but it’s important to keep in mind that proving possession may be more difficult than it appears. For example, if someone you knew left the cocaine in your car without your knowledge, the prosecution may not have the evidence to prove that you knew it was in your vehicle. Alternatively, maybe you knew you had something, but didn’t know it was cocaine. Whatever the case, the prosecution has to prove that you had a usable amount of cocaine, knew you had it, and knew it was cocaine.
It’s also important to know that you will be charged with possession of cocaine if the amount in your possession was for personal use only. Of all the cocaine-related charges, possession carries some of the lightest penalties.
Possession of Cocaine for Sale and Transportation
If you are caught with cocaine in certain circumstances, the prosecutor may charge you with possession of cocaine for sale. This is a more serious crime with heavier penalties. In order to be found guilty, however, the prosecution will have to prove that you intended to sell it. As a result, the prosecution will have to rely on the facts surrounding your arrest. Here are some examples of the facts that the prosecution may use to argue that you intended to sell the cocaine in your possession:
California law also has a separate crime for what is commonly considered drug trafficking, which would include trafficking cocaine. The prosecution can charge you with transportation even if you didn’t cross state lines - it’s illegal to transport cocaine across two or more counties. As a result, transportation and sale charges often go hand-in-hand. These are extremely serious charges, and anyone facing allegations of selling or transporting cocaine should speak to an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Other Cocaine-Related Charges
Even if you’re not in possession of cocaine, California law allows the prosecution to charge you with being under the influence of cocaine. However, you have to be impaired, either physically or mentally, in some detectable way at the time you were arrested. If you were driving when you were arrested, the prosecution could charge you with driving while under the influence of cocaine. Both of these crimes are typically charged as misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and possible fines.
As mentioned earlier, simple possession is punishable by up to a year in county jail, but the penalties become more severe from there. Here is a summary of the possible penalties if you’re facing cocaine charges:
|Possesion||Scale||Transportation||Being Under the Influence||DUI|
|Typically charged as a misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.||Felony charge, punishable for 2, 3, or 4 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000||Felony charge, punishable by 3, 4, or 5 years in prison||Typically charged as a misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.||Typically charged as a misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.|
|May be charged as a felony if you have a prior conviction for a sex crime or other serious offense such as murder with jail time of 16 months or 2 or 3 years||Selling base cocaine is punishable by 3, 4, or 5 years in prison||If you transported the cocaine across two or more counties, the crime is punishable by 3, 6, or 9 years in prison||If convicted, you may be able to participate in a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time||If convicted, you may be able to participate in a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time|
|If convicted, you may be able to participate in a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time||If selling more than 1 kilogram, you face an additional 3 to 20 years in prison, and a potential fine of $8,000,000||If selling more than 1 kilogram, you face an additional 3 to 20 years in prison, and a potential fine of $8,000,000|
Keep in mind that in addition to jail or heavy fines, there are other serious consequences when convicted of a drug crime: damage to your reputation, loss of employment, and family stress being among the most difficult.
Defending Against Cocaine Charges
The most important thing to remember is that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime they have charged you with. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you put together the best defense possible to in order to get you a fair result. Common defenses to cocaine charges include the following:
Prosecutors are extremely aggressive in drug cases, and so it’s critical that you have a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer fighting for your rights.
In some cases, it may be better to pursue a plea bargain than it is to raise a defense. A plea bargain agreement involves agreeing to plead guilty to the offense in return for the prosecutor recommending the judge impose a lenient sentence. In many cases, a plea bargain can help you avoid jail time or get you into a diversionary program that, if completed successfully, will result in the case against you being dropped.
Contact a California Drug Charges Defense Attorney Today
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges related to the possession or sale of cocaine, you need to consult with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley have the skills and the experience you need. With over 50 years of courtroom experience, we will work tirelessly for you and fight for your rights. Call us at 800-755-5174 or email us today to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles.
Possession of Cocaine (CA. Penal
Code 1203.073) commonly called “coke”, “snow”, “blow” is a controlled substance.
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Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
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Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.