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Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys: Marijuana/Opioid and Prescription Drug Defense

We Help People Accused of Crimes Related to the Possession or Sale of Marijuana and Prescription Drugs

We are living through a time of significant social changes, and our drug laws reflect many of those changes.  Over the years and after much experience, we have come to a better understanding of the effects of various drugs, the potential health risks, and the severity of addiction on a large scale. California, as is often the case, is leading the nation with new, innovative drug policies in response to changing attitudes and new challenges. For example, California’s marijuana laws reflect a growing belief that marijuana should be decriminalized. Another example is California’s efforts to curb prescription opioid abuse in order to fight the opioid addiction epidemic. Accordingly, it’s important to understand these changes in the law and how they affect you.

If you’re facing drug charges related to marijuana or prescription opioids, you need to contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Criminal charges are always serious and can include heavy fines and significant jail time. In addition, a conviction on your record could have a significant impact on your professional and personal future. The California criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley are here to protect your rights and get the result you deserve. To schedule a   free consultation, call us at 800-755-5174 or contact us online.

Legalization of Marijuana

Up until recently, you could only buy marijuana from medical dispensaries with a prescription. Proposition 64 has changed that. Effective January 1, 2018, California legalized the sale and recreational use of marijuana. Adults over the age of 21 can now possess up to one ounce of dried marijuana or eight ounces of concentrated cannabis (also known as hash). You can purchase marijuana only at a licensed shop and can only be sold to people over the age of 21 with a valid government ID.

Growing Marijuana at Home

Californians who are 21 or older are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants per household (not per person), and the plants must be kept out of public view.

Federal Law and Testing

Despite these changes to California law, marijuana remains illegal as Schedule 1 controlled substance under Federal law. In addition, employers can still test for marijuana use and choose not to hire employees who consume marijuana.  To learn more about the intersection between federal and state law and how it can affect you, you should speak to a California criminal defense attorney.

Fighting Prescription Opioid Abuse

For many opioid addicts, their first steps to addiction began with drugs prescribed by their doctor. Because doctors weren’t fully aware of the potential danger, prescription opioids were commonly prescribed even when less powerful drugs would have been sufficient. As a result of education and new restrictions, physicians have reduced the number of opioid painkillers being subscribed to their patients. However, the danger remains, even in cases where the prescription is appropriate.

Assembly member Evan Low from San Jose has recently proposed legislation to help curb the abuse of prescription. The bill is aimed at bolstering the information available to doctors regarding who they are prescribing opioids to and whether they have been “doctor shopping.” By identifying the problem early, the hope is that patients can be saved before they are in the grips of full-blown addiction.

Meanwhile, the Director of the California Public Health Department ordered that the overdose antidote Naloxone be available without a prescription. Lawmakers in California have also considered a tax on prescription opioids in order to fund efforts to contain the crisis.

You Can Still Be Charged with A Crime

Despite the relaxed laws pertaining to marijuana and the sensible measures in place to deal with prescription opioid abuse, you can still be charged with a crime in connection with both of these drugs. It’s critical to understand the law, and if you’re already facing charges, you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer today to protect your legal rights.

Driving Under the Influence

For both prescription drugs and marijuana, it is against the law in California to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. In other words, you cannot be driving a car while impaired, which means that you are unable to operate the vehicle in the same way that you could while sober. Even if you have legally purchased and used marijuana, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence. Similarly, even if you have a valid prescription for an opioid such as OxyContin, you could be charged with DUI if it impairs your ability to drive.

As a side note, it is also against the law to consume marijuana while driving. Using marijuana while sitting in a parked car could potentially lead to drug charges.

Limits on the Use and Purchase of Marijuana

As mentioned above, the purchase, possession, and use of marijuana come with restrictions. Here are some common examples of marijuana use that are in violation of current law:

  • Selling marijuana to your friends - you cannot sell marijuana without a license to do so.
  • Using marijuana in public - consumption is limited to your home or private property.
  • Possession of more than the amount permitted by law.
  • Possession by anyone under the age of 21.

Failure to abide by these restrictions could result in arrest and criminal charges.

Crimes Related to Prescription Opioids

We’ve already discussed how you can be found guilty of DUI if you are driving under the influence of a legally prescribed medication. However, you should also be aware that all prescription medications are considered “controlled substances,” and are therefore illegal to possess without a valid prescription. Similarly, it is illegal to sell or transport for sale any prescription drugs without the proper license. This includes prescription opioids.

In addition to the standard drug charges, California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 makes it illegal to engage in prescription drug fraud. This includes any attempt to purchase or obtain prescription drugs by fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. This section covers actions like forging a doctor’s signature, falsifying medical records, or holding yourself out to be a doctor or other medical professional in order to obtain prescription drugs without a license.

Potential Penalties

Under California law, first-time drug possession charges are often a misdemeanor. That said, even a misdemeanor can carry jail time and fines. DUI charges can be even more serious, and subsequent convictions can bring harsher penalties. If you are charged with the sale of these drugs, you could face multiple years in prison. In addition, it could result in damage to your reputation, loss of employment, and stress on your family.

Contact a Los Angeles Drug Charges Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

The changing landscape with respect to marijuana laws and the opioid epidemic has created a lot of confusion and uncertainty. People who believe they are using their marijuana legally may be inadvertently breaking the law, and wind up with criminal charges filed against them. Meanwhile, prescription opioid users are winding up in the criminal justice system instead of focusing on their health and recovery.

If you or a loved one is facing charges related to marijuana or prescription opioids, you need a lawyer who understands your case, can help you understand your options, and can help you get through this difficult time in your life. The California criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley have over 50 years of courtroom experience and bring their clients aggressive, high-quality representation. Call us at 800-755-5174 or email us today if you would like a free consultation.

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Cocaine

Possession of Cocaine (CA. Penal
Code 1203.073) commonly called “coke”, “snow”, “blow” is a controlled substance.

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Ecstasy

Ecstasy is a popular drug, used commonly by “partygoers”, ecstasy is both a stimulant and hallucinogen that produces…

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Heroin

Heroin (Health and Safety Code 11350 & 11351 HS) is a Schedule 1 drug under the United States Controlled Substances Act.

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Marijuana

California’s Health & Safety Code has many sections that deal with the various offenses related to Marijuana.

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Methamphetamines

Methamphetamines (CA. Health & Safety Code 11377 &11378 HS) are among the most commonly abused drugs in California.

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Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs (Health & Safety Code 11350 and 11351 HS) are illegal to possess without a proper prescription.

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Recent Results

  • 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!

  • Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

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