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Los Angeles Methamphetamine Defense Lawyers

If You’ve Been Charged with a Crime Related to Meth, You Need to Retain an Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately

Although opioids have the news media’s full attention, methamphetamine remains a problem in many California communities. Highly addictive with a brief high, users can quickly fall into a cycle of binging and withdrawing. Meth can be smoked, snorted, taken as a pill, and even injected.  Long-term use can have shocking effects on the user’s health.

Unfortunately, the criminal justice system does sometimes charge innocent people with drug violations. Other times, overeager prosecutors who have been mandated to “get tough on crime” overcharge people with more serious crimes and heavier penalties than they deserve. Addicts and users who get convicted wind up spending time in jail rather than getting the treatment they need to get their lives back on the right track.

The experienced California criminal defense lawyers of Law Offices of David Chesley helps Californians facing meth charges navigate the justice system in order to get a fair result. 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 Meth

California Health and Safety Code Section 11377 makes it unlawful to possess any controlled substance without a prescription, which includes methamphetamines. Although more effective drugs are now available on the market, methamphetamines can be prescribed to treat ADD or obesity, but it is fairly rare. As a result, the legal possession of meth is not very common.

In order to convict a defendant for possession of meth, the prosecution must prove the following:

  • That you actually or constructively possessed meth;
  • That you knew you possessed the meth;
  • That you knew it was a controlled substance (i.e., knew it was an illegal drug);
  • That it was a usable amount - not just residue or traces.

It’s important to understand that the prosecution has to prove each of the elements listed above - it’s not enough for them to charge you.  As a result, we should discuss each of these elements in some detail. For more information or to discuss your case specifically, you should call our office today to speak to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles.

Possession. Under California law, there are three ways that you can possess a controlled substance:

  1. Actual possession: the meth was on your person, such as in your pocket or your wallet;
  2. Constructive possession: you controlled the area or location where the meth was found, such as in your home or your car;
  3. Joint possession: you shared either actual or constructive possession with one or more other people.

If the prosecution can prove that you had meth in your actual or constructive possession, then he or she has met the first element of the possession charge.

Knowledge. The prosecutor also has to prove that you (i) knew you were in possession of the meth, (ii) that you knew what it was, and (iii) that you at knew it was a controlled substance.  It seems obvious that you can’t be convicted of possession if you didn’t know you had meth. However, you need to keep in mind that law enforcement or the prosecution won’t take your word for it - they will try to prove that you knew you had meth or that you knew what it was by using circumstantial evidence. For example, let’s say that your cousin leaves meth in your car and you didn’t know about it. The prosecution may try to use your behavior to prove that you knew you had it and what it was - the fact that you tried to get rid of it, or that you weren’t willing to let the police search your car without a warrant.

Amount. In order to convict you for possession, you have to have been in possession of a usable amount - not just residue or some traces of meth. However, and this is an important distinction, it does not need to be enough to get you high. It just needs to be enough to use as a drug. Remember, any possession offense is a serious matter, so no matter how much the police found, you should call a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case.

Possession of Meth for Sale 

Possession of meth as described above for personal use is known as “simple possession.”  California has a separate, more serious crime for possession of meth for sale. In order to be convicted of possession of meth for sale, the prosecution has to prove all the elements of simple possession, but also that you had enough of it to sell and that you had the intent to sell it. Some of the factors the prosecution may look to is the amount of meth you had, whether it was divided into individual portions, or whether you had other equipment (such as a scale) used in the sale of meth.

Transportation of Meth

California law also makes transportation of meth for sale a separate crime, to include any time someone “transports, imports...sells, furnishes, administers, or gives away, or offers to transport, import...sell, furnish….” As you can see, transportation charges can cover a very broad spectrum of activities, which makes it easy for prosecutors to bring additional charges against defendants.

Penalties

Below is a summary of the penalties you may face if charged with possession, sale, or transportation of meth.

Simple PossessionPossession for SaleTransportation of Meth
Typically charged as a misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.Felony charge punishable by 16 months, two years, or three years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000Felony charge with 2, 3, or 4 years in prison
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 yearsAdditional jail time (1 year) if you were selling within 1,000 feet of a drug treatment center, a detox facility, or a homeless shelterMay face 3, 6, or 9 years for transporting meth for sale across two counties
Additional jail time (3 to 15 years) if you possessed more than 1 kg of meth
Additional jail time (3,6, or 9 years) if you used a minor in the commission of your crime

Defending Against Meth Charges

Because meth use is such a serious problem, law enforcement and prosecutors are aggressive in bringing cases against suspected users and dealers. This leads to accusing people of crimes they didn’t commit, or charging people with crimes that the prosecution can’t prove. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can spot these cases and raise the following defenses:

  • The defendant’s constitutional rights were violated as a result of an illegal search and seizure;
  • The defendant did not have knowledge that he was in possession of meth or that it was meth or a controlled substance;
  • The defendant was in possession of only trace amounts;
  • For charges involving the sale of meth, the prosecution's evidence does not prove that you intended to sell the meth;
  • For charges involving transportation, the prosecution’s evidence does not prove that you transported or offered to transport meth for sale or distribution.

Finally, keep in mind that the prosecution has to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a higher standard of proof than is required in a civil trial.

Contact a California Drug Charge Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one is facing any charges relating to the use of meth or any other drug, the outcome of your case could have severe consequences for your future. In addition to a public drug conviction and possible jail time, it will affect your reputation and could even make it difficult to get a job. By hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, you are giving yourself the best possible chance at a brighter future.

The California criminal defense 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 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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