Santa Barbara Drug Crime Lawyer
If you have been arrested for drug possession or the sale of drugs in Santa Barbara, you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Choose carefully because the attorney you select can have a significant effect on the outcome of your case. Our attorneys are former prosecutors who know California's drug laws from both sides. We have successfully represented thousands of people charged with drug possession and other criminal offenses throughout Southern California. Our founding attorney, Steven Andrade, has been recognized as by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer.
Whether you were arrested for simple drug possession or a felony such as possession for sale of narcotics, our attorneys can apply their over 40 years of combined experience to analyze the evidence, identify the weaknesses and police missteps in the case, and develop a strategy to fight for your rights. We are here to help you.
California Drug Possession Charges
In California, it is a misdemeanor to possess for personal use illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and GHB, as well as prescription narcotics without a lawful prescription. It is also a misdemeanor to possess drug paraphernalia such as a bong, a drug pipe, needles, or other devices.
In our experience, most non-violent individuals charged with drug offenses would benefit much more from drug treatment and counseling than from jail time. Fortunately, California's view of drug possession is moderating and simple possession is a misdemeanor. When appropriate, our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys can work to find a suitable drug treatment program or other alternative options for a client to defer a court judgment and avoid incarceration. Any drug arrest should be taken seriously to protect your freedom.
Drug Possession for Sale Charges in Santa Barbara, CA
California law draws a big distinction between simple drug possession and possession for sale. It is a felony to possess illicit drugs with the intent of selling them, and a conviction of drug trafficking may net years in prison. Unfortunately, some individuals who have drugs for personal use get wrongly charged with possession for sale.
Among the factors that police use to determine whether an individual intends to traffic drugs are:
- The quantity of drugs
- The way the drugs are packaged
- The presence of measuring devices
- The presence of large amounts of cash
- The presence of client lists or transactions
Each case involving drug trafficking has its own specific set of facts that dictate the best defense strategy. In some cases, Andrade Law Offices may be able to file a successful motion to dismiss the charges if we can prove the police have executed an illegal search and seizure or made an unlawful arrest.
Proposition 47, a ballot initiative approved by California voters in 2014, changed certain low level crimes such as simple drug possession from potential felonies to a misdemeanors. Proposition 47 applies to both individuals who are currently serving time for felony drug possession and to people with old convictions who are no longer in the justice system.
If you have recently been charged with felony drug possession or if you are currently serving time for a drug possession conviction, it may be possible to petition the court to have the charge reduced to misdemeanor. If you have an old conviction of a drug offense, it may be possible to have it removed from your record with the help of an attorney. According to MyProp47.org, one million Californians may be eligible for relief from the law.
Resentencing Under Proposition 47
Proposition 47 offers an invaluable opportunity to thousands of people who have felony drug convictions on their record. It allows people currently serving time, on parole, or on probation for conviction of felony personal drug possession to request to have their convictions reclassified as misdemeanors and their sentences reduced to time served. Tens of thousands of people in county jails, on probation, in work release programs, and in post-release community supervision, as well as nearly 5000 people in prison, may be eligible for resentencing, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The resentencing process varies from county to county, but typically involves a court hearing. You will want to have a Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer representing you and presenting your petition for resentencing.
Record Changes Under Proposition 47
An old felony conviction on your record can make it more difficult for you to get a job, qualify for a student loan, receive child custody, or obtain certain kinds of professional licenses. Proposition 47 makes it possible in many cases to have a prior felony drug conviction reclassified as a misdemeanor and have the felony purged from your record, no matter how long ago it occurred. The process typically does not require a hearing and can be handled administratively. It is important to work with a knowledgeable lawyer to assist in the process.
You may be eligible to have a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor if you were convicted in a California court of:
- Simple drug possession
- Possession of methamphetamine
- Possession of controlled substance
- Possession of concentrated cannabis
Having an old felony conviction removed from your record can mean that you no longer have to carry the burden of explaining an old drug conviction each time you apply for a new job. People who are eligible for resentencing or reclassification of their records under Proposition 47 have until November 5, 2017 to file a petition with the court seeking the change.
As your legal representative, Andrade Law Offices will get a copy of your criminal record, obtain the appropriate reclassification forms from superior court where you were convicted, or work through the California Department of Justice if you have eligible convictions in multiple California courts. We will handle the paperwork.
We will put together a reclassification document packet and submit it to the appropriate court. The courts require a separate packet for each conviction that is submitted for reclassification.
Any arrest on drug charges should be taken seriously because the charges have the potential to affect your individual freedom and your family's financial stability. We offer a free consultation to prospective clients facing drug charges. We also offer a payment plan for the convenience of our clients.
Call a Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney at Andrade Law Offices at (805) 962.4944 today.