Santa Clara County Drug Possession Defense Attorney
Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer Serving Clients in San Jose and Oakland
In the state of California, the possession of drugs is considered a very serious matter. Even the smallest amount of an illegal or illicit substance can lead to significant consequences to an individual’s life. The specific penalties, however, are entirely dependent on the type of drug, the amount of the drug involved, and the possessor’s intent.
If you have been charged with drug possession, or possession with the intent to sell or distribute, you want a lawyer with drug crime defense experience. Attorney Nick Cvietkovich has handled thousands of cases in his career, working with hundreds of clients charged with different types of drug possession offense.
Types of Drug Charges
Under California law, two of the most common drug-related charges are the possession of a controlled substance and the possession for sale (or distribution) or a controlled substance. Each offense carries severe potential penalties based on the circumstances of the case and the specific substance involved. It is important to work with a lawyer who has significant experience handling drug crimes charges for clients and who understands the law regarding these issues.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Illegal possession of a drug can include substances such as marijuana, crack/cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, as well as certain pharmaceutical drugs without a valid prescription. A conviction of drug possession hinges on three separate factors:
- Actual or constructive possession: The substance was found on an individual’s person (actual possession) or in a place under the control of an individual such as a house or car (constructive possession);
- Knowledge: The individual was fully aware of two things:
- The presence of the drug on his or her person, or in his or her home, car, etc.; and
- The status of the substance as a controlled substance; and
- Quantity for use: The amount possessed was a large enough quantity for the person to use rather than just traces of the drug found on the person.
The absence of any of these criteria can greatly contribute to your defense, and Mr. Cveitkovich understands this well. He also recognizes the importance of law enforcement following proper search and seizure procedures, as any impropriety can lead to the dismissal of all charges.
Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance
There is no statutory provision in California law to identify a particular amount of a controlled substance that automatically qualifies for prosecution regarding intent to sell. Instead, the circumstantial considerations of the case can lead to such charges. In addition to the criteria justifying drug possession charges, intent to sell or deliver can be demonstrated in a number of ways, including:
- Quantity: A significant amount of the substance may indicate that it is intended for more than personal use;
- Distribution paraphernalia: The presence of portion bags, bundles, scales, or the drugs being stored in easily-sold packaging may also lead to charges for intent to sell;
- Cash: Large amounts of cash, particularly smaller denominations may work against an individual’s case; and
- High volume of visitors: When neighbors or witnesses report large numbers of people stopping at an individual’s house or apartment, especially those who do not stay long, prosecutors may seek intent to deliver charges.
As with charges of drug possession, possession for sale charges carry penalties dependent on the drug involved and another variables. However, the least serious charge of intent to deliver is still a felony, punishable by probation and jail time of up to four years.
Defending California Drug Possession Charges
If you have been charged with drug possession with or without the intent to sell, the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich can help. You cannot afford to wait. Contact us at (408) 898-9653 to schedule your free consultation today.