In California, being arrested for cocaine possession comes with harsh penalties. It happens to be one of the most common drug charges in the state. In one large drug bust, 96 people were arrested at San Diego State for the possession of cocaine and other drugs.
If you find yourself facing charges for the possession of cocaine in California, you need to fight for your freedom. The Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC is ready to take on your case.
When Can You Be Arrested for the Possession of Cocaine in California?
If you’re found with any amount of cocaine in your possession, you will face criminal charges. But you may face charges even if there is no cocaine near you. Any evidence that you had cocaine in your possession is enough for you to be charged with a crime.
California’s cocaine laws are quite strict. While there are no new California drug laws in 2019 that make cocaine possession a harsher offense, the current laws are not in your favor.
As a Schedule II controlled substance, cocaine is illegal to be used unless prescribed by a doctor. However, cocaine is rarely if ever prescribed. On the other hand, crack-cocaine is a Schedule I substance. No doctor can write you a prescription for the drug, as it has no approved use in the medical community.
Penalties for Cocaine Possession
The penalty for a cocaine possession conviction depends on the amount of drug you have in your possession. If you only have a small amount, you’ll likely face basic possession charges. The only exception is for those who have a small amount of cocaine but evidence shows that you planned to sell it.
If you have a large quantity of the drug, the amount implies that you wanted to sell it. In this case, you would be charged with the intent to sell. There doesn’t need to be any firm evidence that you were going to sell the drug; the quantity is enough.
Whatever your charges may be, the outcome can ruin your life. You could do jail time, lose your job, and be refused professional licenses. Long after you serve your time, your conviction will haunt you.
Simple Possession vs Possession for Sale
If you’re charged with simple possession, the police believe you had the cocaine for your own personal use. You had no intent to give it or sell it to someone else. Therefore, the crime is considered to be a misdemeanor. As such, you face a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Depending on the circumstances of your case, an attorney may be able to convince the court to exchange jail time for a drug diversion program.
That said, a simple possession charge could become a felony if you have a prior conviction. In this case, the penalty is more severe. You could serve up to three years in jail.
Possession for Sale
As you might expect, the court takes possession for sale more seriously. If the prosecutor believes you intended to sell, give away, or transfer the drug, you could spend as many as four years in jail. Typically, the length of your sentence depends on the amount of cocaine in your possession. The greater the quantity, the longer the sentence.
Unlike simple possession, possession for sale sentences cannot be exchanged for a drug diversion program. But your lawyer may be able to convince the court to offer probation in lieu of jail time. In certain situations, your attorney may be able to get your charges lessened from possession for sale to simple possession.
What Can an Attorney Do for You?
As someone who is accused of a crime, you have a right to a lawyer. However, not all lawyers have experience with possession charges. To get the best possible results, you should only work with someone who has handled a case similar to yours. This ensures that they are familiar with the state’s laws and know how to defend you.
There are many defenses to cocaine possession. For instance, the cocaine could have been obtained in an illegal search or seizure. If the police violated your rights with an unlawful search, the evidence against you will be thrown out. A violation can occur because the police didn’t have a warrant or they discovered evidence that was not under the scope of the warrant.
Another potential defense is entrapment. If the police coerced you to buy or possess cocaine and you wouldn’t have done it on your own volition, you may be a victim of entrapment. The police would have no case against you.
To find out if there’s a legal strategy that can help you, call the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC. An experienced criminal defense attorney is waiting to explain your options. They will listen to the details of your case and create a sound strategy. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call today.