The Legal Landscape of Drug Offenses in San Diego: What You Need to Know

Facts You Must Know About Being Charged With Drug Crimes in San Diego.

If you’re charged with a drug crime in San Diego, it is usually a horrifying experience, as the drug crime penalties are extremely harsh and possibly life-changing.

Additionally, the state prosecutors, in most cases, always try to get the maximum penalty the California state law allows.

One of the facts that affects this dire legal stance is that San Diego is very close to the border, and this geographical fact influences the courts to take a significantly more rigid view when drug crimes are involved.

The District Attorney’s Office considers many factors when determining what they will charge you with, such as the type of drug you were holding, the amount you had, and whether you were using, distributing, or manufacturing the drugs.

Many drug crimes are “wobblers,” so the D.A. has legal latitude when charging you with a felony or misdemeanor. Unfortunately, using this latitude in their decision-making, the San Diego prosecutor will often try their best to move you to a felony drug charge.

Also, unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of data available about specific drug crime statistics in San Diego. However, the number of drug cases is increasing due to the city’s harsh stance on drugs. So, generally, more than 16% of all arrests can be attributed to drug crimes.

You must note, however, that the severity and repercussions of drug crime convictions in San Diego can vary significantly. If you find yourself charged with a drug crime and entangled in the criminal justice system, you could be confronting felony or misdemeanor charges (or possibly both). These charges will be tied explicitly to drug types such as crack cocaine, methamphetamines (or crystal meth), specific prescription drugs, heroin, ecstasy, and more.

Also, the legal complexity of these drug cases, even if you are a first-time offender, can escalate if they involve federal drug charges or the addition of a DUI or weapons charge.

The penalties you may receive from a drug crime conviction in San Diego can also span a broad spectrum, from having your case dismissed, having you enter a drug rehabilitation program, or going to county jail or prison.

So, due to the aggressive prosecution of San Diego drug crime and the variability of the outcome of your charges, you must immediately obtain the vigorous, knowledgeable, and aggressive help of a San Diego drug crimes lawyer.

The faster you act, the sooner your lawyer can promptly initiate negotiations with the prosecution, possibly minimizing or potentially nullifying the dire repercussions of drug-related criminal charges in San Diego.

Can I Go To Jail If I’m a First-Time Offender?

As stated, San Diego’s drug penalties are severe, and so is the prosecution of any drug crime in the city or most of the state of California. However, many variables are involved in determining how long you go to jail for simple drug possession.

That said, even first-time misdemeanor drug possession charges are usually punishable by one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Some of the many variables that you will encounter that will determine how long you go to jail for possession in San Diego include:

  • If you are charged with “simple possession” or a more dire charge.
  • If you are charged with “possession for sale.”
  • The type of drug that you were holding.
  • The amount of the drug in your possession at the time of your arrest.
  • The reason you had possession of the drug in question.
  • Was this your first offense, or have you had others?
  • Whether you have a past criminal history.

Due to all the variables involved, in most cases, the main thing that will help determine how dire your penalties are and how long you will spend in jail is the quality, experience, and winning history of your San Diego drug crimes lawyer. Your lawyer will immediately analyze your case’s aspects and always attempt to “get ahead” of the prosecution. Doing this gives them the best chance of significantly reducing your charges and penalties.  

What Are Some Examples of Various Drug Charges in San Diego?

Although the state prosecutors will determine your specific charges, your well-versed San Diego drug crimes lawyer is the only one who will explain their intricacies and possible arguments about your crime. Drug crimes in San Diego cover a myriad of infractions; some of the more common ones are:

  • Drug PossessionThis category mainly criminalizes the possession of narcotics like cocaine, crack, and heroin. Still, it can also include prescription drugs such as Vicodin or Codeine (if you don’t have a current prescription. These charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies or even  “wobblers.”
  •  Possession with Intent to Sell California’s Health and Safety Code 11351 outlines most all of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and makes it illegal to possess these drugs with the intent to sell or distribute them. Almost always, these charges are felonies and impose much more dire penalties.
  • Drug Trafficking or Distribution – This crime refers to the transportation or importation of drugs into the state, resulting in a felony charge. You need not actually possess these drugs but still can face a trafficking or distribution charge if they’re found in your car, suitcase, etc.

These are only a few of the drug crime charges you may face; however, always note that the prosecution has the burden of proof in any drug crime case and must prove the intent of your charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Your skilled drug crimes lawyer will use this fact as strongly as possible in your defense.

What Are “Diversion Programs for Drug Crimes, and Can They Help Me?

If you get your San Diego drug crimes lawyer involved quickly, they may be able to negotiate and get you into these programs, even before your criminal case begins. These “diversion programs” cannot be used for all drug crimes, but you must discuss this option with your lawyer as soon as possible. It’s not easy to divert from court requirements, but it can be done with the help of an experienced, skilled drug crimes lawyer.

If you enter a program, you must complete an individual assessment to evaluate your drug or alcohol use. Then, you will be assigned an individualized treatment plan.

The last phase of any diversion program is an exit interview, where you will be given proof of completion to present to the court, and your case may be dismissed entirely. Just note that diversion programs cannot be used in every case, but if your lawyer can implement them, you can possibly avoid all penalties and even a criminal record.

I Have Been Charged With a Drug Offense in San Diego; What Should I Do?

It’s critical to note that if you’re charged with a drug offense in San Diego, you are in dire trouble and need the help of a skilled, experienced San Diego drug crimes lawyer immediately.

If you do nothing or don’t act quickly enough, you are at a very high risk of losing your freedom and job and have a felony conviction on your record for life.  

The drug crimes lawyers at the Kersey Law Firm have a long and winning history of assisting San Diego clients who have been charged with drug crimes.

Call them immediately at (619) 432-3712 and get a free consultation on your case and its specifics today. Don’t hesitate to take the chance of devastating your life; they are ready to begin your defense.

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