Defenses are available! Do not roll over and plea.
Let me tell your story, stand up to the government and fight your case.
Whether you're charged with drug trafficking or simple possession of a controlled substance, I can help you fight the charges and, if necessary, secure an effective drug treatment program.
Common Riverside County drug charges include:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (Health & Safety Code § 11350);
- Possession of Narcotics for Sale (Health & Safety Code § 11351);
- Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance (Health & Safety Code § 11352);
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Health & Safety Code § 11364); and
- Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance (Health & Safety Code § 11550).
There are many defenses available to someone charges with a drug crime in Riverside County. Most importantly, an experienced Riverside County criminal defense attorney will look at your case to ensure that the police did not violate your Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution during the incident. Additionally, an experienced Riverside County criminal defense attorney can determine if any entrapment occurred, whether the police relied on an unreliable snitch in obtaining a search warrant or searching a vehicle, and whether a search warrant is lawful.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Banning, Corona or Riverside, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call me or use the contact form below for a free case evaluation.
Marijuana is harmless and has numerous health benefits. Regardless, our Federal Government has kept marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. However, possession, cultivation, and/or transportation of medical marijuana in California is not illegal for qualified patients and primary caregivers.
If you are facing any marijuana related charge, contact me to ensure that your right to possess and cultivate medical marijuana is upheld. Below is a summary of California's medical marijuana laws.
I. The Compassionate Use Act
In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215 and adopted the Compassionate Use Act ("CUA"). The CUA is codified in Health & Safety Code ("H&S") §§ 11362.5, et seq. H&S § 11362.5 provides that H&S §§ 11357 (possession of marijuana) and 11358 (cultivation of marijuana), do not apply to a patient, or to a patient's primary caregiver, so long as the patient possesses or cultivates marijuana for personal medical purposes upon the written or oral recommendation of a physician.
B. Affirmative Defense to Prosecution for Possession and Cultivation
The CUA provides patients and primary caregivers with an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession and cultivation of marijuana. The Trippett Court subsequently expanded the scope of the CUA to provide an affirmative defense to transportation of marijuana where the transportation is reasonably related to the medical needs of the patient.
The CUA provides patients and primary caregivers with an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana. However, the CUA does not grant immunity from arrest. As such, if a law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that possession, cultivation, or transportation of marijuana has or is occurring, they may arrest that person for the applicable crime(s) regardless of the person's status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver. After arrest (and potentially before charges are filed), a patient or primary caregiver may present evidence of their status as a qualified patient in order to have charges dismissed.
C. Quantity Limitations
Following the adoption of the CUA, counties across California began setting quantity limitations on the amount of marijuana a qualified patient or primary caregiver could possess and/or cultivate. However, in the seminal People v. Kelly case, the California Supreme Court ruled that such restrictions unconstitutionally amended the CUA, and are therefore unenforceable. As such, the only possession and cultivation limitation applicable to patients and primary caregivers is that stated in Kelly, which is an amount that is reasonably related to the patient's medical needs.
II. The Medical Marijuana Program Act
In 2003, the California Legislature enacted Senate Bill 420 ("SB420"), entitled the "Medical Marijuana Program Act" ("MMP"). The MMP adds new code sections to 11362.5, et seq., and address issues not covered by the CUA.
B. Voluntary Identification Card Program
The MMP establishes a voluntary identification card program. The identification program provides patients and primary caregivers who possess an identification card with protection from arrest for the crimes of possession, cultivation, or transportation of marijuana, in addition to any "related crimes."
The MMP's identification card program is voluntary. Individuals who decide not to participate in the program are still entitled to the affirmative defenses established by the CUA in addition to other affirmative defenses established by the MMP. However, individuals who decide not to participate in the program do not have protection against arrest. Further, individuals who participate in the program but have otherwise violated the provisions of the MMP are subject to arrest.
C. Quantity Limitations
The MMP sought to establish quantity limitations for qualified patients and primary caregivers (eight ounces of dried marijuana/no more than six mature or twelve immature plants.) However, in Kelly, the Court held that such restrictions were unenforceable. Accordingly, the only limit on the amount of marijuana a patient or primary caregiver may possess, cultivate, and/or transport is the amount that is reasonably related to a patient's medical needs.
D. Collectives & Cooperatives
The MMP added H&S § 11362.775, which provides:
Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients and persons with identification cards, who associate within the State of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions under Section 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11366, 11366.5, or 11570.
This section of the MMP provides patients who collectively or cooperatively cultivate marijuana with an affirmative defense upon a showing that the members of the collective or cooperative: (1) are qualified patients who have been prescribed marijuana for medical purposes; (2) have collectively associated to cultivate marijuana; and (3) are not engaged in a for-profit business.
The CUA and MMP do not define collective or cooperative. The California Attorney General published guidelines for collectives and cooperatives. The guidelines are available here.
If you or a loved one need a medical marijuana attorney in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Banning, Corona or Riverside, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call me or use the contact form for a free case evaluation.
Riverside County Drug Diversion and Drug Court
Penal Code § 1000 allows individuals accused of certain drug offenses to enter a drug diversion program, wherein they are "diverted" out of the criminal court system and into a drug rehabilitation program. The diversion program typically involves the accused entering a plea of guilty to the charge, entering a drug rehabilitation program, and, upon successful completion of the drug rehabilitation program, the court will dismiss the charge completely.
In deciding whether an individual is eligible for drug diversion in Riverside County, a judge and prosecutor look at: (1) whether the defendant is charged with an offense specified in Penal Code § 1000; and (2) the defendant's social history.
Eligible Charged Offenses for Drug Diversion in Riverside County
Typically, the charge must involve personally possessing or using drugs, and not possessing them for sale or actually selling them, and the crime must not involve any allegations of violence or threatened violence. Offenses that typically qualify an individual for drug diversion in Riverside County are:
- Health & Safety Code (HS) § 11377 (possession of controlled substance);
- HS § 11357 (possession < 28.5g marijuana);
- HS § 11358 (if cultivating for personal use);
- HS § 11364 (possession of drug paraphernalia);
- HS § 11365 (knowingly being present in a place of drug use);
- HS § 11550 (under the influence of a controlled substance);
- HS § 11368 (forging or presenting a forged prescription to obtain drugs - if for personal use);
- Vehicle Code § 23222(b) (driving while in possession of marijuana);
- Penal Code § 647(f) (drunk in public - if under the influence of drugs or drugs and alcohol);
- Penal Code § 653f(d) (soliciting drug sales - if for personal use).
Social History Eligibility for Drug Diversion in Riverside County
In addition to being accused of one of the above offenses, an individual must not: (1) have any prior drug-related convictions; (2) have probation or parole revoked without completing terms and conditions; (3) have participated in a drug diversion or DEJ program within five years prior to the alleged commission of the charged offense; and (4) have any prior felony convictions within five years prior to the alleged commission of the charged offense.
Riverside County Drug Court Program
Pursuant to Penal Code § 1005, individuals accused of the above specified drug crimes may participate in the Riverside County drug court program. The drug court program is identical to the diversion program, except that individuals are not required to enter a plea of guilty before entering the treatment program.
Both programs offer significant advantages for individuals accused of drug crimes. Most importantly, drug court and/or drug diversion allow individuals to avoid a conviction for drug offenses, that can result in significant consequences. However, the drug rehabilitation programs are serious, and require participants to submit to regular urine screenings. These programs make the most sense for individuals with an actual substance abuse problem, and a desire to stop using. In such circumstances, drug court and diversion can change lives.
If you or loved one are facing a drug charge in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Banning, Corona or Riverside, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you would like to discuss entering a drug diversion program or drug court, call me or use the contact form below for a free case evaluation.