Drug Crimes FAQ

Drug Possession & Sales FAQs in Los Angeles

Are the penalties for all illegal drugs the same?

No. Penalties for drug crimes vary depending upon the drugs involved. Illegal substances are broken down into different classifications, which determine how they are handled by the law. Crimes involving heroin and cocaine, for example, receive different penalties than those involving marijuana. Additionally, the type and amount of the drug can / will influence potential penalties. Manufacturing or distributing a drug, for instance, can lead to heavier penalties than simply possessing it. If law enforcement suspects – and is able to prove – that you intended to sell the drug, you could face more serious penalties than if you were found to simply have it in your possession.

Can I be charged with possessing drug paraphernalia for legal household items?

Yes. Certain everyday household items can be used as drug paraphernalia, so you can be charged with possession. However, the prosecution will have to prove that the items in question were used for illegal drug consumption.

If I Am Caught With an Illegal Drug, but I Didn’t Actually Use It, Can I Still Be Charged With Anything?

Yes. As long as you are caught with a controlled substance, you can be charged with possession, regardless of whether you used any amount.

If Am I Charged With Drug Possession, Do I Automatically Go to Jail?

No. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid jail time by completing drug rehabilitation / treatment instead.

If I Am Caught With a Legal Prescription Medication, Can I Be Charged With Drug Possession?

Yes. If you are caught with certain medications, such as Vicodin, codeine and others, and you don’t have a prescription for these medicines, you can be charged with possession.

What Does DEJ Mean?

DEJ stands for “Deferred Entry of Judgment.” This is a legislative program for first-time drug offenders that allows for a drug possession case to be dismissed without the defendant ever having to plead guilty. A defendant in the DEJ program must complete a drug program and then not pick up any new charges for a specified period of time. Once that time has passed, the case is then dismissed. The lawyers at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP can determine for you if you are eligible for DEJ and, if so, what precisely you need to do to successfully complete the program and get your case dismissed.

What Is Proposition 36?

Proposition 36 is a legislative program set up to help drug offenders receive education and treatment instead of jail. Proposition 36 requires a qualified defendant to plead guilty and then complete a drug program. Once the drug program is successfully completed, the person becomes eligible to have their case dismissed. Proposition 36 is often a good option for drug offenders that are not eligible for the DEJ program. The lawyers at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP can determine for you if you are eligible for Proposition 36 and if so what precisely you need to do to successfully complete the program and get your case dismissed.

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