January 26, 2011

Using, Buying or Selling a Prescription Drug like Codeine may be a Crime in California

That’s right. California drug crimes are not exclusive to using, buying or selling illegal “street” drugs. Engaging in any of these activities with certain prescription drugs will also subject you to criminal prosecution. And even though it is the most prescribed drug in the world, California law prohibits a variety of codeine-related drug offenses.

Under California law, if you possess or use codeine in strict accordance with a valid prescription issued by one licensed doctor (as opposed to having more than one prescription that you illegally obtained from multiple doctors without each other’s knowledge), you will probably not face drug charges in connection with your possession and/or use of codeine.

However, if you possess or use more than the prescribed amount, you could face California charges for illegal possession of codeine, possession of codeine for sale and/or being under the influence of codeine. And if you sell, transport or give away codeine to another person, you could face more serious charges for violating California’s law against selling or transporting the drug.

Driving under the influence of codeine is also a crime in California. With respect to this offense, it doesn’t matter whether your use is consistent with a valid prescription or not. If the codeine has affected your ability to drive a car in the same manner as a sober person, you could face charges for DUI.

If you have been arrested for any California codeine-related offense, you should immediately speak with an experienced California drug crimes defense attorney.

January 24, 2011

Understanding the Difference Between Being Under the Influence of Heroin and Driving Under the Influence of Heroin under California Law

California law prohibits a variety of heroin-related offenses. Two of these that may cause some confusion include California’s law against being under the influence of heroin and driving under the influence of heroin.

According to California law, you are under the influence of heroin when your physical and/or mental abilities are impaired in "any detectable manner". It isn’t necessary that you misbehave or engage in any other criminal activity. Simply being under the influence of heroin is a crime in and of itself.

You violate California’s law against driving under the influence of heroin when you drive a car after using heroin when the drug has "so far affected the nervous system, the brain, or muscles as to impair to an appreciable degree your ability to operate a vehicle in a manner like that of an ordinarily prudent and cautious person in full possession of his faculties”.

This means that driving under the influence requires a higher level of intoxication than being under the influence. So even if you are caught driving when the officer suspects you are under the influence of heroin, the prosecutor could opt to charge you with being under the influence, since that is an easier charge to prove.

A charge of being under the influence of heroin also potentially allows you the opportunity to participate in a California drug diversion program whereas a driving under the influence charge does not.

January 21, 2011

The Many Charges You May Face for a California GHB-Related Offense

Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid, more commonly referred to as GHB, is…for the most part...an illegal drug. It’s only legitimate medical use is for patients who suffer from narcolepsy (that is, excessive daytime sleepiness). If you are one of these patients, hold a valid prescription for the drug and only use it in strict accordance with that prescription, you should not face charges for possessing, using or being under the influence of this drug. But if you do not meet this criteria, you could face a variety of California GHB-related charges for any offense connected to this powerful drug.

This means that if you possess, use, sell, or drive under the influence of GHB, you will face prosecution under at least one of California’s GHB-related laws. And, if California prosecutors can prove that you not only possessed GHB, but used it as a “date rape” drug…a fairly common phenomenon…you could face attempted rape charges as well. If prosecutors can prove that you not only “slipped” GHB into someone’s drink but actually had sex with that individual once he/she was too incapacitated to consent, you could additionally face rape charges.

As you can see, any activity connected to an illegal controlled substance such as GHB can trigger a variety of charges that carry severe penalties. The flip side is that many California GHB-related charges are filed against innocent people. Should you find yourself charged with a California GHB-related crime, immediately consult with an experienced California drug crimes defense attorney.

January 18, 2011

California Ecstasy Charges May be the Least of Your Problems

Common California ecstasy-related charges include charges for possessing ecstasy…commonly referred to as “E”, “X” and “XTC”…possessing ecstasy for sale, selling or transporting ecstasy, being under the influence of ecstasy and driving under the influence of ecstasy.

These charges are serious, make no mistake about it. Some are misdemeanors, subjecting you to jail time, and some are felonies, subjecting you to state prison time as well as substantial fines. If you are convicted of a personal possession of ecstasy charge…or are convicted of such a charge as a result of a negotiated plea bargain…you may be eligible to participate in California drug diversion in lieu of incarceration.

But none of these penalties are as serious as the physical repercussions that can result from using this drug. One of the most common side effects of ecstasy is severe dehydration or heatstroke. This is because users of ecstasy use the drug when they are dancing at raves, clubs or concerts. They dance for prolonged periods of time and fail to replenish their body fluids. As a result, the dehydration and heatstroke can lead to organ failure, comas and ultimately death.

The bottom line is that we’re here to help when it comes to defending against your California ecstasy charges. But, please, do be careful…

January 17, 2011

Possession of Ketamine in California Often Involves Additional Charges

Ketamine is an illegal controlled substance. This means that its possession and use is strictly limited and regulated. However, ketamine is extremely popular as a “club drug” which means that it is frequently used by people attending concerts, raves, and other similar venues because of its psychedelic effects. But because ketamine is illegal, in order to obtain the drug, people must do so illegally. As a result, possessing and/or selling ketamine in California often involves being charged with additional offenses.

For example, possessing ketamine in order to sell it can lead to “possession for sales charges”. Actually selling…or even giving…ketamine to another person subjects you to more serious sales charges. Obtaining ketamine…which, by the way, is an animal tranquilizer…is typically achieved by stealing it from veterinarian offices. This subjects you to potential burglary and theft charges.

Fortunately, there are legal defenses to all California ketamine-related charges that a skilled California drug crimes defense attorney can present on your behalf. If you find yourself charged with possessing and/or selling ketamine in California…or of any additional ketamine-related offenses…be sure to consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

January 14, 2011

Gary Busey Set Up By the Press in a Bogus California DUI Bust

When the cops pulled actor Gary Busey over yesterday on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, they expected to find him drunk behind the wheel. After all, they received a tip from a couple who saw Busey driving erratically in his Mercedes.

Turns out Busey was perfectly sober, set up by the couple who followed the officers to the stop location who then got out of their car in order to take photos of the scene. When the police asked them to stop taking pictures, they refused, stating that they were members of the press.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department then arrested the couple for obstructing a peace officer in the performance of his/her duties. And they also charged one of the individuals with possession of marijuana.

Here’s an actual tip – before you try to bust someone else for a crime, you might want to make sure you’re not committing one yourself!

January 5, 2011

Scripps Research Institute Researching Possible Vaccine to Repress Cocaine Cravings

The National Institute of Drug Abuse is funding a study where scientists from Scripps Research Institute in California (as well as Cornell Medical College) are testing a vaccine that could possibly curb cravings for cocaine. They administered mice with a viral cocktail that mimics cocaine, which resulted in the mice sustaining an enduring anti-cocaine immunity. The drug has yet to be tested on humans, but scientists speculate that it could help people beat their cocaine addictions.

Cocaine is a heavily abused controlled substance in both California and Nevada. Nevada receives cocaine primarily through ground transportation from California. Penalties for violating Nevada cocaine possession law are potentially even harsher than cocaine possession in California.

Nevada cocaine possession law makes it a category E felony to possess cocaine for personal use. Possible penalties for violating Nevada cocaine possession law include one-to-four years in prison, whereas the maximum time is three years in California. However, both California and Nevada courts usually allow first-timers to complete a drug diversion program in lieu of prison.

For more on this story go to: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/212870.php

January 5, 2011

New California Laws for 2011

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed more than 730 bills into law last year, most of which went into effect on January 1st. So while we’re not going to provide you with a list of the 730+, we will briefly summarize some of the most noteworthy that affect California criminal law.

Regarding marijuana

  • Despite the fact that California voters recently declined to legalize marijuana, a new law reduces the crime of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Violations will not become a part of the defendant’s criminal record.

  • Medical marijuana dispensaries may not open within 600 feet of a school.

Regarding children

  • Chelsea’s law (which actually took effect a few months ago) provides longer sentences and tougher parole conditions for those who are convicted of sex crimes against minors.

  • There will be longer prison sentences for anyone who causes permanent physical injury or disability to a child younger than 8.

  • Adults to knowingly provide alcohol to a minor…when the minor harms another person as a result…will be subject to civil liability.

Regarding real estate fraud

  • New laws not only make it easier for victims of foreclosure fraud to seek monetary damages from those who prey on their misfortune but also increase the penalties for those who pose as property owners to scam tenants in foreclosed and vacant homes.

Miscellaneous laws

  • The minimum threshold for a crime to be considered grand theft rises from $400 to $950.

  • The minimum fine facing domestic violence offenders who receive probation increases from $200 to $400.

  • New laws ban possessing a firearm in designated areas in public transit facilities, including train and subway stations.

  • And finally…if you are convicted of your third offense for fare evasion on the public transit system, you face a $400 fine or 90 days in a county jail.

January 3, 2011

Mexican Citizen Sentenced to Federal Prison for Illegally Selling Methamphetamines in California

On December 10, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had sentenced a Mexican citizen to 27 years in federal prison for illegally selling methamphetamines in California. The defendant was caught offering to sell a confidential informant six pounds of methamphetamines. At the time of his arrest, the defendant had over 3.2 kilograms of meth in a nearby car.Confidential informants and undercover police sting operations are routinely used in California drug investigations.

Possessing, using and selling/transporting methamphetamines are all crimes in California. And while a typical sales conviction may only subject you to up to four years in prison (up to nine if you move the meth across more than two county lines), a conviction for having over 1 kilogram subjects you to an additional three to fifteen years, depending on the exact weight of the drug.

And, if you are an immigrant or alien…even a legal one…a California conviction for (1) possessing methamphetamines with the intent to sell them, or (2) selling or transporting the drug subjects you to removal or deportation as well.

Finally, trafficking meth…or any other drugs…across state lines or on state property could subject you to additional federal charges as well.