Drug Cases

If you are arrested for a drug violation, you should contact the Law Office of Edward M. Ramirez. It is a violation to be under the influence of certain controlled substances or to buy, possess or sell certain drugs.

Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance

Being under the influence of a controlled substance merely requires that the person be under the influence in any detectable manner. The symptoms of being under the influence do not amount to misbehavior or impairment of physical or mental ability. People v. Enriquez, 42 Cal App. 4th 661, 665. The Health and Safety Code lists over a hundred controlled substances including Cocaine, Heroin, Hydrocodone, LSD, Methamphetamine, Morphine, Opium and Oxycodone. 

Police sometimes perform arrests of defendants suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance after a car stop where the officer notices signs of a suspect being under the influence. In other instances, police may observe a suspect in a public place who the officer claims displays signs of being under the influence. These signs may include certain posture, speech, perspiration, needle marks and others.

Defenses to these arrests include the lack of probable cause to detain the suspect or that the signs of being under the influence result from other causes, such as fatigue or the consumption of legal stimulants such as coffee or prescribed medications. 

Our law firm will review the police report with you, review the alleged signs and symptoms of intoxication and file the appropriate motions to suppress and exclude evidence. 

Being under the influence of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in jail. If the client does not wish to go to trial, the law offers other options, such as diversion, deferred entry of judgment and Proposition 36. (11:41)

Pretrial Diversion

A defendant sometimes qualifies for diversion for crimes involving possession for personal use and use of controlled substances like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. During diversion, the defendant must complete a drug program within 12 to 18 months. Upon successful completion of the program, the defendant’s case is dismissed. Penal Code section 1000. Certain prior convictions will disqualify a defendant from diversion.

Deferred Entry of Judgment

 A first time, nonviolent felony drug offender may in some cases qualify for deferred entry of judgment program. Under this program, if a judge finds a defendant is suitable for alternative treatment in a drug rehabilitation program, the defendant first pleads guilty or no contest. If the defendant fails to complete the drug program, the defendant’s guilty plea is entered as a judgment of guilty. Penal Code section 1000.8. Certain prior convictions will disqualify a defendant from Deferred Entry of Judgment.

Proposition 36

Some defendants involved in nonviolent drug possession offenses such as possession, use or being under the influence of a controlled substance, may qualify for sentencing under Proposition 36. Penal Code section 1210.1(a) Probation but not jail is required. Certain prior convictions will disqualify a defendant from sentencing under Proposition 36.

Possession of a Controlled Substance for Use

Possession of a controlled substance for personal use is a violation of the law. The prosecution must show that the defendant: 1) exercised control over or had the right to control the drug; 2) had knowledge of its presence: 3) had knowledge of its nature as a controlled substance; and 4) the substance was in an amount sufficient to be used as a controlled substance. 

Arrests for possession for use occur after traffic stops for traffic violations, detentions in public for unrelated violations or searches in the home pursuant to a search warrant or search under a search warrant exception. Defenses to such arrests are motions to suppress for lack of probable cause to arrest or lack of knowledge of the presence of the drug or the nature of the substance. 

Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale

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Edward M. Ramirez Attorney

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