Drug trafficking involves the transportation and distribution of illegal drugs or a controlled substance without the proper legal license or permission to do so, i.e., doctor or licensed courier transporting prescription drugs. Examples of controlled substances and illegal drugs include but are not limited to anabolic steroids marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, LSD and heroin.
Federal and state drug trafficking laws vary based on the jurisdiction and circumstances. Drug trafficking is always treated as a felony but it is often treated as a more serious offense when greater quantities or more severely restricted drugs are involved. Penalties also vary according to the geographic area of distribution, as well as whether minors were targeted or where the drugs were eventually sold.
Examples of Defenses Against Drug Trafficking
The most common approach to drug trafficking charges is to get the case dismissed or the charges substantially reduced without a trial. Most of our firm’s pre-trial defense strategies center on the suppression or handling of evidence. For example, I will try to demonstrate to the prosecutor that they do not have enough evidence to convict you by presenting mitigating evidence or proof that not all the elements of the crime were met by showing that the evidence submitted is either insufficient or unsubstantial. We can employ these strategies because of our extensive experience and knowledge of the law. We have a wide range of experience defending clients against drug distribution charges and we employ forensic expertise to conduct the necessary research in a preliminary investigation.
Because of the severity of the crime and its political salience, drug trafficking will often lead to federal prosecution. This is the reason why the federal government has dedicated an entire agency to combating drug distribution in the DEA. Even if an investigation into drug distribution begins by California state law enforcement, it can still be handed over to federal authorities at a later date and the trial may still be held in a federal court.
The ideal outcome in your case would be to have charges dismissed and failing this, go to trial and receive a not guilty verdict. However, drug distribution charges are often accompanied by other charges or multiple counts, each of which carry the risk of further criminalization and other sentences.
In the unfortunate event that it is not possible to disprove an accusation of drug trafficking against you, we ca still have your sentence reduced to a minimum. The inherent complexities of drug trafficking cases allow for many opportunities to negotiate a plea bargain.
Health and Safety Code 11350 – 11356.5
In California, drug trafficking is a serious felony that includes sales as well as transport of controlled substances. An experienced lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts of the case to determine whether there was a lawful search of evidence of intent. Sometimes intent can be circumstantial based on finding “baggies”, a “scale”, and of course the amount discovered.
The 4th Amendment guarantees protection against unreasonable search and seizure. If there was no search warrant, or probable cause for the search, experienced attorneys may be able to file a motion to suppress and hold an evidentiary hearing in court under 1538.5. The case law is rapidly changing based on advances in technology (smart phones and other devises that may have evidence). The government’s ability to obtain evidence that may be easily disposed of creates a lot of legal questions as to the extent of their authority to conduct warrant-less searches. Experienced attorneys can make persuasive arguments why the search was unlawful and therefore the evidence should be excluded all together.
There may be times when the government will assert privilege under Evidence Code 1042. Assertions of privilege may create an inference that is favorable to the defendant because of the government’s failure to disclose the source. It depends whether the confidential informant is a material witness. Experienced attorneys and our team of experts which include prior law enforcement can help facilitate arguments that would cast doubt on any “confidential” informants and assertions of privilege or confidentiality for failure to disclose this evidence to the defense. Call our office today for a free consult 213-674-7323.