A lot of crimes committed throughout California, such as Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, are committed because the person is involved with using drugs and an addict.
That’s the basis for the crime. You obviously can’t always hide behind drug use if you’re committing crimes.
In fact, voluntary intoxication, where you actually take/ingest the drugs or alcohol yourself, is typically not a defense to a crime in California, even though we see a lot of people committing crimes because they are, in fact, involved with drugs.
In order to determine the best defense strategy to fight charges when the defendant committed a crime due to their drug addiction, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.
Common Drug Charges in California
Drug possession laws under California Health and Safety Code 11350 HS make it a misdemeanor to have unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
The United States Controlled Substances Act states that a controlled substance includes illicit street drugs along with specific prescription medications possessed without a prescription.
A conviction for HS 11350 carries a sentence of up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine, but most first-time offenders can get the charge dismissed by completing a PC 1000 drug diversion program or drug court.
Drug sales under Health and Safety Code 11351 HS makes possession for sale of a certain controlled substance a serious felony crime.
If the prosecutor can prove you possessed the drugs with the intent to sell them, you are facing harsh penalties. The list of drug covered under HS 11351 include:
Sale or transportation of drugs under California Health and Safety Code 11352 HS makes it a crime to sell or transport certain controlled substances, which are primarily narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, and popular prescription drugs.
HS 11352 makes it a California drug crime to:
- give away or transport controlled substances.
HS 11352 is a felony drug crime in California that carries a sentence of up to nine years in jail and a fine up to $20,000.
Prescription fraud under California Health and Safety Code 11173 HS is also commonly known as “doctor shopping.”
HS 11173 provides penalties any patient who, through fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, obtains, or makes an attempt to obtain, a prescription from a medical professional for a controlled substance, such as a painkiller.
Some of the most common prescription medications that are fraudulently obtained include:
Drug manufacturing under California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 makes it a crime to manufacture, convert, produce, process, or prepare, either directly or indirectly, by a chemical extraction or synthesis, any controlled substance.
The most common example of charges under HS 11379.6 include a situation where someone is operating a methamphetamine lab, or where they are required to mix chemicals to make narcotics.
This felony drug crime carries a sentence of up to 7 years in a state prison and a fine up to $50,000. There are also aggravating factors that result in a longer sentence, such as manufacturing large quantities of certain drugs, and having prior convictions.
Common California Crimes Committed by a Drug Addict
- Vehicle Code 23152 VC – driving under the influence,
- Penal Code 211 PC– robbery,
- Penal Code 459 PC – burglary,
- Penal Code 487 PC – grand theft,
- Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC – domestic battery,
- Penal Code 273.5 PC – corporal injury to spouse,
- Penal Code 273d PC – child abuse,
- Penal Code 459.5 PC – shoplifting,
- Penal Code 240 PC – assault,
- Penal Code 242 PC – battery,
- Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC – assault with a deadly weapon,
- Penal Code 664/187 PC – attempted murder,
- Penal Code 187 PC – murder.
Treatment in a Drug Program
The question becomes, what is the best strategy? Sometimes, the best strategy is to get the person into a drug program.
This is important to show the prosecutors and judge that they’re willing to help themselves, and since that was the basis of the crime, they likely won’t commit any more crimes.
Now you’re in a position to make the argument that that is sufficient punishment and potentially try to prevent a conviction, prevent jail time or prison time for that particular individual.
Also, there are situations where drugs actually can be a defense to a crime — if it is a specific intent crime, for example – attempt to murder.
You have to have the specific intent to kill. If you’re so high on drugs or alcohol and you can’t form the specific intent to kill, that can be used as a defense to attempted murder.
But, there’s other crimes, assault with a deadly weapon, for example, that they could substitute in place for that attempted murder charge and still attempt to get the conviction, but attempted murder is obviously a very good one to get rid of.
Primary Job of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
So, really what we need to do is, to figure out what the root of the problem is.
A lot of times I have parents, family members calling in, trying to help a particular individual and we get ourselves in the quandary of not wanting a conviction on the person’s record, but by the same token, this person needs help seriously.
They’re going to kill themselves. We want them to be in custody for a period of time to dry themselves out. Of course, myself, as a criminal defense attorney, my primary job is:
- to fight the case;
- try to get a dismissal;
- try to get the client out of custody.
But I also have an eye towards trying to actually really help the person, not only out of the jam they’re in, but future jams and also help them as a human being who is potentially going to kill themselves using all of these drugs.
I’ve been in this situation many times, having practiced for almost three decades. I’ve seen the destruction that drugs can have on a person’s life and their family. I know how to help people.
I know what it takes to get an overall resolution — come up with a game plan. Not just talking to the person but talking to the family.
My allegiance is always to the client, but I want to hear from the family too because a lot of times, the family can give me some very powerful insight that can help not only resolve the case but set up a game plan that truly helps the person, and in turn, helps their family.
Defending Drug Crimes in California
If you’re looking for the best and you’ve got a drug case, or you have a family member that has a drug case and the drugs are the basis for the crime, then pick up the phone. Make the call. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.
Sometimes people hallucinate and they take so many drugs and they commit a crime. They’re seeing things that aren’t really there.
Sometimes they have mental issues combined with drug/alcohol use, whatever the case is, pick up the phone. Ask to schedule a consultation with Ronald Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.
Hedding law firm has two office locations in LA County, including 2049 Century Park E #2525 Los Angeles, CA 90067.
Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0940.