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Drug Charges

If you or someone you know has drug-related offense in any county in California we can help. Throughout the years the Law Offices of Sean Tabibian & Associates have earned a reputation for being relentless and zealous advocates for the accused in California. Our Criminal Defense Attorneys practice exclusively in the area of criminal defense.

Criminal Defense Attorney Sean Tabibian has focused a great deal of attention to helping clients charged with drug offenses. In many cases, he has resolved drug charges with dismissals.

Drug Offenses

  • Possession & Possession w/ intent
  • Transportation
  • Sales & Trafficking
  • Manufacturing
  • Prop 215 - Medical Marijuana
  • Cultivation of Marijuana
  • Prop 36 / Diversion Issues
  • Prescription Fraud
  • DUI & DWI - Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Drug Charges

California criminal defense attorney Sean Tabibian and his aggressive criminal defense team are prepared to defend your rights if you have been accused or arrested for a drug crime in California.

Our team of Criminal Defense Lawyers practice exclusively in the area of criminal defense. Our dedicated trial lawyers provide superior legal representation in defense of the accused. The Law Offices of Sean Tabibian & Associates serve in every county throughout the State of California.

(In California, controlled substances are narcotics, stimulants, opiates, depressants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids. It’s illegal to possess them without a prescription.)
The Most Common Types of Illegal Drugs/Controlled Substances:
Barbiturates
Cannabis (Marijuana)
Cocaine
Crack Cocaine
Ecstasy (MDMA)
Hashish (and Hashish Oil)
Heroin
Prescription painkillers or stimulants without a prescription

LSD
Mescaline
Meth/Methadone
Morphine
Opium
PCP
Steroids

The most common types of drug crimes are:

Possession for Personal Use
Possession of Drugs for Sale
Trafficking (transporting, buying, selling).
Cultivating or Manufacturing
Possession of drug paraphernalia
Prescription Fraud
Conspiracy to do any of the above

Conflict between State and Federal Law

Drug offense penalties can range from probation to county jail or state prison. Assets such as a car or anything else linked to the drug crime could be taken away by Forfeiture Proceedings. One could also lose their driver’s license, have to pay a fine, and/or be required to register as a narcotics offender.

How the crime is charged and punished depends on the whether the drugs were for personal use or for sale, and if the defendant has a prior conviction.

Sentence Enhancements

When a person is charged with a drug crime, certain circumstances can lead to enhanced charges and sentences. Drug charges and sentences may be enhanced if the person sold drugs to a minor, solicited a minor, or if the person has prior drug and/or criminal convictions. These enhancements can lead to a longer prison sentence, larger fines, and lengthier probation terms.

Alternative Sentencing and Avoid Jail

Alternative Sentencing is available as an alternative to jail. Sometimes an appropriate punishment is a community-based programs, such as community service, work release programs, and graffiti clean up, as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. Alternative Sentencing is punishment and must fit the crime and are subject to eligibility.

Other Applicable Laws

School Zones

Patients should avoid possession of marijuana in school zones, as there are typically additional penalties for the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana near schools, whether it is for medical or recreational use. California patients and caregivers have been the targets of extreme charges and harsh penalties for medical marijuana in these "Drug Free School Zones." If a patient or caregiver possesses, cultivates, transports, or distributes marijuana near a school, the federal penalties can be stiff. These Drug Free School Zone laws can double the maximum sentences in federal court. SB 420 explicitly states that it does not authorize the smoking of marijuana "in or within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school, recreation center, or youth center, unless the medical use occurs within a residence." SB 420 says nothing about cultivation of marijuana near schools and recreational centers.

Firearms

Firearms can also result in harsher sentencing. "Any person who, during any drug trafficking crime for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall:
  • Be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years;
  • If the firearm is brandished, not less than 7 years; and
  • If the firearm is discharged, not less than 10 years." Although the U.S. Constitution confers a right to carry firearms, we have seen many patients face extreme legal consequences for having firearms in addition to plants.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Federal law provides for the forfeiture of property and profits obtained through or used in the commission of felony drug offenses. Prosecutors are encouraged to include forfeiture offenses in all drug indictments. This can apply to landlords who rent to people considered in violation of federal law, and therefore could be used against the landlords of patients who cultivate or use their medicine on the premises.

Travel

Under California law, a qualified patient with a California recommendation may only possess, cultivate and transport medicine in California. A California recommendation does not provide an affirmative defense in other states (except in Montana), so do not bring your medicine across state lines with an expectation of legal protection. Also, DO NOT bring your medicine to the airport (even if you are flying within California). Federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees will security screen you and, upon finding your medicine, they are likely to turn you over to local authorities for state charges.

Becoming a Legal Patient

The CUA allows seriously ill people to legally grow and use marijuana as medicine. In order to qualify under California law, a patient must have a doctor's recommendation or approval. A doctor may recommend or approve the medical use of marijuana for any condition for which it provides relief.

Ask Your Regular Doctor for a Recommendation

Be forthright with your doctor. There is nothing wrong with using medical marijuana or discussing it with your doctor. A federal court has ruled that, under the First Amendment, doctors may not be punished for recommending medical marijuana.

Ask for a written recommendation. Although an oral one is acceptable, it is difficult to verify. A written recommendation is more helpful in defending oneself against criminal charges.

Tell your doctor specifically what condition or symptoms you treat with marijuana. Honestly describe the amount of marijuana you use, how often, and by what delivery method.

When recommending quantities of marijuana for medicinal use, doctors may recommend a certain amount based on your need and experience with what works. If this amount is above the state minimum or local guidelines, doctors do not need to specify an amount; they only need to note that a patient requires more to meet their medical need than the guideline amount for that jurisdiction.

If your doctor does not issue medical marijuana recommendations, you may need to visit a medical marijuana specialist.

STATE ID PROGRAMS

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/services/Pages/MMPCounties.aspx#l

Becoming a Legal Caregiver

Health and Safety Code 11362.5, the California medical marijuana law, protects patients and their primary caregivers from prosecution for marijuana law violations. By state law, a designated caregiver is allowed to possess, manufacture, and provide marijuana, in all its varieties and forms, for the patient in his/her care. The caregiver is not allowed to use this marijuana for his/her personal use, nor can s/he provide this medicine to non-qualified patients.

There is no official registration system to become a caregiver for a medical marijuana patient, so it is a good idea to draft an agreement yourselves. This can be an oral or written agreement in which the patient designates you as his/her "primary caregiver." At this time, you should discuss the needs of your patient, related to both medical marijuana and other care, decide a plan of action, and then get to work.

The role of caregiver is more clearly defined in the law's text as an "individual designated by the person exempted under this section who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person." While this definition is quite broad, it is clearly intended that legal caregivers should assist patients in matters of personal health and well-being, which include, but reach beyond, assisting with the provision of medical marijuana.

This assistance could include consistently growing, transporting, and otherwise obtaining medical marijuana for patients, helping patients get to health care appointments, shopping for food and personal care items for home-bound patients, arranging safe housing, helping with rental applications, or assisting with a move, organizing social outings and special events, gardening, pet care, household chores and other typical, attendant-style care. It is helpful to have a signed agreement between the patient and caregiver.

Sensible Medical Marijuana Use

Patients and caregivers should educate themselves about medical marijuana and understand the benefits and potential side effects of this medicine. By being a sensible medical marijuana user and making informed decisions, you can be as healthy as possible and help change the way people think about medical marijuana use. Guidelines for Sensible Medical Marijuana Use:
  • Always listen to the advice of your doctor and use good judgment when using medical marijuana.
  • Carefully determine the amount of marijuana that is right for you. Start with a small amount and slowly increase your dosage to find the proper level for symptomatic relief.
  • Inform yourself about marijuana’s effects on yourself and others. These effects include legal and health risks, as well as potential personal consequences.
  • Clearly understand the benefits of marijuana and relief that its use provides you. Be able to explain your use to people who desire information about your use of marijuana as a medicine.
  • Never use medical marijuana as an excuse or cue for antisocial or irresponsible behavior.
  • Avoid medical marijuana use that puts you or others at risk, such as when driving, at work, or in public places. Remember, you can still be arrested for marijuana use and penalties can be stiff. As with any other prescription medication, it remains illegal to drive while under the influence.
  • Medical marijuana should contribute to, rather than detract from, health, well-being, work, and relationships.
  • Always carry a copy of your physician's recommendation or caregiver's agreement and recommendation with your medical marijuana.
  • In addition, although the state-issued ID card is not necessary to obtain the protection of California's medical marijuana laws, law enforcement is more likely to honor ID cards, so it is a good idea to carry your ID card with you.

Important things medical marijuana patients should know to stay out of trouble during a police encounter.

NEVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH. The cops are not there to be your friends they are interested in arresting you.

DO NOT WAIVE YOUR MIRANDA RIGHTS. Ask if you are free to leave. If not. Politely ask to have your attorney present during any questioning.

KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR RECOMMENDATION WITH YOU. If you get arrested and a cop wants to ignore your recommendation, politely ask to have a supervisor take notice of your recommendation and get their badge number.

DO NOT PACKAGE YOUR MEDICINE IN SMALL BAGGIES OR KEEP EXTRA BAGGIES or PACKAGING MATERIAL ON YOU. Law enforcement will try to charge you with Possession/Transportation for Sales, a much more serious felony. Avoid keeping any Scale on you or your car.

IF YOU GROW Stay within the guidelines and DO NOT KEEP GUNS. Secure the garden in a locked room or devise another way to deny access to children.

KEEP YOUR BONG, PIPE, MEDICINE etc OUT OF PLAIN VIEW.

DO NOT SELL OR GIVE MEDICINE TO ANY UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS

DO NOT MEDICATE & OPERATE A VEHICLE DUI arrest on patients are on the rise. Let the officer know that you are aware Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are completely voluntary. Do not agree to perform any of theses FST tests. Politely refuse to do the field sobriety exercises. However, you must submit to a chemical breath or blood test under the "implied consent" law. DO NOT REFUSE THE CHEMICAL TEST - Refusal of the chemical test will lead to harsher penalties. Let your lawyer fight and challenge the results and the arrest.

Everything you tell your lawyer is privileged & confidential and cannot be used against you. Be honest with your attorney so that are there are no surprises in court. The best defense team is an informed defense team!

MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT- THE GOVERNMENT HAS EXPERIENCED PROSECUTORS WHO ARE COMMITED TO WORK AGAINST YOU - IF YOU GET ARRESTED, CONTACT MY OFFICES IMMEDIATELY AND WE WILL DEFEND YOU.

Sean Tabibian, Attorney at Law is a contributing member of NORML, NACDL, CACJ, CPDA, and a leading authority on criminal laws. On Trial Magazine has voted him as Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year.

Marijuana Charges

If you are charged with possession of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, transportation of marijuana, cultivation of marijuana or concentrated cannabis we can help. Weather your case is in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Orange or Ventura Counties, we have defended thousands of clients and maintained an outstanding success record that remains in every county throughout the State of California.

MARIJUANA LAWS - HEALTH AND SAFETY CODES

H & S CODE Description of Crime Exposure in Months
11353 ADULT INDUCING A MINOR’S INVOLEMENT 36 72 108
11353.5 SALE BY ADULT TO MINOR AT SCHOOL OR PUBLIC PLAYGROUND
SALE OR FURNISHING SUBSTANCE FALSELY REPRESENTED AS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
60 84 108
11357(a) 1 POSSESSION OF CONCENTRATED CANNABIS 16 24 36
11357(b) POSSESSION OF LESS THAN 28.5 GRAMS $100.00 FINE
11357(c) POSSESSION OF MORE THAN 28.5 GRAMS 6 MO. - $500.00
11357(d) POSSESSION OF LESS THAN 28.5 GRAMS ON ANY SCHOOL GROUNDS 10 DAYS - $500.00
11358 CULTIVATING HARVESTING OR PROCESSING MARIJUANA 16 24 36
11359 POSSESSION FOR SALE 16 24 36
11360(a) TRANSPORTATION, SALE, FURNISHING 24 36 48
11361 MARIJUANA: PERSON 18 YEARS OR OVER USING MINOR UNDER 14 IN SALE, TRANSPORTATION, GIVING TO MINOR 36 60 84
11366 MAINTAIN PLACE FOR SELLING, GIVING, USING OF CERTAIN SPECIFIC OR CLASSIFIED CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE 16 24 36
11366.5(a) RENT, LEASE etc. ROOM FOR MANUFACTURE, STORAGE 16 24 36
11366.5(b) ALLOWING LOCATION TO BE FORTIFIED FOR SALE 24 36 48
11366.6 USING FORTIFIED LOCATION FOR SALE 36 48 60

Miscellaneous (Paraphernalia, DMV & license suspensions)

Any conviction of minor under 21 causes driver's license suspension for 1 year.

Possessing Less Than 28.5g of Marijuana
Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is not an arrestable offense. As long as the offender can provide sufficient identification and promises to appear in court, the officer will not arrest the offender. Upon conviction of the misdemeanor charge the offender is subject to a fine of $100. Possession of greater than 28.5 grams is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

HOWEVER, If you possess Marijuana in a vehicle then consequences are different.

Possession of Marijuana or Open Container While Driving
Under Vehicle Code Section 23222. Every person who possesses marijuana while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Investigations by the Department of Motor Vehicles DMV>
The department may conduct an investigation to determine whether the privilege of any person to operate a motor vehicle should be suspended or revoked or whether terms or conditions of probation should be imposed upon receiving information or upon a showing by its records that the person was convicted under VC 23222.

Paraphernalia
Health & Safety Code 11364 - Makes it unlawful to possess an opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking a controlled substance.

Health & Safety Code 11364.5 - Makes it unlawful to maintain or operate any place of business in which drug paraphernalia is kept, displayed or offered in any manner, sold, furnished, transferred or given away unless such drug paraphernalia is completely and wholly kept, displayed or offered within a separate room or enclosure to which persons under the age of 18 years not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian are excluded.

See Also Drug Cases