Sacramento Defense Attorneys

Drug Crimes & What You Need to Do if Arrested

There has been a “War Against Drugs” in America for many decades, leading to severe punishments for nonviolent offenders and high costs for taxpayers. Though California is considered relatively lax due to the legality of cannabis, there are strict laws on controlled substances that can result in serious consequences for individuals that break these laws. It’s imperative you contact Sacramento defense attorneys if you are charged with a drug crime.


Depending on the quantity it could be a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of California to possess the following narcotics:

  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Heroin
  • Ecxtasy
  • Ketamine
  • GHB
  • Prescription drugs such as Vicodin or Codeine without a prescription

The consequences of a conviction may include up to three years in California state prison. Under Proposition 36, some individuals convicted of nonviolent drug possessions may receive probation and drug treatment instead of incarceration. Only some defendants may be eligible for this less severe sentence. Penal Code 1000 allows most nonviolent first-time offenders the option of treatment and education instead of jail time. When this education and treatment is completed, the charges are dismissed without leaving a criminal record. Such an option is beneficial for many reasons. Sacramento defense attorneys who have the skills and experiences handling such criminal cases can best assist you with your unique situation..

Possession for Sale

It is a felony to possess illegal drugs for the purpose of selling them. Individuals convicted of this crime are not eligible for Penal Code 1000 or Proposition 36 alternative sentencing.

Possession specifically for sale is determined by several factors, including:

  • The quantity of drugs
  • Packaging of drugs, such as into smaller portions
  • The presence of a scale
  • The presence of weapons
  • The presence of large sums of cash

Many individuals are falsely accused of possession for sale as there is no strict guideline. Police also often use questionable information or unreliable informants to obtain search warrants. Experienced Sacramento defense attorneys know just how to handle these types of situations in the court of law.

Sale or Transportation

It is a felony to sell, provide, administer, give away, transport, or import an illegal narcotic in the state of California. Many charges of the selling or transportation of a controlled substance occur due to an undercover sting operation in which an undercover cop tries to buy drugs off of a person. These tactics often walk the line between true undercover work and entrapment. Sometimes police do not actually try to buy the drugs but instead claim they witnessed the drug deal from afar. Unfortunately, this means that some people who are arrested were actually the buyer or in no way involved in a drug sale.

Possession of Paraphernalia

It is a misdemeanor to possess any device used for the unlawful use of a controlled substance. This may include the following:

  • Hypodermic needles
  • Pipes for smoking
  • Bongs
  • Cocaine spoons

A conviction for possession of paraphernalia may result in up to six months in county jail, but individuals may be eligible for alternative sentencing under Proposition 36 or Penal Code 1000. These devices often are confiscated after during an illegal search and seizure and may thus result in the dismissal of the charges.

Possession of Methamphetamine Meth, crystal meth, or speed has its own specific law criminalizing its possession. When proposition 47 passed, possession was downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor, though possession for sale, sale, transportation, or manufacturing of methamphetamine are still felonies.

Manufacturing Drugs and Narcotics

It is a felony to manufacture, produce, compound, or process a controlled substance. This includes a range of behavior including running a methamphetamine production house to compressing cannabis resin into hashish. In order to be convicted, an individual must actually be carrying out the process, not just gathering supplies for it.

The consequences for a conviction of manufacturing are the harshest of all California drug penalties. An individual may face as much as 7 years in state prison. The length of sentencing is subject to:

  • The amount of drugs involved
  • The presence of children near the manufacturing location
  • Whether anyone was injured as a result of the process


It is illegal to plant, cultivate, harvest, or process peyote, the hallucinogenic plant used in Native American religious ceremonies.

Possession of Manufacturing Materials

It is a felony to possess specific chemicals with the intent to manufacture PCP or methamphetamine.

Under the Influence

It is a misdemeanor to be under the influence of a controlled substance, including:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Prescription drugs such as Xanax or Valium without a prescription

A conviction for being under the influence of the above drugs may result in up to a year in county jail. These crimes may be subject to alternative sentencing under Proposition 36 or Penal Code 1000.

Defending Drug Charges

Conviction of a drug crime can be life-altering, affecting many aspects of an individual’s future. In some cases, conviction of a drug crime can be somewhat painless or avoided altogether. Police often make mistakes when dealing with these crimes including:

  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Entrapment
  • Unreliable informants
  • Exaggeration, lying or inaccurate witness accounts
  • Arresting without sufficient evidence

It’s important to seek out experienced Sacramento defense attorneys who understands the many details of controlled substance law and will fight on your behalf to limit sentencing.

Sacramento Defense Attorneys Can Help You Fight Your Drug Charges

When it comes to criminal law, the Sacramento defense attorneys at Allaye Chan Law know your life is on the line. Drug related crimes can have a wide array of outcomes and we’re here to help through your legal convictions. Give us a call at (916) 446-4400 immediately if you’re charged with a drug crime.