Drug dealing is widely viewed as a major problem in our society. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies commit significant resources to the investigation and prosecution of drug crimes, and drug sales charges remain both common and controversial in today's society.
To prove a drug sales charge, the prosecution must show that the defendant possessed a controlled substance, knew it was a controlled substance, and had the intent to sell it. Intent to sell is often based on circumstantial evidence, such as packaging, scales, large amounts of cash, or the testimony of witnesses.
There are numerous charges related to drug sales. Possession with the intent to sell is a felony charge and is as serious as a charge of actual sale of a controlled substance. Transportation of drugs, even for short distances, is a felony offense, and is generally charged with the same code section as actual sales. Sale of drugs in certain areas, such as near drug treatment facilities or schools, carries enhanced penalties, as does the sale of drugs to a minor.
A number of defenses to drug sales charges exist. Police may not have had a reasonable suspicion to detain you. The search for drugs may have been based on an invalid consent. You may have been arrested without probable cause. The chain of evidence connecting you to the controlled substance may have been broken. The arresting officer may have a pattern of intimidating or coercive behavior. If police misconduct can be shown, the charges against you may be reduced or dismissed.
Sentencing for drug sales varies widely, depending on a number of factors. Drug sales convictions involving large amounts of specific Schedule I drugs such as cocaine or heroin, carry enhanced sentences. Repeat offenders or sales involving other aggravating factors, such as the presence of handguns, also bring enhanced sentences. Larger drug conspiracies can involve racketeering and conspiracy charges. However, drug diversion and rehabilitation-focused programs also may be available for first-time offenders.
Representation by an experienced Orange County drug sales defense attorney is essential to dealing with these serious and complicated charges. The Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera has successfully defended people in state and federal court charged with selling drugs for over 30 years. We will investigate your case thoroughly and represent you aggressively. Contact our office at (949) 863-1663 for a confidential consultation.