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Whether you call it speed, crank, Tina, or crystal meth, the drug officially known as methamphetamine is illegal in California except for people who have a valid prescription. A conviction for a meth crime may result in incarceration, fines, and other penalties. If the defendant is convicted of a felony, they may face additional consequences of being a “convicted felon,” such as the inability to legally possess a firearm, hold public office, or vote (at least for a certain time period), as well as difficulty finding work in certain occupations. If you or someone close to you needs a drug crime attorney to fight this type of charge, experienced San Bernardino and Riverside meth crime lawyer Gregory H. Comings is here to defend your legal rights.
Under the California Health and Safety Code, illegal possession of methamphetamine is a “wobbler” offense that may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon whether the defendant has a prior conviction for certain crimes. If the defendant is convicted of misdemeanor possession of meth, they may serve up to a year in county jail and be fined up to $1,000. A felony conviction for meth possession may yield a sentence of one to four years in prison, as well as a fine, formal probation, and other penalties. In order for a defendant to be convicted of possession of methamphetamine, the prosecuting attorney has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant either actually or constructively possessed the drug. Constructive possession only requires that the defendant have control over or the right to control the substance; it does not require that they be in actual physical contact with the meth.
If a defendant is found in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine beyond that which would be reasonably considered for personal consumption, the defendant may be charged with possession for sale or transportation of meth. These are felony charges that may result in harsher punishments than simple possession. If the offender is not a U.S. citizen, they may also face consequences in the immigration area. Registration as a drug offender may also be required. To avoid or minimize these consequences, it is important to seek the representation of a meth crime attorney in Riverside or San Bernardino.
There are several possible defenses to a meth charge, but each case is unique. A knowledgeable attorney can help the defendant review the circumstances of their arrest to determine whether police may have executed an illegal search, whether the State may have difficulty proving one or more elements of the crime with which the defendant is charged, or whether an entrapment defense might be effective. For example, if police obtained the drugs in question without a search warrant or the defendant’s consent to a search, there may have been a violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. As the “fruit of the poisonous tree,” the meth may be inadmissible as evidence at trial, but this will only happen if the defendant files a motion to exclude the evidence.
A knowledgeable attorney can also explain alternatives to a full-blown trial, such as seeking a deferred entry of judgment or a Proposition 36 diversion sentence, provide advice as to whether a particular plea bargain agreement might be in the defendant’s best interest, or take the case to a trial on the merits in front of a judge and jury if necessary.
A conviction for a drug crime, including the possession, sale, or transportation of methamphetamine, may have long-lasting consequences for the defendant’s freedom, livelihood, and personal reputation. San Bernardino and Riverside meth crime attorney Gregory Comings regularly handles a wide range of misdemeanor and felony charges. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, call (951) 686-3457 or contact us online. We have Spanish interpretive services available. Our office also assists people who need a drug trafficking lawyer to protect their rights against the prosecution.