Drug Offense Case Results
If you want to read about our drug offense cases, please click on the case summaries below to read a detailed description of each case.
The case results summarized above represent a good sample of how drug cases have been handled by and large in our courts in the five years of so prior to the beginning of 2015.
Beginning on January 1, 2015, at least in Los Angeles County, Assembly Bill 2124 (AB2124) will vest judges with the power to give diversion to simple possession cases. Cases involving possession for sales or transportation will be unaffected. But in simple possession cases (those involving alleged violations of Health and Safety Code §§ 11350, 11357(a) and 11377), Prop 47 (Penal Code § 1170.18) will allow such former felony cases to be reduced to misdemeanors and then AB214 will permit the judge to craft a diversion plan for the individual.
Proposition 47 does have its exceptions. Not every 11350, 11357(a) or 11377 case will be reduced to a misdemeanor. For example, reduction will not be available if the individual is a registered sex offender under Penal Code § 290(c) or has a prior conviction for one of the “strike” offenses listed at Penal Code § 667(e)(2)(c)(iv). If one of the exceptions does not apply, the possession case will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
AB2124 then also has its exceptions. The biggest one perhaps applicable or likely to apply in a drug case is that a judge cannot offer diversion under AB2124 if the individual has been offered diversion in the past, i.e. Prop 36 or PC 1000. The judge also cannot offer diversion under 2124 if the person has a prior conviction for a crime involving force, the meaning of which is not entirely clear at this time.
Under AB2124, it is most likely that the individual would be ordered to enroll in and complete a certain number of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings and perhaps perform some community service, as well as other obligations that the judge decides. Therefore, if someone is confident that he or she will be eligible for AB2124, it is prudent to begin attending NA meetings ASAP and bring the sign-in sheet showing the meetings attended to court.
In all other cases, particularly those involving sales, the first issue that must be closely scrutinized is the basis for the traffic stop, if the police contact began this way, and the search that followed. When police have a hunch that evidence of drug sales is discoverable, police often become overly eager to search the car or house and often violate the Fourth Amendment, even with its many exceptions. As our results above describe, it is often this search that is unlawful that allows us to suppress the evidence (under Penal Code § 1538.5) gathered and then the prosecutor must dismiss the case.
It is next most important to re-test the sample if there is any chance that the substance seized by police may not be a controlled substance. We ask for such a retesting even when our client just bought the item, as sales of bunk do still exist. We have had more than one retest reveal that the alleged cocaine or methamphetamine was not such at all. It is therefore extremely important to retest the substance.
The case may also involve police planting drugs or using a warrant that really did not call for the scope of the search conducted. Therefore, there are a variety of requests for court orders (motions) to look at an officer’s personnel records (a Pitchess motion), unsealing a warrant or striking a strike on the client’s record for purposes of sentencing (a Romero motion) that our office may need to present the judge for his or her consideration.
For further reading on what AB 2124, Prop 47, motions to suppress, a Pitchess motion and a Romero motion, please search our article listing on this website.