What are Some of the Defenses Against Cocaine Possession Charges in Orange County California?Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug derived from the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca Lam, a species of the coca plant native to Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and other South American countries. While cocaine has some valid medical uses, possession of cocaine for recreational use is illegal in the U.S. It is classified as a Schedule II substance – a drug with a high potential for abuse, the use of which could potentially lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Unfortunately, cocaine is a very popular drug and is widely available in California. The powder form of cocaine is ingested through inhalation (snorting) or injection. There is also a rock crystal form of cocaine, referred to as cocaine base, or “crack,” which is usually smoked, (also known as free-basing). Coke, blow, snow, white girl, rock, and crack are a few of the street names for cocaine.

Cocaine Possession Is A Serious Crime In California

If you’re caught in possession of cocaine in California, you could be facing some serious penalties if convicted.

  • Possession or purchase of powder cocaine is a felony involving a prison sentence of between 16 months and 3 years along with a possible fine of up to $20,000.
  • Possession or purchase of powder cocaine with intent to sell is a felony punishable by two to four years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000 for each offense. The sentence could be increased to five years if you’re convicted of selling crack cocaine or nine years if there’s evidence that you crossed two or more county lines while transporting the product.
  • Prison terms and fines increase for quantities in excess of one kilogram. Possession of more than one kilogram by weight will get you an additional three years in jail. More than 10 kilograms will cost you an additional term of 10 years. 80 kilograms or more could see 25 years added to your sentence. Fines can reach up to $8 million.

And these are just state penalties. Possession of cocaine is a federal crime as well. Conviction on federal charges of cocaine possession could cost you up to life in prison and up to $10 million in fines.

Obtaining a Conviction for Cocaine Possession in California

In order to get a conviction, the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant:

  • Unlawfully possessed the cocaine
  • Possessed a usable amount of cocaine
  • Knew they were in possession of the drug
  • Was aware of the fact that cocaine possession is illegal in California

A conviction could have a significant impact on your life. If convicted, you could be facing:

  • Jail time
  • Hefty fines
  • Probation
  • Diversion programs
  • Restitution to the victim
  • Property forfeiture
  • Loss of government benefits
  • A permanent criminal record could result in the loss of a professional license or certification as well as making it difficult to obtain a job, housing, or attend the school of your choice.

Defenses Against Cocaine Possession Charges in California

Depending on the circumstances in your case, there could be several effective defense strategies against charges of possession in California:

  • Illegal search and seizure
  • The drugs did not belong to you
  • You didn’t know the drugs were near you (actual vs. constructive possession)
  • There were inaccuracies in the crime lab’s analysis
  • The evidence has been lost or is missing
  • Police misconduct or entrapment
  • The arrest was not justified by reasonable suspicion

Don’t Face a Drug Charge Alone – Contact the Law Offices of Orange County CA Criminal Defense Attorney Jim Tanizaki

Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. He knows the tactics the state will use to get their conviction and how to counter their charges. His vast legal knowledge and experience often result in reduced or even dropped charges for his clients.

If you’ve been charged with cocaine possession in Orange County, CA it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your rights. Contact the law offices of Jim Tanizaki at (714) 655-7633 or through our website to schedule a meeting with an Orange County, CA cocaine charges defense attorney.