Articles Posted in Drug Offenses

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Since it passed in November, Proposition 47 has changed a lot more than just the sentences for some low-level, non-violent offenders. It also has changed how law enforcement officers view some crimes and how long some criminal offenders stay in prison, according to a recent report by the LA Times.

Prop 47 reduces some crimes from felonies and wobblers to misdemeanors, which significantly reduces the maximum penalties for these crimes. Prop 47 has already decreased prison and jail populations across the state.

Prop 47 Reduces Some Felony Crimes to Misdemeanor Offenses

Prop 47 ArrestsWhile the resentencing of felony and wobbler crimes to misdemeanor offenses has significantly reduced the number of offenders behind bars, the law has also reduced the number of people being arrested for narcotics, possession, and simple theft crimes. According to the LA Times, drug-related arrests by the LA County Sheriff’s Office have decreased by 30% since Prop 47 passed, and bookings have gone down about 23%.1

At least part of the reason for this decrease in arrests is that police officers are focusing on more serious crimes and putting less focus on arresting low-level offenders. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has instructed officers to continue to pursue drug offenders as they have in the past even though simple possession of a drug for personal use has in most circumstances become a misdemeanor offense. Now, police officers simply are issuing a citation to appear in court instead of arresting drug offenders and taking them to jail.

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**Update: After the passing of Proposition 47, a misdemeanor charge for personal possession of cocaine is punishable by a maximum of one year in county jail.**

The federal Anti-Drug Use Act of 1986 created separate sentencing guidelines for crimes involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine. California adopted the same sentences a year later, resulting in crimes involving crack being sentenced 100 times harsher than crimes involving powder cocaine. Under the law, it takes one-tenth the amount of crack cocaine to trigger the same strict sentences as powder cocaine. 1 Possession%20of%20Drugs%20for%20Sale%202.jpg

In an effort to reduce severe prison overcrowding, California is rethinking overly harsh criminal sentencing, especially for nonviolent crimes such as drug offenses. The California State Senate recently gave initial approval to Senate Bill 1010, which would reduce penalties for possessing crack cocaine for sale so they would match the punishment for crimes involving powder cocaine. 2

The bill will soon be voted on by the California State Assembly. If passed, it will then go before the governor for final approval. 3

Reducing Penalties for Possessing Crack Cocaine for Sale (Senate Bill 1010)

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11352, possession of crack cocaine with the intent to sell is currently punishable by three, four or five years in county jail and a fine of up to $20,000.

Introduced by State Senator Holly Mitchell, Senate Bill 1010 would reduce the penalties for possession of crack cocaine (also known as cocaine base) for sale to equal the penalties for possession of powder cocaine. If passed, sentencing for those convicted of possessing cocaine base for sale would be reduced to two, three or four years in county jail. 4

The proposed bill would also make it easier for anyone convicted of either of these possession of cocaine offenses to obtain probation in lieu of jail time.

Why Pass Senate Bill 1010?

Supporters of Senate Bill 1010 argue that California’s current laws have led to institutional racism, citing state statistics that show African Americans are imprisoned for possession of crack cocaine for sale at a rate of 43 times more than whites. Since the sentencing guidelines were adopted in the late 1980s, cocaine base has been associated more with African Americans in urban neighborhoods, while powder cocaine has been more popular among wealthy and middle-class whites. 5

According to supporters of SB 1010, sentencing guidelines have led to a culture of rehabilitation amongst whites who possessed powder cocaine and arrest and punishment for blacks who possessed crack cocaine. The Journal of the American Medical Association said the two forms of cocaine have essentially the same effects on the human body. 6

Should Penalties for Selling Crack Cocaine and Powder Cocaine Be Equal?

What do you think about California’s proposed new bill? Should possession of crack cocaine for sale carry the same punishment as possession of powder cocaine for sale? Do sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine promote racism? Should California pass Senate Bill 1010 into law?

Wallin & Klarich would like to hear your opinion on this matter. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

1. [http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-cocaine-crack-and-powder-sentencing-disparit-20140811-story.html]
2. [Bills on crack cocaine, medicinal pot advance in California, May 28, 2014, http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-80341482/]
3. [Id.]
4. [Id.]
5. [Id.]
6. [Id.]

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More than 46,000 federal drug offenders could be eligible for sentence reductions after the U.S. Sentencing Commission recently approved a plan to extend federal drug sentencing guidelines to current inmates. 1 Possession%20-%20Transportation%20of%20Drugs%20for%20Sale.jpg

Prisoners who are eligible for sentence reductions will not be released until November 2015, giving judges the time necessary to review candidates and allow prosecutors to object if there are concerns about any inmates. 2

The commission’s unanimous vote follows a decision made in April to amend sentencing guidelines in some federal drug cases involving non-violent drug offenders. Those new guidelines will now extend to thousands of inmates currently serving time in federal prison due to drug crime convictions. 3

Sentence reductions for non-violent drug offenders will help condense the overcrowded federal prison system without harming public safety. The commission’s decision is a step towards ending decades-long efforts to punish drug crimes harshly.

How Will Sentence Reductions Affect You?

Federal judges in California will be able to begin reviewing eligible cases in November. Congress has until Nov. 1 to reject the measure, but they are not expected to reverse the decision. 4

According to the Daily Journal, there are more than 2,500 estimated federal drug offenders currently serving time in the California prison system that may be eligible for sentence reductions. Sentences for non-violent drug offenders will be reduced by two years, allowing many of the eligible inmates to be released. 5

Delaying reductions by a year will allow for any public safety concerns about eligible inmates to be addressed and give convicted drug offenders time to apply for sentence reductions. The Federal Bureau of Prisons will begin notifying inmates about the application process.

Despite the large number of eligible cases, reviews of federal drug offenders are not likely to overwhelm defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges. Much of the work involved has already taken place, including evaluating the inmates criminal history and determining a sentence. However, a small number of cases are expected to require an additional investigation by attorneys and judges, such as cases in which the prosecutor no longer works for the U.S. attorney’s office.

Are You Eligible for a Sentence Reduction?

If you or a loved one is currently serving time in jail for a federal drug offense, you need to contact an experienced federal defense attorney immediately to discuss eligibility for sentence reductions. You may be able to be released from prison and reunite with your family earlier than expected.

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled federal attorneys have been successfully helping our clients with federal drug crime matters for over 30 years. We can help guide you through the application process and give you the best chance to have your sentence reduced.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our experienced federal defense attorneys are available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call our offices today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.

1. [ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/18/federal-drug-sentences-reduced/12842893/]
2. [http://www.activistpost.com/2014/07/us-sentencing-commission-votes.html#!bk9R1I]
3. [Id.]
4. [Id.]
5. [Id.]

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As has been reported by a number of media outlets nationally, L.A. County sheriff’s arrived at Justin Bieber’s Calabasas, Calif. home on Jan. 14 with 11 cop cars and a battering ram. Armed with a search warrant, Bieber’s home was being searched for evidence that could connect the pop star to the crime of felony vandalism.

Bieber’s Friend Arrested for Possession of Cocaine


During the search of the home, the cops encountered cocaine in “plain sight,” which was later linked to one of Bieber’s house guests and entourage members, Lil Za. Lil Za, whose real name is Xavier Smith, was arrested for suspicion of possession of a controlled substance (HS 11350 (a)) and was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

This is a serious crime and could lead to Smith doing jail time or, if he is very lucky, having to participate in a lengthy and expensive drug program. If you are arrested for possession of cocaine, you face up to three years in county jail or you can be placed on formal probation. However, you may be able to attend a drug diversion program in order to get the case dismissed.

Was Lil Za the Victim of Illegal Search and Seizure?

Whether what the police did in discovering the drugs during the search was legal or not will depend upon the specific circumstances of this case.

The cocaine was found in “plain sight,” meaning the officers could legally seize the drugs as evidence of a crime. However, it is not known how the police lawfully connected Smith to the cocaine.

Because the drugs were found in Bieber’s home, they could ask the District Attorney’s office to file drug charges against the 19-year-old star. For example, if drugs were found in Bieber’s private bedroom (night stand, private bathroom, etc), the D.A. could try to argue that Justin was in “constructive possession” of these drugs.

How the Southern California Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Can Help

If Smith retains an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows what searches are legal and what searches are unlawful, he will stand a good chance of beating these possession of cocaine charges. The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending persons accused of drug charges. If you are facing charges of a drug-related crime, we may be able to have the charges reduced or the case dismissed completely.

Wallin & Klarich will continue to follow the Justin Bieber incident along with the hundreds of media outlets who will be covering it. The major difference is that our lawyers know the law of criminal defense cold and can update everyone on what is likely to happen from a legal point of view.

If you are facing possession of cocaine charges or if you believe evidence being used against you may have been seized illegally, call our offices today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

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Have you ever heard young people asking “Have you seen Molly?” You should know that they aren’t talking about the girl next door.

“Molly” is a street name for MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. There are a lot of slang terms for MDMA. “Ecstasy” and “Molly” are the most common. Molly, however, is supposed to be free of adulterants, such as caffeine or methamphetamine. You might also hear “E,” “XTC,” “X,” “Adam,” “hug,” “beans,” “clarity,” “lover’s speed,” and “love drug.”

Molly aka Ecstasy is the “in” Club Drug


Ecstasy is a very popular club drug. A “club drug” is a name given to a variety of recreational drugs that are typically found and used by partygoers to enhance their experiences at night clubs, “raves” (all-night dance parties), concerts and house parties. Club drugs generally provide a stimulating and hallucinogenic effect which makes many users feel euphoric.

Ecstasy users typically reach their peak “high” about an hour after swallowing or snorting the drug. Effects of ecstasy generally last between three to six hours.

Because there is no accepted medical use for ecstasy, its possession, sale or transportation is always illegal.

What is MDMA?

3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a controlled substance, a narcotic drug regulated under California and federal law. MDMA is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it has:

  • A high potential for abuse, and
  • No currently accepted medical use in the United States.

Simple Possession of Ecstasy or Molly in California (Health and Safety Code § 11377)

If the police arrest you for possessing ecstasy or Molly for personal use, you will be charged with “possession” of a controlled substance pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 11377. This offense is a misdemeanor offense.

A misdemeanor conviction for possession for personal use of ecstasy in California is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.

In some cases, a person accused of a violation of possession of ecstasy (HS 11377) may be eligible to participate in a drug diversion program. If you successfully complete drug diversion, you are entitled to a dismissal of your possession charge.

Possession for Sale of Ecstasy or Molly in California (Health and Safety Code § 11378)

Possession with the intent to sell ecstasy is a felony. If you are convicted under California law, you can be sentenced to serve up to three years in jail and fined up to $10,000. Because this offense involves potential sales and not simply personal possession, you are not eligible for drug diversion.

Sales or Transportation of Molly or Ecstasy in California (Health and Safety Code § 11379)
Health and Safety Code Section 11379 makes sales or transportation of ecstasy a felony offense. If you are convicted of violating this California law, you face up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. If you transport ecstasy across more than two counties, your sentence can increase to three, six or nine years in prison plus the same fine.

Drug Trafficking of Ecstasy under Federal Law (18 U.S.C. § 841)

If you possess large quantities of ecstasy and/or import or export the illegal drug across state lines or U.S. borders (also known as “drug trafficking”), you may attract the attention of federal authorities and be subject to prosecution by the United States government.

Drug trafficking of ecstasy is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. If anyone is seriously injured or dies as a result of using the drug you face 20 years to life in prison.

Finally, a conviction for any ecstasy-related offense under either California or federal law could lead to your deportation or removal from the United States if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Wallin & Klarich Attorneys are Available 24/7 if You are Arrested on Drug Charges

If you or someone you know has been arrested for possession, sales, transportation or trafficking of MDMA, contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich could mean the difference between you serving a lengthy jail or prison sentence and a reduction or dismissal of your charges. Getting you the best possible result in your case is our only goal.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience defending thousands of clients facing prosecution on state and federal drug charges. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

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In California, the battle continues over the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries. Front and center is the issue of the scope of local zoning authority over medical marijuana facilities. Recently, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center (California Supreme Court – May. 2013), that the Compassionate Use Act (Prop 215) and the Medical Marijuana Program Act of 2004 do not preempt local ordinances that completely ban medical marijuana facilities.

What Medical Marijuana Advocates are Doing


Despite the state Supreme Court’s ruling, medical marijuana advocates are actively pursuing unique cultivation and distribution models. Medical marijuana continues to present questions regarding public safety and land use. A great number of marijuana facilities have decided to shift their business model to mobile dispensary services in lieu of actual storefront operations. The state Supreme Court has been silent as to the extent which local regulatory structures would conflict with the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The Federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits all marijuana possession, cultivation and distribution.

Two major questions remain after the ruling in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center:

  • Can local governments regulate cultivation sites? and
  • Can local governments regulate the transportation of medical marijuana to patients?

Notwithstanding the decision in the City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, marijuana advocates continue to seek out new business models, legislative amendments and voter initiatives in an effort to increase sales of marijuana to the public.

How Wallin & Klarich Can Help with Marijuana Charges

The area of California medical marijuana law is highly complex. Marijuana crimes may trigger punishments for violation of both federal and state drug laws. Mobile marijuana dispensary services are the next issue for California as medical marijuana distributors have gone mobile. There is no doubt that both advocates and proponents of medical marijuana distribution will continue fighting its legality.

If you are in trouble with the law regarding Marijuana charges or if you have interest in bringing legal action to protect your business, it is critical that you speak to one of our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys. Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience in representing individuals charged with drug-related offenses throughout Southern California. Call Wallin & Klarich today at (888) 280-6839 for a free consultation. We will be there when you call.

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The Los Angeles Drug Paraphernalia Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience handling possession of drug paraphernalia cases in Southern California. Our attorneys have the skill and expertise to provide you with the best possible defense in your case.


What Is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11364, it is against the law for you to possess an opium pipe, or any paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking a controlled substance. The law does not apply to needles or syringes that have been placed in a container for safe disposal.

“Drug paraphernalia” is broadly defined as all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are intended for use or designed for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance. This broad definition covers everything from growing kits and scales to blenders and bowls, which makes it very easy to support the charges.

There are three elements to this offense:

1. You exercised control over, or had the right to control, the drug paraphernalia;
2. You had knowledge of the drug paraphernalia’s existence; and 3. You knew that it was drug paraphernalia.

What Punishment Could I Face?

If you are convicted of this offense you could face jail time. Possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
You may also lose your job or professional license if convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia. We know how much you value your freedom, so we fight all cases like yours using every applicable legal defense.

What Are My Defenses For Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

Your lack of knowledge of the existence of the drug paraphernalia is a legal defense to this charge, but the lack of knowledge must be substantiated with evidence. At Wallin & Klarich, we leave no stone unturned discovering the evidence that will lead to a dismissal of charges.

You may also have a defense if the object you possessed was not actually drug paraphernalia. In some cases, police officers may mistakenly believe that an item is drug paraphernalia. You need an experienced attorney from Wallin & Klarich to help you determine if the item you possessed was actually drug paraphernalia.

At Wallin & Klarich, we have offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Victorville. We have successfully represented clients facing possession of drug paraphernalia charges for over 30 years. We have the knowledge and the know-how to win your case. If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, contact the experienced Los Angeles Drug Offense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 877-4-NO-JAIL or 877-466-5245 for immediate assistance. We will be there when you call.

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A recent California bill was passed into law that seems to recognize that drug addiction is more a disease than a crime. This is good news for those struggling with addiction.

This new law under Health and Safety Code Section 11376.5 states that if you overdose on illegal drugs, you will not face criminal prosecution if you seek medical help. Not only does this law protect you against charges for having drugs in your system, it will also prevent any prosecution for drugs or paraphernalia found in your physical possession.

This can also protect anyone who assists you or notifies the authorities of your drug overdose. The same protection also applies to them if they were found to be in possession or under the influence.

This law was created in response to the high rate of California deaths stemming from drug overdose due to the fear that any report to a hospital or local authority of a drug overdose would result in criminal prosecution. This fear had hindered any attempt to assist a person who suffered a drug overdose.

Drug addiction is a serious matter that can transcend beyond the authority of the law and the penalties it imposes. However, you still need to protect your rights and guard yourself against the pitfalls of the criminal justice system. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been in practice for over 30 years and can help you through the criminal process so you can focus on rehabilitation.

Wallin & Klarich has been helping those accused of drug crimes for over 30 years. If you or a loved one is facing a criminal case in Southern California call now at 888-280-6839 for a consultation. The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers of Wallin & Klarich have offices located throughout the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties, we are able to be there for you wherever you happen to live. We will be there when you call.

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Recently, California added Health and Safety Code section 11376.5, which states that if you are experiencing a drug-related overdose and seek out medical assistance in good faith, you will not be charged with a crime. In other words, you no longer can be charged with possession or being under the influence of the drug under California Health and Safety Code section 11550 if you seek out medical assistance in good faith for a drug-related overdose. You also will not be charged with a crime if you are experiencing a drug-related overdose and are brought to a medical facility by a loved one or person at the scene of the overdose.


Prior to this new law, many people were hesitant to seek medical assistance for drug-related issues for fear of criminal charges and prosecution. Therefore, the prior law led to many unnecessary and tragic deaths. Now that the law has changed you are protected from the severe harm and consequences that can occur from drug use and should not hesitate to seek medical assistance should you be in such a situation.

The new law also requires that you do not obstruct medical or law enforcement personnel when seeking medical attention. This law does not apply to or change any law relating to selling, giving or exchanging of drugs.

If you are facing charges for being under the influence of or being in possession of drugs, it is important that you seek out an experienced and knowledgeable los angeles criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients in drug related matters. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Orange County. Call us today at 1-888-280-6839 or visit our website for more information at www.wklaw.com. We will get through this together.

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Believe it or not, it REALLY MATTERS who you have as your criminal defense attorney. No case brings that point home better than the case of Mr. Miller, who in 2004 was accused of the unlawful possession of the prescription drug (valium) without having a doctor’s authorization.

The DA wrongfully filed this crime as a felony offense. In fact this crime can only be a misdemeanor offense. Mr. Miller plead guilty to the crime as a felony because his lawyer did not realize that he could never be legally prosecuted for a felony.

Finally in 2011 Mr. Miller realized his error and he filed a motion to vacate his felony guilty plea. This felony on his record was preventing Mr. Miller from owning any firearms and he also was required to register as a felony narcotics offender. It sure would seem reasonable that he be allowed to withdraw his plea.

The court however didn’t agree with Mr. Miller. The court said that because he consented to the plea agreement he could not now set aside his plea to the felony.

Poor Mr. Miller had the wrong lawyer. His lawyer didn’t do the research that easily could have determined this was only a misdemeanor offense. The court of appeals has said “tough luck Mr. Miller” you are stuck with a felony on your record now for the rest of your life.

So the next time you are sitting around talking about whether it is important to retain a criminal defense lawyer who knows what he is doing, tell everyone in the room about poor Mr. Miller.

What is even more amazing is that the court of appeals would not allow Mr. Miller to set the record straight.

If you or a loved one is currently facing any type of drug charges in Southern California, make sure to contact the experienced law firm of Wallin & Klarich. Our drug possession defense attorneys have defended clients facing drug charges for over 30 years.

About Wallin & Klarich

Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.