How Long Have You Handled Drug Related Cases In California?
I was a prosecutor with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office from 1999-2003, before I became a defense attorney, and during that time I prosecuted many drug crimes involving every type of drug and every aspect, whether it was possession for personal use, transportation, sale or any other reason. I have also handled larger drug cases like conspiracies, wiretap cases, etc., so I know how the prosecution deals with these cases from county to county. They are now handled in a “Vertical Prosecution,” which is when the prosecutors are involved in the initial investigation with law enforcement while preparing and prosecuting these cases.
Since I have also been on the defense side, I have certainly had the chance to handle all of the same types of cases both in the state and in federal court from both perspectives. I have had personal experiences that, unfortunately, involved family members and friends who dealt with drug abuse and various aspects of treatment that were involved, so I have a wide and very deep knowledge of not only the law but also how drug abuse and the use of drugs can personally affect people.
Which Cities And Counties Do You Serve?
I handle cases from Orange County through Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties; I sometimes also handle cases in Ventura County, but that is a very large area to cover logistically. Some federal cases I have been involved with do involve traveling out-of-state, and I often have to go to Sacramento. Criminal defense for something like a drug-related case is a small, intimate practice that usually involves one lawyer; because of the nature of the relationships with prosecutors, judges and people like law enforcement, the reputation only travels with the attorney, which is why most criminal defense practices tend to be solo practices, with one main attorney. It’s important for that attorney to be the go-to with the parties involved, as the person who held that relationship and respect.
I try to help as many clients as possible, but I have to draw some lines, so when it comes to state cases, I typically handle Orange County, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties because my offices and my residence are relatively central to those locations.
What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Drug Cases Specifically?
Aside from the nature of my involvement and knowledge regarding the investigative process, as well as my dedication, work ethic and desire to look into any and all options, I am very involved with and keep in touch with many rehab facilities. In a case involving personal use for someone with a substance abuse problem, even if the underlying charge was for sale or transportation, I will get to know and become very involved with the client, and I will know about other options like Prop 36, DEJ etc. and I will also be very in tune with different rehab facilities in order to try to change the perception of the client before or even while the case was still in court, so that incarceration may not be the proper avenue for resolution of the case. My relationships with prosecutors and judges, along with my reputation, brings a lot of sincerity and a strong work ethic to make me try to find the right form of treatment and to convince others that that will be the proper way to go, even when prosecutors say they don’t really care if the person has a substance abuse problem.
I have a tremendous amount of experience when the cases are more about those types of issues, and I maintain have a good level of communication with prosecutors, in order to try to benefit my clients. I stay involved with the case from start to finish, and I do not hand off my cases to an associate.
Do You Handle Drug Trafficking Cases As Well?
Drug trafficking is more of a layman’s term when talking about drug-related cases, and much of the time it refers to very large conspiracy drug cases involving multiple parties, many warrants and oftentimes wiretaps that can take place over many month. They can be very time-consuming from an investigative standpoint and from a preparation of defense standpoint, and I have handled these cases and many other types of wiretap cases involving many different types of narcotics.
What Does The Prosecution Look For In A Drug Case And Does Your Experience Help?
There is no question about how much my experience helps in these cases; criminal defense is a relatively small community and being involved in it for more than 15 years has allowed me to get very close with prosecutors, former prosecutors who are now judges and very well-established and well-respected defense lawyers because we see each other, day-in and day-out in this arena. This is a very social and personal type of practice, in which these relationships can play a very prominent role. It does not necessarily translate to better deals or favoritism, but it certainly helps to know the players involved because the attorney representing the accused has a better perspective and sometimes an inside track to communicate with those players.
This is especially true in drug cases that are vertically prosecuted; a case may not even necessarily be filed with the court system at a certain time, but the defense attorney will already be involved at that time and they are communicating and negotiating with the prosecutor to try to protect their client as best they can.
It is extremely important to have knowledge of how the system works and to also have a personal lifeline with the prosecutor involved, and it helps that the attorney is well-respected by the prosecutors and judges. Having that intimate knowledge about the system, having those types of relationships and being well-respected is extremely important.
For more information on Attorney Paul Gellar And Drug Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (626) 784-4143 today.