There are so many recent changes in drug charges, convictions, and the way these cases are prosecuted; therefore, you need to hire an attorney who is well-experienced and educated in this area. Proposition 47 in California recently reduced possession of drugs charges to misdemeanors, and that’s one example of an ever-changing and constantly changing law in this area. There are alternative sentencing options that involve drug treatment that can be available, there are new sentencing options such as what’s called a split sentence where a person serves time in county jail and is then placed on county probation or parole, and there are alternatives such as deferred entry of judgment and diversion. There are drug treatment programs that give defendants custody credit while they are in a rehab. There are so many options in drug cases that it’s important when someone is charged with a crime that they hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in this area and that needs to be done right away because when the person presents in court, there may be opportunities long before then to start preparing for the mitigation of those charges by showing that this person is already involved in a certain type of program or there has already been a discussion with the prosecutor about the person’s drug abuse or drug treatment or what have you. Perhaps they have been arrested as a “seller” or for possession for sale when, in fact, what they really are is a drug user and there is a negotiation going on between the attorney and the prosecutors that puts this person in a position to have drug treatments and ultimately a dismissal of charges that can be beneficial. There are also new sentencing guidelines under AB 109, which could prevent a person from serving time in state prison, instead serving time in county jail, which also affords them the opportunity for potentially a split sentence. Having a drug arrest, it’s extremely important to hire the right attorney early on, someone who is familiar with all of these things, let alone fighting the legalities of the case, things like illegal search and seizure, improper police conduct and things of that nature. It’s important to begin your defense right away on all of these fronts to start pushing for a dismissal.
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