San Diego Marijuana Lawyer
California Marijuana Laws
Although medical marijuana is legal in our state, being caught with any form of the drug without a legitimate prescription can spell trouble. The attitudes towards marijuana may be changing throughout the country, but for now, growing, selling, and possessing the substance for recreational use is still considered illegal at both the state level and federal level drug charges.
Types of Marijuana Offenses in California
Possession of Marijuana
For a small amount of marijuana, less than 28.5 grams, you are only committing an infraction in our state, which is punishable by a fine. However, having more than that amount in your possession or having any amount in a school zone could lead to jail time, fines, and a mark on your permanent record. Possession of any amount for personal use is considered a misdemeanor, not a felony. Possessing any amount of concentrated cannabis is also punishable by jail time and fines.
Selling Paraphernalia in California
Sale of paraphernalia is heavily regulated in California. Businesses that do not keep the displays and sales of drug paraphernalia in a separate area from minors run the risk of losing their license for selling, though pharmacies and wholesalers are excluded. Selling paraphernalia, however, is not considered a criminal activity in our state.
Possessing With Intent to Distribute, Selling, or Distributing Marijuana
If you are not authorized to grow, sell, or distribute marijuana, you could face felony charges. The penalties for these offenses vary widely in California and are largely up to the discretion of the presiding judge. If you are carrying or give someone less than 28.5 grams of the substance, you’ll likely only face misdemeanor charges, but amounts exceeding 28.5 grams are considered more serious offenses. Fines, years of imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record are all possible outcomes if you have been charged with a marijuana offense.
DUI With Marijuana in CA
If you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, you could face the same penalties as an alcohol-based DUI. The laws regarding marijuana, however, are not as specific about the amount of THC in the bloodstream, which makes these cases difficult for the prosecution in court. Proving that the THC was actually impairing your mental abilities at the time you drove is often a complex matter that may not be easily reconciled by lab analyses.
Defense for Marijuana Charges in California
Although many marijuana offenses are minor in the grand scheme of criminal activity, a misdemeanor will still go on your permanent record and could prevent you from finding gainful employment or housing. There are numerous complicated laws regarding recreational marijuana use and medical marijuana use. Without the guidance of an experienced San Diego marijuana defense attorney, you could end up serving a more serious sentence than necessary.
At The Law Office of George Gedulin, we understand marijuana laws, and we know the workings of the court system in and around San Diego. If you have been charged with a marijuana offense, seek legal guidance. Our San Diego marijuana lawyers understand how to defend clients against marijuana charges so they can get back to their lives without serious consequences following them for years to come.
Every marijuana charge is different, but a careful investigation often reveals information that can be used on your behalf. Even if you believe the case is black and white, an experienced San Diego marijuana lawyer can help you understand your rights so you do not suffer needlessly. We often see marijuana cases dropped or the charges reduced in light of new evidence in a case.
Marijuana Possession for Sale, HS 11359 Felony
While marijuana laws in California and other states have changed over the past few years, in San Diego it is still a felony offense to sell marijuana if not done through a qualified medical dispensary. Consulting with a San Diego marijuana attorney if you are arrested for any drug offense is the best first step to knowing your rights and ensuring you get the best result in your case.
Our firm handles multiple drug-related cases each year and all too often hear from clients that have medical marijuana cards that wanted to make a few bucks on the side. Possession of marijuana for Sale under CA HS 11359 is a felony and can bring serious consequences. Drug possession for sale cases most often focuses on the defendant and their past history. We have obtained great results through the extensive use of investigators and experts in particular with drug sales cases.
HS 11360 Transportation or Sale of Marijuana
In addition to an HS 11359 charge, a criminal complaint may include HS 11360. This is a separate felony reserved for cases involving very large quantities of marijuana. Transportation of several pounds of marijuana, regardless of the purpose, could lead to an arrest. The circumstances of every case can vary however most police officers look for instances where they see an intent for the marijuana to be sold after transportation.
Depending on the quantity of marijuana this drug crime can be a state prison felony. Sentencing can include up to three years in state prison. There are hundreds of defendants who transport marijuana for their medical marijuana collective. There are many cases prosecuted against innocent defendants transporting medicine and products for a marijuana collective acting entirely under the law.
The seizing of properly grown and maintained marijuana for patients of a collective is forbidden and State and Federal law. Even where pounds of marijuana has been seized the defendants have their right to a hearing in Court before a judge. Relying on an experienced San Diego marijuana lawyer can be very important to recovering personal items and reducing criminal charges.
There are many defenses to felony drug cases, and among the most important is your right under the 4th amendment against unlawful search and seizure. Police cannot simply stop or detain you without a proper reason. A traffic stop does not give police any right to search your entire vehicle. We have successfully had evidence and entire cases dismissed due to improper personal and vehicle searches where police when above the bounds of the law.
Consent to search is another significant defense in drug cases. San Diego marijuana attorney George Gedulin explains this scenario: “If you live in a home with multiple occupants but have your own room, with a lock on it, this does not give other people in the house the right to simply enter your room at will. You have the most important constitutional protection when it comes to seizing of evidence, an expectation of privacy. If the police come to your home when you are not present and obtain the consent to search your room from a third party such as a sibling or roommate, this is NOT a valid search and must be fought in court.”
A felony conviction can have not only custody and prison consequences but will also prevent you from obtaining or keeping many professional licenses. Loss of firearm privileges and voting rights are among the many issues those with a felony conviction must face. Transportation of marijuana for sale is a serious charge and should be dealt with immediately.
HS 11361 Giving or Selling Marijuana to a Minor
This law covers cases of sale of marijuana to a minor as well as transportation cases. While this is a Felony offense one key issue that arises is whether the minor involved was under 14 years old. Anyone charged with giving a child under 14 access to marijuana can face very serious felony charges. The maximum punishment for giving a child under 14 marijuana is 7 years in State prison.
Allowing a child under 14 to transport or carry marijuana can also bring up to seven years in prison. If a minor is over 14 years old the punishment range is three to five years in prison. As with all drug sales or transportation cases the question if the intent is the most important. A defendant who did not intend to allow a minor access to marijuana does not fit the type of crime that can be charged.
The prosecution must be able to show not only intent but the actual execution of a plan where a minor either purchased or was given direct access to marijuana.
Many cases of marijuana and minors involve parents who have a legal prescription for medical marijuana. A parent who accidentally allows their child to gain access to marijuana is not in the same category as a drug dealer. There may arise issues of child abuse or child endangerment in the case, however, felony drug sales charges are completely inappropriate.
Medical Marijuana in California
The Law Office of George Gedulin has experience in providing the best possible counsel in defending individuals who are qualified to obtain, possess, and transport medical marijuana as caregivers and for their personal medical use. Defending against a prosecution for possession, sales, and transport charges requires a diverse background and understanding the local and State medical marijuana laws as well as the Health and Safety code provisions which regulate marijuana within the state.
Compassionate Use Act of California HS 11362.5
The compassionate use act gives the right for all Californians to access medical marijuana for their medical needs. Having legal medical marijuana requires a physician to make a recommendation that a person could benefit and improve their medical condition with the use of medical marijuana. The law lists specific medical issues for which a marijuana prescription can be obtained, however, this is not a comprehensive list. If a licensed doctor feels that marijuana may help alleviate or improve a particular medical condition then you are legally permitted to obtain medical marijuana under this recommendation.
Medical Marijuana Patients & Caregivers Must Know Their Rights
(A Case Study): Nick is a medical marijuana prescription holder. He is a qualified patient and primary caregiver under the California’s Medical Marijuana compassionate use act. He is driving home from the dispensary with 10 ounces of marijuana for himself and his other qualified patients for whom he is a primary caregiver. Nick also has $500 in cash having just gone to the ATM. On his way home from the dispensary, Nick is pulled over by the police and questioned. Despite presenting a valid medical marijuana card and his doctor’s authorization for use of medical marijuana Nick is over the limit for lawful possession of medical marijuana and the officer thinks that Nick is transporting illegal marijuana for the purpose of sale.
Within 10 minutes of being pulled over Nick is in police custody, his medical marijuana seized and is on his way to being charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell (HS 11359) and transportation of marijuana HS 11360.
An innocent and routine trip from his authorized medical marijuana dispensary has turned into a legal nightmare which will have consequences throughout his life. A San Diego marijuana attorney can help you avoid the long-term consequences of a felony or misdemeanor conviction. The lawful use of medical marijuana is a recent and constantly evolving area of law. Inconsistent enforcement among police agencies in the state and even conflicting prosecution standards in each county makes the potential for serious criminal consequences a reality.
Nick’s problems began when he was questioned by an officer with no training or expertise in the use and sale of medical marijuana to qualified patients. Officers are trained in and focus on the illegal use and sales of many drugs including marijuana. These qualifications, however, are not sufficient to allow them to make a judgment about an individuals possession of marijuana for legal medical purposes. A San Diego marijuana lawyer should have a comprehensive understanding of the lawful use and sale of marijuana and will explore all possible options to preserve your rights and avoid jail time.
How Much Medical Marijuana Can I Have?
In the state of CA if you are a medical marijuana patient the Compassionate Use Act (HS 11362.5) you have the right to possess a legal quantity of medical marijuana for qualified patients under the care of a licensed caregiver within the meaning of California’s Compassionate Use Act. In 2003 with the passage of SB 420, also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act state law expanded its protections of patients and gave a more detailed accounting for qualified patients and caregivers of the amounts of marijuana they may possess and cultivate.
The medical marijuana laws today in California under HS 11362.77 specify that possession of up to eight ounces of dried marijuana bud is legal for qualified patients, however, this figure is not a ceiling but a threshold. The California courts have held consistently that a patient may have a greater amount of marijuana than the law permits if needed for their medical condition. A qualified patient is afforded the privilege of possessing as much medical marijuana for personal use as is recommended by his doctor. Different patients need varying amounts of medicine for their conditions and the California courts have been reasonable in extending the protection of the laws to these individuals.
The legal protections for medical marijuana patients also includes the protection of reasonable and lawful actions relating to transport medicinal marijuana for yourself and any qualified patients for whom you are a primary caregiver. Although Nick was arrested with over eight ounces of dried marijuana in his vehicle medical marijuana lawyers are able to assert and protect his full spectrum of rights under the law.
The arresting officer in Nick’s case was not a qualified expert in the area of legal medicinal marijuana and so cannot testify or give his opinion on whether Nick was in lawful possession of medical marijuana. The officer had no basis to arrest Nick because he had no evidence of illicit sale or transport of the medical marijuana. A marijuana lawyer in San Diego will help Nick assert his right to transport his own medical marijuana by demonstrating that the quantity transported and the method, timing, and distance of the transportation are reasonably related to a patient’s current medical needs.
Since Nick had his medicinal marijuana was seized following an arrest or police investigation he has the right to have the property returned. A felony charge stemming from the lawful use and possession of medical marijuana does not have to ruin your life.
16 Counts, Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor Sentence Reduced, All Other Charges Dropped
Client charged with multiple sexual assault offenses, facing 16 years in prison. Convicted of One Count of Sex with a Minor, 2 years Jail, All other charges dismissed.
24 Count, Insurance Fraud Conspiracy, Grand Theft in excess of $250,000 Reduced Sentence, Other Charges Dropped
Client charged as head of conspiracy to present false claims to insurance companies, losses over $250,000. Client facing 22 years in State Prison. Convicted of two counts of insurance fraud, sentenced to 2 years in jail, remaining charges dismissed.
Assault with semi-automatic Firearm, Criminal Threat, Domestic Violence Dismissed Charges
Charges exposed client to 8 years in State Prison and two serious strike felonies. Court dismisses all gun related charges at preliminary hearing, client pleads to domestic violence charge only, no custody.
Felony Domestic Violence Arrest All criminal charges dismissed
After arrest, defense investigation reveals that spouse was aggressor and caused harm to client, all criminal charges dismissed.
Felony Gun Possession, Felony Child Abuse Charges Dismissed
Client charged with felony gun possession and endangering life of a child being in illegal possession of loaded weapons in the home. Potential 6 year Prison sentence. Child endangerment charges dismissed, NO Custody.
Possession of 5KG of Methamphetamine while Armed with Loaded Gun Probation and Other Charges Dismissed.
Client facing 4 counts of possessing large quantity of Methamphetamine for sale and a loaded gun with no serial number. District Attorney offer of 6 years in State Prison. Ultimate resolution was a plea to gun possession only, probation and credit for time served with no additional jail time. All other charges dismissed.
Restraining Order, Accusations of Sexual Assault Case Dismissed
Defense Victory at trial for restraining order, Judge dismissed complaint against client, finding victims allegations and testimony not-credible.
Shoplifting from Naval Commissary Case Dismissed
Case Dismissed, record sealed in Federal Court
Welfare Fraud No Custody, Case Dismissed Following Probation
6 Counts of Fraud by Misrepresentation and Perjury. Possible 4 year prison sentence maximum. Defense negotiated with prosecution for Diversion Program.
Marijuana Possession for Sale/Transportation Plea to Simple Possession, Probation and Fines,
½ pound of Marijuana, $5,000, baggies, scales and Marijuana storage paraphernalia, potential 4 years in jail, Defense argued insufficient evidence to prove sales of Marijuana or Drug Trafficking and filed motion to return all seized property.