A cocaine possession charge in California is not an automatic conviction. You may be able to avoid the jail time, fines, and any other consequences that come with a conviction. Depending on your situation, you may be able to obtain a dismissal, a not-guilty verdict, or the minimal penalties for a conviction. Fresno cocaine defense attorney Mike McKneely and the rest of the team from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer are ready to go to work on your case.
We can help you understand your options for fighting the charges you face and develop a solid defense to support your goals. We will protect your legal rights and ensure the police and prosecutors do not take advantage of you. Our goal is to get the best possible outcome for every client, in every case. Call us today at (559) 443-7442 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Fresno drug lawyer.
Understanding Fresno Cocaine Possession Charges
Under California law, possession of most drugs is a misdemeanor. Known as simple possession, possessing cocaine for personal use violates California Health and Safety Code § 11350.
Prior to the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, cocaine possession was a felony. In some situations, prosecutors will still charge simple possession of controlled substances as a felony. This is not the common route they take, however. Prosecutors might charge cocaine possession as a felony if you have prior convictions for a major crime, such as murder, rape, or another serious offense.
Penalties of a Cocaine Possession Conviction
Possible consequences of a conviction for misdemeanor simple possession include:
- Up to a year in county jail
- Court costs and fines
- Enrollment in a drug counseling program
- Loss of child custody
- A tarnished reputation
- A permanent criminal record
- Problems at work or even the loss of your job
If the state elevates your drug possession charges to a felony, you face much more serious penalties. This depends on your record and many other factors, such as the location of your arrest. California Penal Code § 1170(h) introduces the possibility of spending 16 months to two or three years in jail as a prison sentence. This extended sentence could have serious ramifications for almost every aspect of your life.
If you face a Fresno cocaine possession charge, we may be able to help you avoid the most serious consequences associated with a conviction. Whether we get your case dismissed, fight for a not-guilty verdict, or present a strong case for minimal sentencing, we will walk beside you through the entire legal process.
Common Defenses to Fresno Cocaine Possession Charges
Depending on the circumstances of your case, we might opt to argue for a total dismissal of all charges or lesser penalties. We need to review the facts of your case and analyze the evidence the prosecution has against you before we can build a solid defense to the prosecution’s charges. We listen carefully to your side of the story.
We use this information to put a game plan in place that either allows for the dismissal of the charges or prepares us to take your case to court with a strong argument for acquittal.
Some of the more common defenses we use in cocaine possession cases include:
You Had No Knowledge of the Drug
Unless it happened to you, it may seem hard to believe that you did not know you had possession of a drug. However, this happens more commonly than you might think. A friend leaves it in your car, your roommate stashed it in the couch in your living room, or you borrowed your brother’s jacket only for the police to find it in the pocket. It is entirely possible to possess cocaine and have no knowledge of it. If we can raise reasonable doubt with the judge and jury, this could get you a not-guilty verdict.
The Police Arrested You Instead of the Offender
Depending on the circumstances, identifying an offender can be more difficult than it may seem. Police arrest the wrong person more often than most would believe. This occurs most commonly when police discovered the cocaine in a house with several residents or a car used by several people. In a case of mistaken identity, the police may arrest you when the offender is actually a neighbor, friend, family member, or complete stranger. We can fight this and help clear your name.
There Were Only Trace Amounts of Cocaine
To win a case against you, the prosecution needs to show you had possession of a “usable” amount of cocaine. The police cannot see residue and assume the trace amounts of white powder are cocaine. If they arrested you with only trace amounts of the drug, we may have a good argument for dismissing your case.
Mistakes or Misconduct by Law Enforcement
Sometimes police officers make mistakes or act inappropriately. If they make a mistake or take any action that violates your civil rights at any time in the process, we can ask the court to throw out your case or exclude certain evidence.
Illegal search and seizure is the most common way this occurs. Police cannot search your home or car without either your permission or a search warrant. If they do, we will argue they cannot use any evidence they collected against you in court. This often handicaps their case and leads to a dismissal or acquittal. We might also be able to defend your case if officers failed to read you your Miranda rights before questioning you.
Let Our Fresno Cocaine Charge Lawyer Help You
If you face cocaine possession charges in Fresno, a strong defense can help you fight the charges you face. Fresno criminal defense attorney Mike McKneely from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer can ask the court to dismiss your case, fight for an acquittal in court, or work to minimize the penalties you face if convicted. Our focus is always the best possible outcome for every client. Contact us today at (559) 443-7442 to get started.