Were you arrested on a heroin charge in San Diego, CA? Prosecutors can’t wait to put people away for drug crimes. You need a skilled San Diego heroin defense lawyer on your side right away. That’s why Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers should be your first call after an arrest.
Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers has handled thousands of criminal cases and has helped countless people avoid severe penalties. For more than a decade, founding attorney Peter Blair has been standing up for the rights of people facing serious drug charges like yours. He knows the stakes are high – that your future and your freedom are on the line. You can count on our San Diego, California legal team to do everything we can to achieve a favorable outcome for you.
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How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help With a Heroin Charge in San Diego
California prosecutors are not looking to make your life easy. They are under pressure to prosecute heroin charges to the fullest extent possible. We know how the system works, and we know how to make the best of whatever situation you are up against.
Our award-winning San Diego drug crimes lawyers are ready to:
- Conduct an independent investigation to look for police misconduct, exculpatory evidence, and holes in the prosecution’s case
- Do everything we can to get evidence thrown out and take other steps to get your charges dropped or reduced
- Protect your rights during all questioning
- Work to convince the prosecutor that you deserve a chance at rehabilitation and should not be put behind bars
- Defend you in court against all charges and present your strongest case for minimal sentencing if convicted
Drug charges can be hard to beat. But we have helped many individuals move on with their lives – we leave no stone unturned when looking for a solid defense. Overzealous prosecutors are always trying to make charges stick when they just don’t have the evidence. You can count on our San Diego heroin defense lawyers to reveal every weakness in the case against you.
What Are Heroin Charges in California?
Heroin is a Schedule I drug, which means it has no medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. Under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, it’s against the law to possess controlled substances in California without a prescription. There are a number of California statutes under which you could be prosecuted for heroin.
Charges for heroin could include:
- Possession of heroin for personal use
- Possession with intent to sell heroin
- Distributing or trafficking heroin
- Being under the influence of heroin
- Possession of heroin paraphernalia
- Driving under the influence of heroin
- Being present while someone uses heroin (aiding and abetting)
Prosecutors will stack the charges as much as possible, so it’s likely you will face more than one charge. However, that also means there is room to negotiate to drop some charges.
Elements of a Heroin Charge
The prosecution must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you.
This will vary depending on the charge, but in general, for possession, the prosecution must prove:
- You possessed heroin
- You knew that the substance you possessed was heroin
- You knew the substance was in your possession
To convict you of transporting or selling heroin, the prosecution must prove:
- You transported or sold heroin
- You knew the substance that you transported or sold was or contained heroin
- You intended to transport or sell heroin
Charges for being under the influence will require proof that you had heroin in your system. We fight hard to challenge all the evidence against you to minimize the possibility that the state will be able to make its case at trial.
What Are the Penalties for Heroin Charges in California?
Many heroin offenses can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecutor has significant discretion – that’s another reason to call an experienced defense attorney early in the process.
In general, possession for personal use is charged as a misdemeanor. You could face a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $20,000. However, you could face steeper felony penalties if you have a prior conviction for a violent felony.
Possession for sale is a felony. If you’re convicted of possession of heroin for sale, you face two, three, or four years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
You could be fined up to $50,000 if you’re convicted for transporting, possessing for sale, selling, or offering to sell heroin and either of the following applies:
- You have a prior conviction for possessing heroin for sale, selling, or offering to sell heroin; or
- The substance was 14.25 or more grams of a substance containing heroin.
If the amount of heroin involved is more than one kilogram, your punishment could include an additional three to 25 years in prison and your fines could be as much as $8 million.
Selling or transporting heroin for sale is a felony punishable by three to nine years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. The higher end of the sentence is generally imposed if you crossed more than two county lines with heroin.
As with possession for sale, you could face steeper fines and longer prison time if you had a prior conviction or the amount of heroin was above a certain amount.
Being Under the Influence/Aiding and Abetting
These are misdemeanors and carry various penalties. If you are convicted of being under the influence of heroin (not while driving), you could spend up to one year in county jail and have to pay up to a $1,000 fine. You may qualify for diversion for this offense.
If you’re convicted of driving under the influence of heroin, you could have your driver’s license suspended, have to pay a $390 fine, and be subject to three to five years of probation. This offense is not eligible for diversion.
If you are convicted of assisting or encouraging someone else to use heroin, you could spend up to six months in jail and have to pay a $1,000 fine. This is eligible for diversion.
Non-violent drug offenses may qualify for a diversion program under Proposition 36. This allows you to defer your jail time for a period of time if you attend treatment and follow other conditions. At the end of your treatment, you could qualify to have your charges dismissed.
Other Consequences of a Heroin Conviction in California
Getting convicted of heroin possession or sale can cause problems for your future. In addition to spending time in jail or prison and paying big fines, you could face collateral consequences that make it difficult to rebuild your future.
Other possible repercussions include:
- Strained relationship with your friends, family, and community
- Difficulty keeping or getting a job
- Trouble renting or buying a home
- Losing your right to vote
- Having to give up your firearms
- Losing the right to see your children
A strong defense out of the gate is the best way to protect your future. We do everything we can to preserve your freedom and put you on the best possible track going forward.
How Can I Defend Myself Against a Heroin Charge?
Each case is unique, depending on the circumstances. We dig into the details of your specific case and develop a defense strategy tailored to give you the best chance of beating the charges or reducing your penalties.
Some common defenses include:
- You didn’t know the drugs were in your possession
- You were misidentified
- The amount was for personal use
- You didn’t intend to sell the heroin in your possession
- You didn’t know the substance was heroin
- You were unintentionally under the influence of heroin
Police and prosecutors in San Diego are eager to lock people up for heroin charges. They often over-charge offenses and step over the line when conducting searches and making arrests. That means there could be other defenses based on procedural violations or police misconduct.
What Should I Do if I’m Arrested on Heroin Charges?
If you’re arrested, do not answer any questions from anyone until your lawyer is present. It is tempting to want to explain yourself out of a bad situation, but that never goes well. Police are very experienced in twisting words around and misleading you so that you’ll say something that they can use against you.
Just remember a few things:
- Invoke your right to remain silent
- Don’t antagonize the police; don’t resist arrest; don’t be argumentative
- Ask to speak with an attorney as soon as possible
- Don’t talk to anyone other than your attorney about your case
That’s really all you need to remember in the short term. Once you talk to your lawyer, they will advise you about the next steps and your legal options.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a San Diego Drug Crimes Lawyer
You do not want to go up against heroin charges without the right attorney by your side. Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers has the experience, dedication, and training to give you a leg up on the prosecution. Since 2010, we’ve helped those accused of drug crimes avoid stiff penalties and return to their lives. You deserve an aggressive defense that gives you the best chance at restoring your freedom.
Call now for your free consultation with our top-rated San Diego heroin defense lawyers.
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