Santa Clarita Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
Call Matthew at 661-327-7833
In recent years California has drastically changed the criminal laws relating to drugs and drug
possession. Matthew is a master at understanding the changes and how to use the law to your
advantage. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges in Santa Clarita Matthew can help. He
has over 25 years experience defending good people charges with drug crimes and understands
that sometimes addiction and other issues are at the heart of the problem. In some cases the
person's rights may have been violated. Matt has a great track record of dismissal and keeping
these charges off a person's record.
How Do the Santa Clarita Criminal Courts Define Drug Possession?
The crime of possession under California Law is different than the way most people think of the
crime. Many people believe they cannot be charged with possessing something that is not theirs,
however this is not always true. The CA Criminal Code defines the crime as having two distinct
elements 1). Is the element of knowledge, the person being charged must have had actual
knowledge of the presence and character of the illegal substance. 2). Is the element of dominion
and control, in other words, the individual arrested must have had the ability to control the drugs
or they were found in an area that was exclusively theirs such as in their pants pocket or the
trunk of their car. As you can see, ownership is not an element of the crime of drug possession.
Call Attorney Matthew Ruff at 661-327-7833
How can the Police charge me with Possession for Sale?
The difference between a charge of simple possession of drugs for personal use and one of sales
is huge. First of all, a sales allegation automatically makes the person ineligible for drug diversion
and Proposition 36, second, the sales of drugs usually carries mandatory jail if convicted. The
problem with the distinction is that it usually rests on a judgement call by the cop making the
arrest. The law allows for the "opinion" of an expert in this area and that is usually how the
crime is proven. The Courts will look at various factors or "indicia" of sales in determining
whether the charge can be proven. For example, how the substance is packaged, pay and owe
sheets, large amounts of currency, scales, etc. We have been successful in many cases in
challenging the sales charge in Court.
I Have Been Arrested for Drug Charges, What Now?
When someone is arrested on a Santa Clarita drug charge it is common to feel anxiety, fear and
concern for their record. The most common types of drug offenses are simple possession, sales,
manufacturing, intent to sell, attempted distribution, transportation, conspiracy, among many
others. Criminal charges arising out of the arrest is a near certainty. Whether the charge is that
of a misdemeanor or felony is dependent upon the actions taken by the person's Lawyer at an
early stage of the case. Hiring an experienced Santa Clarita Drug Possession Attorney is crucial
to a favorable outcome of your case.
Th local Santa Clarita Sheriff, CHP and other and Law enforcement merely make the decision
to arrest, the ultimate prosecution of the case is the responsibility of the District Attorney.
Decisions as to the specific charge filed against a particular person can be subject to negotiations
between the prosecutor and counsel. For example, in a recent case our office defended, the
Police Officer arrested our client for possession with the intent to sell. The District Attorney
filed the sales charges against the client. However, we met with the actual prosecutor after we
were retained and negotiated a simple possession charge which resulted in the client being eligible
for PC1000 drug diversion and an ultimate dismissal of all charges in the Valencia Court.
The issue of whether jail time will be imposed is a real concern. With the advent of Proposition
36 and PC1000, actual incarceration for some low level offenses can be avoided. However,
sales charges and intent to sell allegations are specifically excluded. The bottom line is that what
eventually happens to the individual is directly affected by the defense presented by the person's
attorney. The help of an experienced Santa Clarita Criminal Defense Lawyer is crucial to a
Some offenses such as marijuana possession in a motor vehicle can result in DMV consequences
and possible license suspension. An important factor in determining the severity of the charge is
the type and quantity of the illegal drugs involved. A major consideration in determining the
seriousness of a Santa Clarita drug charge is whether the drugs are for personal use or for sale. A
drug offense may be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the quantity and type of drug
found by law enforcement. A couple of pounds of a illegal narcotics or drugs is certainly more
serious than just a few ounces, and a few ounces is more serious just than a few grams. Another
very important factor is whether or not you have a prior criminal record. Obviously, a past
criminal record could result in more severe punishment than if the defendant had a clean or
relatively minor record consisting of misdemeanors or simple traffic infractions.
Some common drug violations involve methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and
prescription narcotics or pills. Over the years our office has successfully defended
transportation, intent to sell drugs allegations and virtually every type of serious felony and
misdemeanor drug crime. We are experienced in car stop cases which occur on the interstate 5
freeway and will aggressively challenge illegal searches and violations of our client's
constitutional rights. We also fight DUI cases involving Drugs.
Contact our Santa Clarita Lawyer office for a free case evaluation today. We can help in getting
a release from jail, go to Court with you or for you in some cases, and help to get the charges
dropped and keep your criminal record clean.
If you would like a free consultation one-on-one with a real live local attorney who can explain
your options and possible defenses call Matthew today at 661-327-7833.