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Marijuana Defense

Marijuana Defense Attorney Stockton CA

California Health and Safety Code §11358 makes it illegal for a person to manufacture or grow marijuana themselves. While you might think that this only applies when it is at a level where you could be selling the marijuana, in actual fact, a single plant is enough to count as a felony, and can be punished with a prison term of up to three years, along with a hefty $10,000 fine.

Luckily, though, there are many legal defenses available to those who are being prosecuted for possession, manufacture, or cultivation. Depending on the case, these defenses could get your charge reduced or completely dismissed. In some cases, you could even get your plants back from the police!

Anyone who manufactures or cultivates marijuana plants needs to completely understand the laws concerning this practice, both at a federal level, and solely within the State of California. This will ensure that you are able to protect yourself from any unwanted and unnecessary legal action taken against you.

  • Under California Law, possessing less than one ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana is merely an infraction, and is punished with a $100 fine. Any more than this counts as a misdemeanor, with punishment up to a $500 fine and a six month jail sentence.
  • Health & Safety Code 11358 prohibits anything to do with growing and cultivating marijuana. It states that: “Every person who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes any marijuana or any part thereof, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison.”
  • Any marijuana cultivation, whether it’s one plant or one thousand, is a felony in California.
  • Under Proposition 215, the cultivation of medical marijuana was made legal in California in 1996.
  • Under California State Senate Bill 420, medical marijuana users (who possess an authorized card) are allowed to possess up to six mature plants, twelve immature plants, and eight ounces of dried cannabis. This varies from county to county, however, with San Diego allowing a good deal more to be possessed, for example.
  • It is essential to bear in mind that regardless of California state marijuana laws, the federal government may still choose to prosecute you for any marijuana growth, possession, or use. There are no federal medical marijuana laws, and as a result it is considered a Schedule I substance at a federal level.
  • As a Schedule I substance, marijuana is classified in the same way as heroin, MDMA, LSD, and ecstasy.

For those growing marijuana, the easiest way to avoid prosecution is to limit your growing to a small amount. In general, you’ll want to ensure that you limit yourself to an amount that fits the medical needs of the people who are growing the marijuana, whether that be one person or a group.

Let’s take, for example, 100 plants. This would certainly be deemed too much for an individual, but it’s possible to claim medical use if you can get enough people to testify in court that you are what’s known as a “collective grow”. This is where a “grow house” (a property mainly used for growing marijuana) is used to supply marijuana for the collective needs of a group of people. In this case, ten people testifying for a 100-plant grow would mean ten plants per individual- and that’s a fair number to classify as legal under California state law.

Medical Marijuana

Just How Much Can You Grow?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has put together a national standard for the amount of medical marijuana that can be prescribed to a patient. Under their guidelines, patients are allowed up to half a pound a month, in weekly two-ounce amounts.

SB 420 [11362.77 H&S, jury instruction 12.24.1] suggest that patients be allowed 6 mature, or 12 immature plants, as well as 8 ounces of dried marijuana for medical use. However, this shouldn’t be mistaken for a definite limit on the amount that can be possessed, and should rather be treated as a definitely safe amount.

Each case involving medical marijuana will be assessed individually, based on whether or not the amount in question is within reasonable proportion to the patient’s medical requirements. In some cases, the doctor who prescribed the marijuana will be called in to evaluate the patient’s condition, and recommend this reasonable amount.

Wherever necessary, we will arrange for experts in the field to testify in your favor, explaining the intricacies involved with medical marijuana growth to ensure that you are not unfairly punished for a natural part of the growth and yield process. The following factors can be used to explain a higher-than-average growth:

  • Yields vary depending on the growth method- outdoor crops come to harvest only about once a year, while indoor crops can be harvested up to three times a year, albeit with smaller yields.
  • If patients eat, rather than smoke, marijuana, then they may need up to four times the amount to get the same medical benefits.
  • Some patients may have a higher tolerance to medicines, and therefore will require a larger dosage of marijuana to get the same results that others get from a smaller amount.
  • Depending on the amount of pain your condition causes, a patient may need to use more marijuana than average.
  • Numerous factors can affect the yield of marijuana, including pests and weather conditions. As a result, an excess may be necessary in the first stage of cultivation, to ensure enough remains by the time the harvest comes around.
  • Since growth cycles are hard to predict exactly, patients are allowed to set aside a certain amount of marijuana for them to use until the harvest period- which can sometimes take up to a year. While on the surface you might seem to be in possession of an excess amount of marijuana, in reality, this may simply be a year’s supply of the medicine you need, and are legally entitled to.

For anyone charged with marijuana cultivation, our expert marijuana defense attorneys are here for you. If you have been charged with marijuana cultivation, then there are several defenses available to you:

  • You can claim that any evidence comes from an illegal search, and is therefore inadmissible in a court of law. Police officers require a search warrant before entering your house without your permission, and may only search your vehicle is they believe there is a probable chance of finding illegal substances. We recommend that you politely decline any voluntary searches, so that this defense remains open to you in court.
  • If you possess a medical marijuana prescription, then there will be a certain amount of marijuana that you are legally allowed to possess.
  • The person cultivating marijuana is ultimately responsible for it- if this is not you, then you are able to deflect some of that responsibility and reduce your sentence.
  • If marijuana is not being cultivated for sale, then your sentence will likewise be reduced, as you will likely not be charged with a felony.

Under both California and federal law, there are a range of different sentences that can be handed out for marijuana possession and cultivation. What sentence an individual will receive will vary depending on their individual case, as well as if they have an existing criminal record.

California Drug Crime Attorneys For You

If you have the help of experienced legal representation in a drug crime case, then you will be able to ensure that your rights are being upheld, and you aren’t punished for something that prosecutors have no legal right to present in court. Often, defendants’ rights are violated by investigators not possessing a warrant before searching their property, and they could therefore easily walk away from a charge- yet many fail to take advantage of this defense.

Fortunately, our attorneys will quickly be able to assess if this has happened to you. They will then use their significant legal experience to demonstrate why the prosecution has failed to make a significant case without putting you at a disadvantage. If you need a drug crime lawyer, then simply get in touch with us today, and we will be happy to provide an initial no obligation consultation.

Defending You Against Narcotics Charges 

A narcotics-related felony is a serious charge. Depending on the severity of the case, you could be facing such consequences as imprisonment, a significant fine, and a criminal record for life. In addition to more immediate punishments, a narcotics conviction could also affect other areas of your life. This might include losing your job, being limited on where you’re able to live, issues surrounding child custody, and strained relationships with loved ones. If you don’t take the right action now, your future could be permanently damaged.

Fighting Your Corner

When we represent you, we will fight to ensure that police and prosecutors follow their procedures to the letter, and do not present any evidence that was gathered through illegal methods, such as searches without a warrant, or wiretapping. If they do, then your attorney may have grounds to argue for the charges to be completely dismissed, allowing you to walk away without a criminal record.

Expert Defense Lawyers

Our attorneys all have many years of experience handling the defense of numerous drug crime charges. Just some of these include:

  • Possessing marijuana and other narcotics
  • Possessing drug paraphernalia
  • Medical Marijuana cases
  • Drug dealing
  • Drug trafficking

Whatever Your Situation, We’re There To Fight For You

All of our attorneys possess many years of experience with fighting marijuana-related charges of all kinds. These include:

  • Possession Depending on the amount of marijuana possessed, and any previous criminal record, the punishment for possession can vary substantially. Furthermore, hashish possession is classified as a felony, and therefore carries a higher punishment.
  • Sale If prosecutors can prove you intended to sell marijuana, then this is classed as a felony. Again, punishment can vary, and includes jail time and significant fines.
  • Transportation and trafficking : If you are caught carrying under an ounce, then your offence will be treated as a misdemeanor. However, anything more than this will be tried as a felony.
  • Cultivation and grow houses : Marijuana growth is treated as a felony, and therefore comes with increased punishments if convicted.
  • Medical marijuana Although California has allowed medical marijuana for several decades now, there are still cases when medical users may be arrested and tried unfairly.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) In much the same way as drink driving, driving under the influence of narcotics, including marijuana, can result in punishments including fines, restriction or revocation of your driver’s license, and maybe even a prison sentence depending on your individual case.

Taking The Time To Strengthen Your Case

When we take on your case, we will carefully investigate the prosecution’s case, and use any weak spots to provide you with an effective, credible defense. Whatever the circumstances of your case, from possession and manufacturing to distribution, we will give you the proper representation that you deserve.

Possession- What Punishment Could You Face?

California, like many other states, treats possession with an intent to sell as a felony. If you are convicted of this, then you could be facing a prison sentence along with court-mandated fines. Anyone convicted who is not a U.S. citizen could also face being deported after their sentence is completed. Furthermore, those under the age of 21 could also have their driver’s license revoked for a period of up to one year.

Why Choose Us To Defend You?

As part of a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances leading to your arrest for drug sales, the skilled criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Armando Villapudua will:

  • Use their extensive knowledge of California’s complicated, evolving drug laws to mount your drug sale defense
  • Make sure your Fourth Amendment rights and search and seizure laws have not been violated
  • Check that you received a Miranda Rights warning at the time of your arrest for the sale of drugs
  • Call attention to wiretapping and other forms of unwarranted surveillance

Marijuana offenses often come with overly harsh penalties. A mere charge of possession can still land you with a criminal record, which makes it much more difficult to get a job or college place. Wherever you are in California or the rest of the U.S., simply call our office if you are arrested on a drug charge, and our attorneys will give you the best representation that money can buy.