DUI Drug Crimes

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Temecula Criminal Defense for DUI

DUI Drug Crimes – Temecula Valley DUI & Drug Crimes Lawyer, Lewis Khashan can represent you before the DMV and in Court if you have been arrested for DUI/DWI. Make sure your rights are protected and that you get treated fairly by hiring a qualified DUI attorney with experience handling DUI / DWI cases specifically in the Southwest Riverside County area. An experienced attorney who know the cops, the prosecutors, the judges and the local courts: there is a huge advantage to you and your situation.

Know Your Rights! Get the Local Legal Counsel You Need

If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) you’re most likely feeling confused and scared right now. Being arrested, taken to jail, fingerprinted, and photographed is a frightening and disturbing process. And—on top of that—if you feel like you were treated unfairly, you’re probably also pretty angry —if not at the system— perhaps at yourself. We can’t undo what has happened – but we can make some smart choices now to mitigate the harsh penalties that await you should you choose to do nothing, or worse – plead guilty.


Drug Charges

Drug Charges or Drug Crimes is a subset of Criminal law and overlaps with Criminal Defense law. It encompasses the laws created to deal with illegal drug possession, illegal drug use, drug manufacture, and drug trafficking. This refers to both “street” drugs, which are strictly illegal, and drugs subject to Controlled Substances law, which are regulated by state and federal laws.


Drug Penalties and Punishments

While most drug charges are classified as felonies, the seriousness of the offence and subsequent punishment is usually determined by the type of drug involved and —in a schedule drug— its classification under the drug schedule; the quantity of the drug the offender is found with; whether there was intent to sell and/or distribute. A conviction for drug trafficking carries very harsh penalties as well as “extra-special” consequences in addition to criminal punishment, such as forfeiture of automobiles and other personal assets, forfeiture of homes and other real estate, and denial of current and future federal benefits.

Drug Crimes: Charges and Terminology

In both the federal and state criminal justice systems, most of the cases stem from charges of possession, manufacturing, or trafficking of controlled substances. Below you’ll find a brief overview of these offenses, as well as an explanation of some key terms related to drug crimes.

Controlled Substance

When a federal or state government classifies a certain substance as “controlled,” it generally means that the use and distribution of the substance is governed by law. Controlled substances are often classified at different levels or “schedules” under federal and state statutes. For example, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed as a “Schedule I controlled substance,” cocaine is listed under Schedule II, anabolic steroids under Schedule III, and so on. The list includes a number of medications that are fairly common — you’ll find cough medicine containing low levels of codeine classified under Schedule V.

Distribution and Trafficking

As a drug charge, “distribution” usually means that a person is accused of selling, delivering, or providing controlled substances illegally. This charge is often used if someone tries to sell drugs to an undercover officer. Trafficking generally refers to the illegal sale and/or distribution of a controlled substance. Despite the name, trafficking has less to do with whether the drugs cross state lines, and more to do with the amount of drugs involved.

The consequences of a conviction for distribution and trafficking vary significantly depending on:
the type and amount of the controlled substances(s) involved the location where the defendant was apprehended (for example, bringing an illegal substance into the country carries higher penalties, as does distributing drugs near a school or college), and the defendant’s criminal history.

Sentences for distribution and trafficking generally range from 3 years and a significant fine to life in prison — with trafficking carrying higher sentences.


Under federal and state drug laws, the government can charge a person for playing a part in the cultivation or manufacture of a controlled substance. Cultivation includes growing, possessing, or producing naturally occurring elements in order to make illegal controlled substances. These elements include cannabis seeds, marijuana plants, etc. A person can also be charged for producing or creating illegal controlled substances through chemical processes or in a laboratory. Substances created this way include LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.


The most common drug charge — especially in arrests made under local drug laws — involves possession of a controlled substance. Generally, for a possession conviction, the government (usually in the form of a district attorney) must prove that the accused person:
knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance
without a valid prescription, and
in a quantity sufficient for personal use or sale.

A possession charge can be based on actual or “constructive” possession of a controlled substance. Constructive possession means that even if the defendant doesn’t actually have the drugs on their person (in a pocket, for example), a possession charge is still possible if the defendant had access to and control over the place where the drugs were found (a locker, for example). This is important to note because, unlike DUI/DWI laws, the government does not have to actually prove that someone is using a controlled substance in order to charge them with possession. The theory of constructive possession is often used when illegal drugs are found in a car during a traffic stop.

It is also usually illegal to possess paraphernalia associated with drug use, such as syringes, cocaine pipes, scales, etc. In fact, being found in possession of these objects — without any actual drugs — may be enough for a person to be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

Drug charges often start with possession, but then overlap with other offenses. For example, if the police find marijuana plants in X’s storage room, X can be charged with possession of the marijuana and of cultivation equipment. If the amount of the plants is large enough, X can also face distribution, trafficking, or manufacturing charges.

Charges for simple possession are often less serious than charges for possession with an intent to distribute. The difference here does not necessarily turn on an actual intent to distribute, but on the amount of the substance found in the defendant’s possession (i.e. smaller amounts are usually charged as misdemeanors, while larger amounts can be used to suggest felony possession with an intent to distribute).

Diversion. Many states allow diversion for first-time offenders charged with simple possession of illegal drugs. Diversion allows offenders to maintain a clean criminal record by pleading guilty and then completing a prescribed substance abuse program and not committing additional offenses. At the conclusion of the diversionary period (18 months is common) the guilty please is vacated, the case is dismissed, and the offender can legally claim never to have been arrested or convicted of a crime.

“Search and Seizure” Laws

The most common defense to a drug charge — especially drug possession charges — is a claim that a police officer overstepped search and seizure laws in detaining a person and obtaining evidence. If a defendant in a criminal case (usually through a criminal defense attorney) can prove that the police violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights in finding and seizing drug evidence, that evidence may not be admissible in a criminal case against the defendant.

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