Drugs & Narcotics Crimes

In the state of California, drug crimes are a constant issue. California was the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana, but that does not eliminate the problem of illegal purchase, sale, and distribution. California also is on the Mexican border, which makes trafficking an issue, as well. With all of these concerns, law enforcement is constantly on the lookout for offenders and is often quick to make a drug crime arrest. This method of operation has a tendency to result in false charges and, in unfortunate situations, wrongful convictions.


The Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley will not stand for such injustice and is prepared to fight on your side. We represent people in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, L.A. County, and Southern California. Our firm has handled numerous drug crime cases, including each of the following types:

California Health and Safety Code § 11379.6 outlaws the manufacturing of any type of controlled substance listed in §§ 11054-11058 This includes compounding, converting, producing, deriving, processing, or preparing any chemical substance related to the listed illegal substances. Manufacturing an illegal drug is a felony crime punishable by three, five, or seven years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $50,000. Even offering to manufacture a drug is a felony and could be punished with a sentence of three, four, or five years in prison.

Sentencing for possession differs depending on the substance in question, as well as the amount in possession. For marijuana possession (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11357), the penalty is a fine of up to $500 coupled with either a jail sentence of up to 6 months or a prison sentence of 16 months or 2 to 3 years. The fine and prison or jail term depend on how much marijuana was in possession and whether or not it was concentrated cannabis. Other illegal substances are punishable under § 11350 and § 11351with sentence lengths ranging from 16 months to 4 years. For cocaine (§ 11351.5), the prison sentence can be three, four, or five years.

Possession for Sale
According to the California Health & Safety Code §11351, it is felony to not only possess drugs, but to have an intention of selling and distributing them. Possession with intent to sell is punishable by anywhere from 2-5 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines or a period of probation with up to one year in county jail. Prosecution may attempt to prove that multiple sales were intended and if they are successful, additional harsh penalties can also be added on. If accused as an illegal immigrant or alien, consequences could also include deportation. The penalties increase depending on the type of drug and the amount of the drug that was in the accused's possession that they intended to sell. Should the amount of drugs exceed 10 kilograms the prison time could increase by 10 years, 20 kilograms equals an additional 15 years, and all the way up to 80 kilograms would mean an additional 25 years.

A person is guilty of trafficking drugs when they transport them for import, export, transfer, or sale, whether within the same city or across non-contiguous counties, state lines, or national borders. Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11352 states that this offense-which can be committed with any type of illegal drug-is punishable by a prison sentence of three, four, or five years, unless the drugs were trafficked across non-contiguous county lines, state lines, or national borders. In that case, the prison sentence would be three, six, or nine years.


As shown in the 'possession' section above, an entire exaction of the Health & Safety Code is dedicated to marijuana crimes because they are so prevalent in California. Cultivation of marijuana is illegal according to § 11358 and is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 16 months to 3 years. California has legalized medical marijuana, however, and allows registered individuals to cultivate amounts specified in their permits as long as they remain in compliance with state laws.

Also known as crack or blow, cocaine is a Schedule II drug that is highly addictive. Possession or manufacture of the drug could result in a prison sentence of three, four, or five years. Trafficking could result in up to nine years in prison.

Made from opium, heroin is a narcotic drug found in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, which means it is one of the most dangerous and addictive. Possession or manufacture of this drug will result in a prison sentence of 16 months, 2, or 3 years. Trafficking sentences are three, six, or nine years.

Notorious for their dangerous side effects on users' behavior, anabolic steroids have demonstrated a potential for abuse and addiction. These characteristics classify anabolic steroids as a Schedule III substance, illegal use of which could result in a prison sentence for possession, manufacturing, or trafficking.

Prescription Drugs
The reason why prescription drugs require a doctor's approval is that they have a potential for abuse and must be monitored. Many prescription medications are Schedule III and IV substances. Prescription fraud is a common drug crime and can be committed by forging a prescription, fraudulently obtaining a prescription, or writing a prescription that a patient does not need. A few examples of these addictive drugs include Vicodin, Valium, Xanax, codeine, morphine, pseudoephedrine, and ibuprofen.


Have you been arrested for a drug crime in Southern California? If so, call Ridley Defense right away for a free evaluation of your case. As a former deputy district attorney with 5 years of prosecution experience during his 13 years in practice, Attorney Ridley has the insight and knowledge to provide you with effective defense. Our firm has handled thousands of defense cases and could guide you step by step through the legal process. Contact a drug crime lawyer as soon as possible to begin fighting your false charges.