How Many Different Drug Crimes Exist in California?

In California, there are three main categories of drug crimes that someone could be charged with. These are drug distribution, drug possession, and drug cultivation and manufacturing.

What Are the Different Drug Crimes and Laws in California?

  • Drug distribution. The drug distribution laws in California help to criminalize the selling, transporting, transferring and importing of any controlled substances. Drug distribution and trafficking is a felony and a more serious crime than drug possession. The punishment for distribution depends on the number of drugs involved, the drug types, the location of the distribution area and if minors were targeted or involved. Your defenses include being able to prove it was for possession only or entrapment.
  • Drug possession. This drug crime includes both simple possession and possession with intent to sell. Your drug possession charges will also differ depending on if the drugs were narcotics or if they were marijuana-related. If you are charged with narcotic/controlled substance possession, you could be facing a misdemeanor charge with up to one year in county jail. Marijuana is legal in California as of January 1. Recreational users, however, still have to follow the provisions under Proposition 64.
  • Drug cultivation/manufacturing. Under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, manufacturing of a controlled substance can be punishable by a felony sentencing. Your conviction can result in a heavy fine and state imprisonment. The penalties for cultivating marijuana without obeying state laws will depend on your age and whether you have prior convictions. Possible defenses could be your age, medical necessity or that you have a state-issued license for manufacturing marijuana.

If you have been charged with a California drug crime, then it is crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson today for a free consultation or for more information on California drug crime penalties.

What Are California’s Identity Theft Laws?

Identity theft is a very common crime in our modern and digitized world. Much of our personal information can be easily found on the web. It is crucial to not only know how to protect your identity, but to know the different ways that you could be accused of identity theft. In the state of California, there are specific laws that outline what a California citizen should do if he or she is charged with an identity theft crime.

What Does California Say About Identity Theft?

California Penal Code Section 530.5-530.55 lists some important information regarding identity theft charges in the state. This law provides details on:

  • Unlawful purpose. The prosecutor has to prove an unlawful purpose for the personally identifying information. Some activities that demonstrate an unlawful purpose for this information include applying for credit, buying goods or property, or finding and requesting medical information.
  • Personally identifying information. The types of information that could be unlawfully taken during an identity theft crime include the victim’s name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, passport information, address, phone number, bank account, credit card numbers and fingerprints.
  • Sentences and other penalties. The sentencing of an identity theft crime in California usually depends on the circumstances and severity of the crime itself. It does not always depend on the unlawful purpose.

What Are Defenses to California Identity Theft Charges?

As the defendant, you can use the defense that you were given consent by the owner of the personally identifying information, or you can prove that the information was not used for an unlawful purpose. If you have been charged with identity theft in California, you will want to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Contact Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson today for a free initial consultation.

What Kinds of Environmental Crimes Could I Be Accused Of?

Environmental crime is a new kind of crime that has unfortunately been growing in our country over recent years. Large corporations may be found guilty of environmental crimes, but smaller businesses and individuals can also be charged with them. The number one most common type of criminal environmental act that anyone can commit is to improperly dispose hazardous waste material. In order to avoid serious penalties and prison time, it is beneficial to know more about these environmental crimes and how you can avoid them.

How Can Individuals and Companies be Charged with an Environmental Crime?

  • Illegal hazardous waste disposal: This kind of environmental crime can range from unintentional spills in vehicle accidents on freeways to planned illegal disposal. Leaving tank valves open to slowly release harmful gases and liquids into the air and ground is also included in this crime. Some planned acts can also include renting a truck, filling it with harmful gas, and abandoning it somewhere, or renting a storage unit and filling it with waste drums. Businesses should especially be careful when hiring haulers to transport their chemicals, because they could easily pocket the money and illegally dispose the material elsewhere.
  • Illegal disposal of tires, construction and demolition materials: If you dump your used tires in an improper or illegal fashion, the tires could catch fire and release toxic substances into the air, which damages the environment. Leftover materials from construction and demolition sites can have illegal debris dumped alongside the surrounding roads, which can result in community clean ups that then expose people to the dangerous toxins.
  • Abandoned household appliances: Before throwing away your household appliances, make sure you read the disposal instructions on the product. Mercury can leak from the appliances and expose humans to mercury vapors, which can be deadly for our health.

An environmental crime is a type of fraud that can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the result of damage and injuries from the crime committed. If you have been charged with an environmental crime and you are seeking legal representation in criminal court, now is the time to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson today.

What Are the Current California Drug Possession Laws?

California is regarded as one of the more liberal states when it comes to drug possession, but it still has a few strict regulations. It is a state that allows widespread and legal recreational and medical marijuana, so there are some blurred lines when it comes to what is still legal and illegal throughout the state. As a California citizen, it is important that you know the current drug possession laws, so you can avoid being prosecuted and facing harsh penalties.

What Are the Drugs I Could Be Found Illegally in Possession of?

First, it’s crucial that you know what the definition of possession is. Possession of a controlled drug and/or substance is when you have drugs under your control. This applies when you have the drugs in your pocket or on your person, but it also applies if the substance is not on you. If drugs are found in your car, on the sidewalk next to you, or in your home, you could still face a drug possession charge.

Under the state’s Health and Safety Code Section 11350, almost all possessions of a controlled substance are considered misdemeanor charges. These controlled drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms
  • Meth
  • Prescription drugs, including narcotics and painkillers

Misdemeanor offenses mean you are at risk for more than a year of jail time. However, these charges could also be considered felonies, depending on the amount of drugs found and other key factors based on the circumstances at the time of an arrest.

What Are the Drug Possession Laws for California?

  • Proposition 47: Passed in 2014, this law reduced simple drug possession arrests from possible felony charges with state prison time to misdemeanor offenses.
  • Proposition 36: Passed in 2000, this law is intended to save California money and to keep people out of prison for minor drug offenses. If you qualify, you will be required to participate in drug rehab instead of jail time.

Our criminal defense attorneys at Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson will represent you in criminal court for any drug possession charges you are facing. Contact us today for a free consultation.

How Do I Know If I Have Committed a White-Collar Crime?

There is a wide array of crimes that you could potentially be charged for, and many of these different crimes fall under different categories. One category of crimes is a white-collar crime. These types of crimes involve some sort of deceit, dishonesty or theft in order to achieve financial gain or security.

What Are the Different Types of White Collar Crimes?

  • Fraud: Many white-collar crimes are considered fraudulent crimes. Fraud is a very general type of crime that involves deceiving a person or entity in order to have monetary gain. Securities fraud (fraud involving the trading of assets) and insurance fraud (scheming around insurance policies) are the main types of white collar frauds.
  • Embezzlement: This type of white collar crime involves the act of improperly stealing money from someone to whom you owed some type of job or duty. A common example of this is when a company employee embezzles money from his or her employer in order to place it in his or her personal bank account.
  • Tax Evasion: Criminal tax evasion occurs when someone attempts to avoid taxes that they owe to the IRS. Filing tax forms with false information or illegally transferring property to avoid paying taxes are two common ways to commit tax evasion.
  • Money Laundering: This is a criminal act involving the filtering of illegally obtained money through various forms of transaction in order to fool others. This crime involves depositing money into a bank, then separating the money illegally through complex transactions, and then finally integrating this illegal money through the purchase or sale of other assets.

White-collar crimes consist of many individual crimes that can result in jail time, fees, and a criminal record. Our criminal defense firm can support you through court proceedings if you have been charged with a white-collar crime. Contact us today so we can get started on your criminal case.

What Is the Difference Between Larceny and Theft?

When it comes to criminal law, there are many different terms in reference to the type of crime you might have committed. All of these different terms can be confusing, and sometimes people might be wondering what they all really mean in legal terms. Two criminal terms that often get confused with one another are larceny and theft. There is a slight difference between these two types of crimes, and it’s important that you know these differences if you are charged with one of them.

What Is Larceny?

Larceny is actually a type of theft. It involves a person taking property such as goods or money without the owner’s permission or consent for personal use. There are two types of larceny: petty and grand larceny. Petty larceny is a misdemeanor crime where an individual takes property valued at a small amount. Grand larceny, however, includes stealing property at a much higher value. In general, you can define larceny as the stealing of personal property such as items, jewelry, or money just with the intent of having the item for themselves. Larceny would not involve seizing other property such as real estate.

What Is Theft?

Theft is the taking of property from an individual without permission or consent with the intent to use or sell. For example, a person who steals an item from a store and then attempts to sell this item later has committed theft. Theft can also be seen as more of a generic term involving all property crimes, including larceny. It can also be divided into petty and grand thefts. Unlike larceny, however, theft can involve many different types, such as robbery, identity theft, burglary, embezzlement, fraud, etc.

If you believe that you have committed larceny or theft, our criminal attorneys at Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson will help defend you in criminal court. Contact us today for a free consultation.