In August, we wrote about President Trump's promise to declare a national emergency to combat the opioid crisis. And we wondered whether we'd attack the opioids or the people, in the "war on drugs" sense: Will the government lock people away for drug use or will it go after the root causes of opioid addiction and deaths from overdose?
"[W]hy are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It's not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs - but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs."
Drug possession for personal use cases are still very serious. Even though simple possession for personal use of a small quantity of illegal drugs are misdemeanor charges, they still carry possible jail time up to a year, up to $1000 fine and some drug charges carry registration as a drug offender with local law enforcement. Illegal drugs are not just methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine and mushrooms, but also include prescription drugs like vicodin and oxycotin without a prescription. Since Prop 47 reduced all of these charges to misdemeanors, people are often cited and released initially rather than taken to jail and given a Court date. These charges can also effect you driving privilege, immigration, employment, licensing, education, career choices and many other aspects of your life.
Drug offenses involving heroin are on the rise in Vista Courts. It is a result of it being relatively inexpensive and available from Mexico. It is one of the most addictive and destructive illegal drugs in the world. It is extremely difficult to beat an addiction to the drug and relapses are common. Addicts will do and say anything to get the drug, committing various crimes to feed their habit. Withdrawal can be painful and have severe physical symtoms like pain, diahrea, vomiting, convulsions, muscle and bone. There are detox programs where heroin addicts are given a daily substitute opiate, methodaone and they can function. There are other drugs which help detox like suboxone and vivatrol.
A Prescription Drug DUI, carries the same penalties as an alcohol DUI. If you are taking legal drugs with a prescription, it is not a defense to DUI anywhere in North County, like Oceanside, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Escondido San Marcos or Vista. The purpose of the law is to keep drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, legal or not, from driving. Many prescription drugs carry warnings not to drive or operate heavy machinery after taking. These drugs, while legal, slow reactions, impair judgment, and distort perception. Many of these drugs also greatly increase the effects of any alcohol and warn against drinking while taking medications. Pain killers like vicodin and oxycotin, anxietyand depression meds like Wellbutin, Xanax and Prozac are some of the prescription meds seen in Prescription Drug DUI cases, these are in addition to illegal drugs like marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine etc.
Drug offenses in Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido, and Encinitas vary by locale and from simple possession, possession for sale, sale, transporting, to manufacturing. The criminal penalties go up with the seriousness of the case. A simple possession of some drugs may be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case and the individual's background. There may be alternatives to a conviction with treatment or classes through the Diversion process. A person may qualify for "prop 36" treatment if not eligible for Diversion. Prop 36 involves a program, 18 months of probation and utilamately a dismissal. Finally, there is also Drug Court which is an intense program of treatment and monitoring.
If you have been charged with drug possession for the first time by either the San Diego Sheriff's department or the CHP there is a lot we can do to help you. Drug charges usually start as felonies and can seriously affect your life and your future - from government program eligibility, licensing, immigration, education, employment, child custody and many other aspects of your life. Many cases may have search issues, and even if they don't, there are many things that can be done to avoid the consequences of a drug offense -from programs that result in dismissal, to plea bargaining that reduce the charges or minimize consequences. At Christoph Law Offices, we have been helping drug offenders from simple possession to more serious drug crimes in Encinitas and across North County for over 30 years. Peer review rated highest in legal ability and ethical standards, call Christoph Law Offices for a free consultation at 760-659-2149. We will give you an honest appraisal and explain the proceedings, drug prosecutions and help you get the best resolution of your case.